Set a regular study schedule.
No one in college is going to nag you to do your homework. Develop the study skills in high school that will help you in college. Anyone who has ever pulled an all-nighter knows how much you remember after your fifth cup of coffee and no sleep—not much! Nothing beats steady and consistent study habits.
To make sure your history notes don’t end up in your math notebook and your English papers don’t get thrown into a friend’s locker, develop an organized system for storing your papers. Stay on top of your materials, and be sure to save tests. It’s amazing how questions from a test in March miraculously re-appear on the final exam in June.
Teachers give away what will be on the test by repeating themselves. If you pay attention to what the teacher is saying, you’ll probably notice what is being emphasized. If that material appears in your class notes and in review sessions, chances are it will be on the test. So really listen!
If the teacher has taken the time to prepare a lesson, then what he says is important for success in that course. Write it down! Develop a system for continually reviewing your notes. After each class, rewrite, review, or re-read. Try highlighting the important points or making notes in the margin to jog your memory.
Use textbooks wisely.
What can you do with a textbook besides lose it? Use it to back up information that you didn’t understand from your class notes. Reading every word may be more effort than it’s worth, so look at the book intelligently. What is in the boxes or highlighted areas? Which vocabulary words are in bold print? What appears in the review section at the end of each chapter? An important part of most textbook is the appendix, with many well-organized sections for review.
Form a study group.
Establish a group that will stay on task and ask one another the questions that you think the teacher will ask. Compare notes to make sure yours are accurate and complete. Discuss your thoughts—talking ideas out will help to make sure that you really understand the material, and it will come in handy when answering an essay question.