Many students struggle with how to study for their classes. There are several ways to study, however, some are more effective than others. Many college students have had experience on both sides of the spectrum: studying differently and seeing different results from each style. Over the course of four years, there is bound to be a drastic change in study habits. But what do most college students do? What methods do they use to remember all their information? This blog will provide insight on how four years at university can influence your method of study and help you decide which type of learner you may be!
Studying is definitely one thing that varies across people, but what about schedules? A recent statistic showed just how much: 52% of college students have a class at 8 A.M. Of course, the most common schedule is an 8 A.M., but certainly, not everyone follows that trend. One study showed that among all students, there are individual differences in how students organize their time before an exam to study related material.
Different people have different schedules, so what do they do? It’s simple: they just do whatever it takes to get the work done! And why wouldn’t they? College is expensive and success means having good grades which lead to scholarships or employment. As college kids are often told, “there is no harm in trying” when it comes to studying for exams. Considering this social pressure many college students find themselves doing whatever it takes to get by when taking tests.
Even if a student is a pre-med, he or she might have a hard time studying for a sociology class.
Some students, however, do it all on their own and find the best methods to remember information for each course they take. If you fall into this category, congratulations! You may be an “individualized learner.” This type of study focuses more on what makes sense to them and how to make connections between topics which helps them learn in general. They like learning new things and often try to understand why things work instead of just memorizing steps. The downside is that these students often end up taking longer than others to finish assignments and tests (hence why they’re called “slow”). However, once individualized learners get into college, they may often find it easier to excel in classes as they have a better understanding of the material.
Most students probably fall somewhere in the middle of these two extremes. This leads us to our next point! What do most college students end up doing? It depends on how you look at it: many college students take a mixture of both “traditional” and “non-traditional” learning approaches. Traditional might be one that is more memorization-based, where non-traditional is self-discovery based. In one study, researchers found that even though traditional learners don’t actually learn more from studying with others, they enjoyed studying together more than non-traditional learners studying by themselves. As a result, they studied alone less than non-traditional learners, which consequently gave them higher final grades. This same study also showed that students who studied alone received higher grades than those who didn’t (duh). So what do most college students end up doing? It’s hard to say, but they probably take a good mixture of both studying with others and by themselves, depending on the subject.
Most college students use some combination of traditional and non-traditional study methods!
The main idea behind all this is that there are so many different ways to learn the material. Some people like to listen to lectures while others would rather be in small discussion groups—everyone has their own style. Studying for an exam is not just about how much you’ve memorized; it’s also about how you’ve internalized the material and can apply it in new situations. Real-life is not a test, so you need to find what works best for you. If there is any advice I could leave you within this article, it’s that—whatever study habits and methods work best for you when in college, stick with them! Be your own kind of learner and don’t feel pressured into studying like anyone else (unless you’re just looking to get by).
Congratulations on keeping up with all those lectures and hours spent in the library! Just remember: study smart! And good luck on finals!