20 Best Study Tips for College Students

Ah, test anxiety. Unless you are super-human we’ve probably all experienced the nervous butterflies that happen before taking a test. One great way to counteract those nervous and negative vibes are to prepare well and study for the exam. I’m bringing you 20 study tips for college students you can use the next time you are prepping for a test.

As a college sophomore, I’ve endured my fair share of hard tests and exams in my college career. There have been tests I’ve anticipated failing just from rumors from peers, and have actually been able to score a B or better on. The key in acing tests is preparation and being smart about how you study.

Studying for just 30 minutes before a test or the night before doesn’t really cut it in college. Especially if you really want to excel and see your grades rise. Finding a way of studying that works well for you will help make studying for tests feel like less of a dreadful chore, too. Kinda šŸ˜‰

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These study tips for college will help you to realize which content from the class is important, and might be on the test. Make sure to utilize all of your resources (including your noggin), and you’ll be halfway to an A+!

College Study Tips

20 Study Tips for College Students

  1. Map out any upcoming tests you may have in your planner so you know they are approaching for weeks in advance.
  2. Refer back to your syllabus to see if your professor provides information like how the exams are laid out or formatted.
  3. Ask your professor for a study guide.
  4. If your professor doesn’t have a study guide, ask them how they recommend best preparing for the test. This will tell you what you should spend your time focusing on.
  5. Turn off your phone when studying to prevent any distractions.
  6. Find a “study buddy” if it will help you.
  7. Ask your “study buddy” to quiz you informally or help you play term-memorizing games.
  8. Make a plan for how you plan to study.
  9. Find somewhere comfortable to study. It could be your dorm room, a residence hall lounge, or the library…whatever feels right to you.
  10. Remain positive! Remind yourself you can do it.
  11. Repeat affirmations to yourself before the test in your head, like “I know the material well and feel prepared.”
  12. Don’t save all of your studying for the night before the test!
  13. Re-read textbook chapters that your professor went over during lecture.
  14. Rewatch lectures from class if your professor allows your class to record him/her.
  15. Find out if you are a visual, auditory, or haptic learner and adjust your studying to fit those needs.
  16. Repetition in studying is key! Don’t review a topic just once and expect yourself to recall the information days later. Re-visit content multiple times.
  17. Make flash cards if your content is something that has a lot of terms/vocabulary. I like to use Quizlet.com for online flashcards on various topics.
  18. Quiz yourself on your commute to take the test on exam day.
  19. Ask your professor for help understanding a topic while you are studying, (before the exam.) It’s better to ask than to wish you would’veĀ clarified that one tricky concept when you’re in the middle of the test.
  20. Learn from your mistakes (and past exams.) What could you do better in preparing for the next exam? Do you need to visit your professor to get some extra help?

Time Management

Personally, I like to study a little bit every night before a big exam, starting about a week out. This helps me break down the topic of the exam into smaller, bite-size pieces that seemĀ a lot less overwhelming to me. Studying doesn’t have to last for 10 hours in the library until 3 a.m. if you plan out your time well and use it effectively.

How to Use Your Professor In Preparation

I find among my peers that lots of them never ever visit the professor or talk to them outside of lecture or class-time. This is absurd! Professors (most of the time) genuinely want to help you succeed and have a grasp on the course’s content. Make sure to include your professor as you prepare for a test. Refer back to your syllabus and see when your professor has their office hours. Go and visit your professor and ask for any unclear topics to be clarified. Or, simply just email them whenever a quick question you have arises when studying. I promise you won’t regret asking for help, and it will show them that you are really trying your best and taking the class seriously.


What are your best study tips for college students? Do you have any favorite tricks?

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