5 Study Hacks: How to Study in College & Completely Ace It!

Updated on May 20, 2019
Josh Mourne profile image

Family guy and dedicated high-school teacher in Florida. Aiming to help students with everything I can. Love reading and critical analysis.

5 Study Hacks to Help You Ace Your College

As a teacher, I like to cooperate with students and it is exciting! Let me explain why, though. I add a lot of "psychological approach" to my job. To educate youth is not just to read some material and check their tests afterward. To educate is to guide students over the academic years. I like to excite my students, I like to make them want to study. And trust me, this approach pays off in the long run for everyone. Me? I get joy out of it. Call it a hobby in some way.

Some of my students often rant about piles of papers, assignments, and lack of free time. Moreover, let me tell you a secret. I once overheard a conversation of one of my best students and his friend and from what I heard, quote:

Man, I'm so f***ing done with college! I haven't slept in years!

Sounds familiar, right? Back in my college years, I've been repeating the same thing!

Naturally, I want to help my students. And everyone else. So, how does one remains successful in college without sacrificing precious hours of sleep, precious parties and all of the benefits of youth? This is hard to achieve. And you still need to put a lot of work on it. But in the end, it will pay off!

Here is the list of 5 study hacks to help you through your college years.

Are you ready to take actions?
Are you ready to take actions?

1. Organize yourself and your schedule

No time for this, no time for that, feeling lazy today - we have all been there! Unfortunately, the less you work, the more things will add up to your pile of unfinished assignments and papers. After all, you will get upset and stressed which will significantly damage your performance. In my article on time management in college, I mentioned that you have to break your task on smaller ones. Here's the logic: the day you got your assignments is the day these assignments have to be done unless we're talking huge papers. Period. Sure, it sounds like a lot of work but in the long run, it is actually a time savior.

A great mindset, to begin with, is to take college or high school like a 9-5 job. Yes, it sounds terrifying! But first, let's make some simple calculations.

There are 24 hours in the day. An average person needs at least 7 hours of sleep per day. That's 17 hours left. Take 9 hours per day for studying including visiting classes and dealing with your papers and you are left with 8 hours of free time per day. I don't know about you, but for me, it sounds great!

Hours in the Day
Hours to Study
Hours to Sleep
FREE TIME!
24
9
7
8

Do you think 8 hours of free time is enough?

See results

The moral is, organizing your time and yourself will drastically increase your chances on having not only high performance but also on having a quality rest during the day!

To summarize, here are the best tips to organize your time in college:

  • Study on a 9-5 schedule.
  • Make small assignments and homework the day you receive them.
  • Break huge tasks into smaller ones and do them one step at a time.
  • Get over your laziness and procrastination. I'm serious!
  • Consider making separated to-do lists for studying and free time.

2. Take care of your health

Okay, so now let's play a game. I'm going to show you one picture and you try to guess what does it mean, okay? Great! So here's the photo.

Source

Guessed? Good! Googled? Also good! For those of you who did not guess, this is a comparison of brain scans before taking an exam. The picture to the right - students who took 20 minutes of their time to walk before taking an exam. To the left - students who didn't.

It is a scientifically proven fact! Physical activities boost your performance. But how to constantly keep this buff? I have a couple of tips for you.

  • Drink more water. I believe it is not a secret. An adult person should drink a daily dose of water - 3.7 liters for men and 2.7 liters for women. Stay hydrated!
  • Eat healthily. Alright, this is a hard task to perform even for me. I love pizza and fast food. But hey, don't just eat these all day and all night. Take some of your free time to learn how to cook and prepare good, healthy and cheap meals for students.
  • Exercise. I'm not talking about fancy gyms and perfect bodies here. But 10-20 minutes of exercises in the morning will keep you in good form. Moreover, your health will drastically benefit from it in the long run.
  • Joggle or walk. A 10 minutes joggle before bedtime will help you to sleep tight and recover both physically and mentally much faster.
  • Learn to drink. And i cannot stress this enough. I know you're drinking, but keep it cool, please. Don't damage yourself and your performance!
  • Forget about "allnighters"! It is much better to do your papers and assignments before the last remaining night. Please, do not damage your health with gallons of coffee and energy drinks. Get things done way before.

And these are only a few tips out of thousands. Moreover, following this pseudo-healthy lifestyle will help you to reduce physical and mental stress on top of boosting your performance in college. Stay healthy!

Note: you can find thousands of great recipes for meals on the web. First example that comes to my mind is r/collegecooking.

This is not how your breakfast should look like!
This is not how your breakfast should look like!

3. Use all of the advantages of the Internet

Let me be clear with you. I know the "meme culture", social networks and entertainments have taken over the youth and honestly, I don't mind. But did you know that the wonders of the web can also help you to study more efficiently, perform better at classes and even save or earn money? Trust me, there are a lot of resources for everything.

You have to learn how to find and use these resources to your advantage! It's not only about checking on your social media or the latest trends around the world. It's also about finding materials to help yourself to perform better at college and save some precious time.

Learn more.

If you're a tech student, you will definitely like things like "WolframAlpha", "CodeAcademy" and more. If you need to write a perfect essay, go check blogs on websites like "WriteAnyPapers" to learn more about types of essays and step-by-step guides on writing. Such websites often have a great variety of guides on essay writing as well as countless examples of essays, step-by-step solutions and so on. I also highly recommend "Grammarly" to reduce your mistakes.

You can take various free courses and learning programs all over the web! Your learning continues even after your classes are finished. And it is always useful to find out more information for yourself. Develop a habit to learn something new each day. It is hard to develop, I know. But once you get used to it, it will bring you only positive results!

Make some money.

As a college student, you are most likely struggling with money. It's a harsh truth and there is no shame in it. The majority of us went through it too. There are various legal ways to make money on the Internet. For example, you can earn some money by performing small and simple tasks by registering an account on "Fiverr". You can also take online surveys, test applications, products and more. It doesn't take much of your time and it is really beneficial for you as a student. Besides, teachers like me have mercy for students who work!

But wait, there is much more! Various discounts for students, free online libraries with thousands of books waiting to be read. You just need to take advantage of it.

Test your knowledge.

When learning something new, you have to check yourself. Always. The best way to do it quickly? Testing! There are various websites for testing your knowledge on a specific topic. For example, you can and should try "Quizlet". This is a great tool for both students and teachers and it will most likely help you to perform much better in classes. It will also reduce the time you need to prepare yourself for a test. Give it a try.

And there is no end!

With the Internet by your hand, your powers are literally limitless. You can find any book, any article, guides, and examples of everything. For example, just in few hours you can learn how to get a perfect letter of recommendations and more! Pretty sick, right? You just have to learn how and where to search for it. Personally, I would definitely recommend you to learn the basics of using Google. You are probably missing a lot of information by googling it wrong.

I know, fonts are addictive...
I know, fonts are addictive...

How much of the online time do you spend on educating yourself?

See results

4. Socialize with others

Having friends in college is not only about drinking and partying together. It's about cooperating. I often assign group projects to help people socialize and find long-term studying partners. How is it helpful? Well, there are some benefits for sure.

  • Sharing ideas and solutions. Having one brain is good, but having a network of two and more is much better. You can be an expert in something your mate does not understand. Help him. In turn, he will help you to understand something he knows about. That's just how it works, really.
  • Boosting performance. When grouping with someone, you have much more chances to finish your homework faster. Brainstorming ideas, finding multiple solutions to choose the fastest and the most efficient way to do your assignments.
  • Forming a partnership. High school, college, and university are all perfect places for forming a partnership. You can create your own project, research and work together! I think Facebook was born this way, right?

The thing is, the more social you are about studying, the more efficient it becomes. Like it or not, this is how humans work. So give it a try!

5. Don't get lost!

Woah, you've made it this far! I genuinely admire your patience. We're almost done here. I'll try to make it as short as possible.

A lot of students are "losing their way" during the college years. I'm not talking about realizing that your major is not what you want to study and do in the future. That's completely okay for most people and it is fixable. I'm talking about burning out. Don't get stressed over nothing. Be responsible and always remember why are you here. To learn and educate yourself.

We all have these bad days. We are all going through depression sometimes. It's totally fine. You have to find a perfect balance between education and recreation. And this is something nobody can help you with. Set up your personal limits, goals and follow them.

Education is hard and honest work. Keep it in mind, please. And never lose your way!

And now go and ace your classes!
And now go and ace your classes!

Questions & Answers

    Comments

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      • Josh Mourne profile imageAUTHOR

        Joshua Reid 

        2 months ago from Florida

        Patricia, yes! You will find a lot of information on blogs like WriteAnyPapers.com. Generally, I do not advocate for these types of websites, but we can't deny the educational value they usually provide. They really are cool in terms of teaching you how to write essays, research papers and so on.

      • Patricia Lawrence profile image

        Patricia Lawrence 

        2 months ago from Dayton, Ohio

        What about the WriteAnyPapers blog? Is it really helpful for students? For example, if I need to learn about some writing technique or I am interested in a dissertation structure, will I find the information I need there?

      • Josh Mourne profile imageAUTHOR

        Joshua Reid 

        2 months ago from Florida

        William,

        The Internet is as evil as you allow it to be evil. You know what the say? Be aware of the Dark Side!

      • Josh Mourne profile imageAUTHOR

        Joshua Reid 

        2 months ago from Florida

        Lauralee,

        There is no denial that some people are "gifted", I'd say. Some students can be totally off-schedule and still have success with it. Because they're fast learners, for example. Imagine how much more potential there is if a fast-learner spends most of his time on education! Guys and girls like your friend could've been a great addition to the academic world in the long run. Pretty sad they have no motivation most of the time.

        What I want to say to you specifically is that you should not actually compare yourself. Set a goal and try to achieve it step by step. This is your own life and your own education. Just because someone seems more successful doesn't seem it will always be like that. In high school, for example, I was totally unmotivated and then decided to work hard in college. And it was worth it, to be honest.

        Again, you just have to work and dedicate yourself to your education. And it will pay off definitely. You are not satisfied with your essay? Great, go spend at least 2 hours learning on how to write an essay. There are plenty of resources all over the web. Just read it, analyze it, improve yourself. Just reading such an article will help you to improve essay writing. And I'm not even mentioning how much you can improve by using these tips to their fullest.

        The thing is, you should be dedicated. Yes, it's hard to adapt to this learning schedule and procrastination takes over. But defeating it all step by step will definitely help you in the long run and it will definitely pay off in the long run.

      • William Frasier profile image

        William Frasier 

        2 months ago from Chicago, Illinois

        I just don't believe that someone can spend 70%-90% of their online time on own education. I mean, how are you even managing to do it without a constant distraction? Damn, man, internet is evil, total bad influence on your spare time.

      • Lauralee Washington profile image

        Lauralee Washington 

        2 months ago from Houston, Texas

        What I find intersting... Is fact that a friend of mine doesn't have an everyday schedule, but, still, he manages to be first at everything. Some kind of superpower.

      • Maribel Gibbs profile image

        Maribel Gibbs 

        2 months ago from Paoli, Pennsylvania

        Lauralee Washington, gosh, girl, just get some proper sleep, and then you're gonna ACE EVERYTHING.

      • Josh Mourne profile imageAUTHOR

        Joshua Reid 

        2 months ago from Florida

        Lauralee,

        spending 5 hours to sleep is totally not enough. Basically, you're not recovering physically and of course mentally. Thus, you're beginning to procrastinate, feel bad, etc.

        You really need to revise your schedule. Perhaps, for now it will be better for you to reduce studying time and increase resting time. Or look for some alternatives like not staying up until 2 or 3 am :D

      • Lauralee Washington profile image

        Lauralee Washington 

        2 months ago from Houston, Texas

        Well, even though I spent five hours to sleep, and eight to study, I still have no time. For anything! I don't understand how it works. Somebody, explain to me how you are managing to keep up??

      • Maribel Gibbs profile image

        Maribel Gibbs 

        2 months ago from Paoli, Pennsylvania

        As a teacher myself, I totally agree with your "hacks".

      • Josh Mourne profile imageAUTHOR

        Joshua Reid 

        3 months ago from Florida

        Frankie,

        Bojack is a great cartoon. Me and my girls absolutely adore it! I truly hope you'll be better! Giving it a shot is a good idea :)

      • Frankie Vanderhoff profile image

        Frankie Vanderhoff 

        3 months ago from Lower Saxony, Germany

        I can relate to Bojack and Todd so much. Always procrastinate... Maybe with your tips I'll be better :)

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