There is nothing worse than spending hours on end studying and then realizing you got nothing out of it! Sometimes, just going through the motions—especially if you are easily distracted— isn’t enough. As any coach would say: practice doesn’t make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect!
So how do you make the most of your time? First, make a schedule of when you will study what. It helps to keep you focused on one class at a time—try to ensure that you set aside time to study after each class period to help you keep on top of the readings and assignments. Next, make a study outline by reviewing your class notes and matching them with key points in the text book and other course materials. Rewrite your notes, not only to make them more legible, but also to take the time to really think about why you made those notes in the first place. If it was important enough for your professor to share with the class, it’ll likely be on a test (and it goes without saying that it’s vitally important to actually attend class so you can take these notes in the first place!).
Forming a study group is another great option–not only does it create a specific time for you to study, it also gets you active in your learning by giving you opportunities to discuss the course concepts with your classmates. Get together over coffee at the Union or the Library to go over notes, make sure you didn’t miss anything, ask questions about material you didn’t understand, and help each other work through problems and difficult concepts.
Did you know that some of your classes have study groups built in? Supplemental Instruction, or SI, is a great opportunity UMKC offers to help you get more involved in your academic success. SI sessions are facilitated by an SI Leader, a student who has already taken the course and done well in it. SI Leaders know the course content and are eager to help guide you through it! If you attend SI sessions regularly, chances are you will earn a better grade. You will also develop more effective ways of studying, which will help you in all your classes.
Don’t forget to utilize tutoring services available with Academic Support & Mentoring, located in the Atterbury Student Success Center. And for writing projects, stop by the Writing Studio at any stage during the project–from pre-writing to final proofing–they can help!
And of course, talk with you professor during office hours or make an appointment. But don’t waste this opportunity to have one-on-one consultation with your professor! Be sure you come to the meeting prepared with all your questions—and bring the work you have already completed so you can review things step-by-step. You will learn more by doing than by expecting to receive all the answers handed to you.