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Hey guys! Fall is almost here! (I would say fall’s in the air, but I’d be lying.) Going into the semester, we here at the UAH College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences want to share some tips for what will be your best semester yet! These tips aren’t just for our lovely CAHS students; they’re for every student here at UAH. Feel free to share with your friends and leave a comment below if you find these helpful!

STUDYING. I know, bleh. But, hear me out. Studying can be good; you just have to find your system. Let’s look at those two words real quick to make sure we’re on the same page.

Your: I even put this one in italics. Fancy, I know. The reason is, your system should be yours. To be able to study efficiently and consistently, it’s important to know what works best for you and tailor your system accordingly.

System: Because we’re at UAH, and there’s a lot of engineers. :) But in all seriousness, studying has several different components that need to work together to be functional and dependable. Thus, “system.”

So what are the different components of your system? I’ve highlighted four major ones below, so charge on!

  • Let’s start at the beginning: note-taking. Note-taking styles vary, and it’s important to find the one that works best for you. Here’s a personal example. I think that multi-colored, carefully designed pages of notes are gorgeous. So I tried it. It didn’t work for me. I like fast-paced things, so taking the time to switch colors was already too much. That style of note-taking simply isn’t sustainable for me, and that’s okay. But, if you like the artistic value of that style and it makes taking notes (and reviewing them!) more fun, consider incorporating that into your system. Do you feel like typing information rather than writing it helps you focus better? Or, do you feel like you retain information better when you are pencil-to-paper? Ask yourself what styles have worked and not worked, and find your personal favorites!
  • So now you’ve got your notes (and textbooks where applicable). What to do with those? Now’s the time to find your study buddy. And no, it doesn’t have to be a human (but that’s cool too!). You could be anything from flashcards to study groups to just your notes and textbooks. (I have to give a shout-out to my favorite study buddy here, Quizlet. We go way back.) Maybe you need another human to interact with as you study. Perhaps you prefer to fly solo. Perhaps you need both. Whatever it is for you, think about the different things besides your own brain that you’ll need to study effectively.
  • Now, another component of studying is where and how you do it. That is the environment. Where do you study best? Where you study, and the environment, can help or hurt your studying tremendously. Do you like to study amid activity? If so, take a seat at our (very nice) Charger Union and stay awhile. Or, visit one of our many excellent coffee shops here in Huntsville (seriously, they’re all uniquely fantastic). But, maybe you can focus better in a quieter environment such as your room or the library. If you’re alone, do you prefer music or silence? Find what works best for you and where you’re able to focus and retain information the best. For me, it’s outside. Fall is coming, and UAH has so many beautiful outdoor areas. Just a thought.
  • The last component I’ll talk about here is the when. Establishing a routine provides consistency, which is crucial to successful studying (and avoiding cramming!). And, here’s the good news. If you follow all the tips above, establishing a routine and studying consistently will be easy-peasy (because you’ve got your fabulous system now). So, find times where studying fits into your schedule. For me, this isn’t as structured as you might think (especially for my super-scheduling personality type). I like to study in the morning and at night. The afternoon is a no-go. So, I’ll usually look at the things that need studying at the beginning of a week and write what days I’ll study what subjects, chapters, or topics. That’s my personal routine, but something entirely different may work for you. Again, the important thing is establishing a routine that you can stick to this Fall.

And that’s a wrap! I hope these tips are helpful to you as we enter the fall semester together. Exams may seem far off right now, but they’ll be here before we know it! I encourage you to think about your study system. What components work right now, and what could be adjusted to suit your style and improve your studying game? Good luck and Go Chargers! 

blog photos of students sarah gronberg

Blog by: CAHS College Ambassador Sarah Gronberg, Communication Arts.

Photo Credit: CAHS