Expert guides on how to study for college

Discover proven ways to study not just harder but smarter. Learn how you can create a detailed study plan, maximize the time you spend studying, take meaningful notes, and save time when preparing for exams—all while keeping stress levels low and your grades high.

#1 First, Understand that Studying is Not the Same as Doing Homework

First, Understand that Studying is Not the Same as Doing HomeworkLearn the difference between homework and studying, as well as how to approach each of these tasks. Discover five tips for effective studying in college, and explore how factors such as environment and outlook can affect your success while studying.

#2 Create a Study Plan

Create a Study PlanSee why it is critical to develop a study plan in order to be successful in college. Learn four steps to creating a realistic, effective plan of study, and explore ways to ensure you follow through with your personalized plan.

#3 Manage Your Time

Manage Your TimeDiscover the recommended amount of study time per credit hour, and see if you have been investing enough time in each course. Find out how to avoid the mistake of studying too much, and explore five tips for effective time management.

#4 Take Effective Notes

Take Effective NotesLearn how to save time and energy by using effective note-taking strategies for both traditional and online classes. Explore ways to exercise good judgment when deciding what to write down. You can maximize your productivity by leveraging these tips for organizing and taking class notes.

#5 Read Text Slowly Before and After Class

Read Text Slowly Before and After ClassExplore ways to read more efficiently and get the most out of your textbooks. Analyze these steps of effective reading to see if you have been reading correctly. Learn how to reduce your study time by using these tips for smarter reading.

#6 Study Smart Before Exams

Study Smart Before ExamsDiscover proven tricks to help you recall information on test day. You’ll find methods that work for different kinds of courses and exams. By using these memorization tips, you’ll cut down on your test prep time for each course and will be more likely to recall important information that will serve you in future courses, as well.

#7 Use Test-Taking Strategies on Exam Day

Use Test-Taking Strategies on Exam DayLearn how you can perform better on test day by following some simple test-taking tips. Explore ways to be physically and mentally prepared, as well as tips to gain points on various sections of your tests. See how posttest strategies can help you master material and boost your score on future exams.

#8 Maintain Your Studies

Maintain Your StudiesSee how you can retain and build on what you’ve learned in your courses. Don’t let your knowledge and hard work go to waste. Explore ways to preserve valuable course materials and remain abreast of developments in your field.

#9 Manage Your Stress

Manage Your StressLearn the different kinds of stress and the symptoms of detrimental stress. See how you can recognize your own common stress triggers. You can develop ways to create a buffer and be prepared both mentally and physically to handle stressful situations during your academic career.

#10 Exercise Your Brain for Optimal Memory Training

Exercise Your Brain for Optimal Memory TrainingExplore ways to enhance your ability to recall information. Your brain is a like a muscle that needs regular and varied exercise. Learn ways to stimulate various parts of your brain and keep your brain healthy to improve your academic performance.

#11 Appendix: Top Ten Resources

Appendix: Top Ten ResourcesDiscover resources that can supplement your classroom study and boost your grades. You’ll find free online resources designed specifically to help you in various college courses. You can also explore resources that help you manage your time and stress throughout your college experience.

#12 Appendix: Other Study Tips

Appendix: Other Study TipsBrowse this list of resources on a variety of topics that are vital to academic success. Find advice from reputable, accredited universities on how to study smarter and how to manage your time. View online discussions from professional educators and students on how to ace your exams.

#13 Appendix: Best Student Credit Cards & Financial Advice

Appendix: Best Student Credit Cards & Financial AdviceLearn about best credit practices for students and our recommended student credit cards.

#14 Appendix: Best Study Apps and Gadgets to Help Your College Grades

Appendix: Best Study Apps and Gadgets to Help Your College GradesHere are a number of tools and gadgets that can help you organize your life, improve your productivity and study habits, and even give you a hand at test time.