How to Study: Strategies for Maximizing Your GPA

If you’re smart enough to get into college, you’re smart enough to do well in college.

What is uniquely challenging about college academics is not the material, but the pace and the total workload students must deal with. Maximizing your GPA is simply a matter of adopting the right study habits for the pace and workload you face in college. If you take the right approach to your work, you can have whatever GPA you want.

I’ve made a short list of the most effective strategies for studying. I know from experience that these strategies work.

1. Start studying early

If you start studying early, you’ll have more knowledge and less stress when it’s time to take an exam or write a paper. Too many students put off studying until just a few days before a test. You might be able to get away with this, but it is definitely not the best way to study.

The most effective approach is to review notes each day after class. It’s a small daily time investment with a big payoff. Over the entire semester, you are going to be spending more time studying, but it will be worth it when you’re getting A’s without breaking a sweat.

2. Use flashcards

Flashcards are a great tool for memorizing facts. You’ll find them especially useful in the sciences. The best part about flashcards is that if you make them throughout the quarter or semester, you’ll have all the studying material you need for the final exam. (I wish I had learned this earlier.)

3. Study from tests and quizzes

A lot of classes will have tests and quizzes throughout the term and one cumulative exam at the end of the term. Because tests and quizzes already ask the questions your instructors think are important, you can use the tests and quizzes you take along the way to study for the final exam. Use your old tests to help you focus on the important topics in your textbook and notes.

4. Use study groups

Studying with others is a great way to hone your skills. When a test or quiz is approaching, get together with some classmates and quiz each other on key concepts. You may find that you missed some important points when you were studying on your own. You can get some help from your classmates on problems that were giving you trouble, and you clarify your own understanding by helping someone else with a difficult concept.

These are the most effective strategies. If they sound simple, it is because they are. I am extremely confident that if you adopt these strategies, you will enjoy success when you perform well academically.

Feel free to leave a comment letting us know what has worked for you.

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