How I Study in College? (+Tips & Tricks for Engineering Students)
I will assume that you have read my previous blog post about How to Find Your Learning Style? Because this blog will be related to that and there are some extra tips about studying in college.
As usual, if you want to watch me talking about this topic, you can check this video on my YouTube Channel:
Let's get into it!
First, Understand The College Credits System
If you can see on your Course Selection, some courses have three credits, four credits, or two credits. And I'm going to share with you "What's the meaning of that credits."
For example, if we enrolled in a course that has three credits, that means we need to spend:
3 Hours Study in the Classroom/per-week
3 Hours Learning Independently/per-week
3 Hours of Doing Assignments/per-week
So, if you want to calculate them, the total of hours spent for a week for that three credits course is 9 hours.
If you can understand this concept, I hope, and I think you will be fine in college. That's why you need to make sure that you can manage your time very well during college. Because time management will make or break you.
Read the blog post about How I Managed My Time in College?
The Main Tips & Tricks for Studying in College
Disclaimer: these tips are based on my personal experience. So, make sure that you can tailor these tips to your situation.
#1 ATTEND EVERY CLASS, ESPECIALLY THE FIRST MEETING
You know, it's funny when people don't want to get into the class, especially the first class, just because they're lazy. Or probably thought that the first class wouldn't be interesting enough since the lecturer only gives the intro of the course. So they're assuming that reading the textbooks or slides is enough to pass the class.
For me, The First Meeting is THE MOST IMPORTANT MEETING.
Why? Because, when you attend the first meeting, you can:
Find out about the lecturer's/professor's BACKGROUND & PERSONALITY.
Find out about the COURSE SYLLABUS for the whole semester.
Know HOW we can find the BOOKS/WEBSITES/RESOURCES to understand the course materials.
Know the GRADING SYSTEM. I guess this is the most important because, based on my experience, each class's grading system is not the same. For example, some lecturers focus more on the theoretical side. So, they want you to be able to do the final exam or quizzes very well. And then, some lecturers will be focused more on the practical side (e.g., programming classes). So, you need to focus more on the final project. Last but not least, some classes will require you to BALANCE between theoretical and practical. So, you need to study for the exams, but at the same time, you need to be able to prepare yourself to create a fantastic final project.
That's why I recommend you to attend every class, especially the FIRST MEETING.
#2 READ/SKIM/REVIEW THE MATERIALS BEFORE CLASS
If you don't want to follow the "Ideal" academic work hours (the 9 hours/per week) but still want to understand the material, this 2nd tip is for you. I think this tip would be a little bit confusing because some of you would probably think:
"Why would you study in advance while the lecturer/professor will give you the materials in the classroom?"
Based on my experience, when I tried to skim or review the materials/books/slides that probably the lecturer will give in the classroom, I got these benefits:
I can UNDERSTAND the POINTS that the lecturers are giving. If you are not a fan of detailed information, skimming/reading quickly through the materials would help you in some way, especially if you are a visual learner.
I can CONFIDENTLY ASK QUESTIONS to the lecturers/professors during the class. Because I know what the lecturers are talking about since I have read the materials in advance. And, for your information, if you can ask some questions to the lecturers/professors in the classroom, there is a possibility that you could memorize the answers/concepts very well. Also, the lecturers/professors will give you some extra points just because you're active in class. THAT'S THE TRUTH. Therefore, being involved in the classroom has an advantage since the lecturers/professors love that. So, you don't have to be so stressed with the exams or the final projects.
#3 MAKE SOME NOTES DURING CLASS
Whatever your learning style is, either visual, kinesthetic, auditory or read & write, I would say that it's better to take some notes during the class. Or at least, if you have the presentation slides from the professor, you can create some scribbles or marks on each slide to understand the concept even more. Because most of the time, professors didn't put the complete information on the slides. They tend to give detailed explanations orally, so I guess you need to be an ACTIVE LISTENER during class and TAKE NOTES.
I'm a visual, kinesthetic, also read & write learner. So, it's tough for me to stay focused for three hours to understand the concept or the materials from the professors if I didn't move my hands (aka. take some notes). I guess that's the problem with kinesthetic learners.
#4 UNDERSTAND THE MATERIALS
If you want to understand the materials, these are the steps:
KNOW YOUR LEARNING STYLES
MAXIMIZE ALL RESOURCES (e.g., books, websites, YouTube, internet, online courses, labs, seniors, teaching assistants, etc.)
DON'T BE AFRAID TO ASK THE PROFESSORS IF YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND SOMETHING
#5 PREPARING THE EXAMS
Although I wouldn't say I like exams, I need to face them. So, bear with me!
How to prepare for the exams?
GET as many OLD EXAMS as possible. You can ask some of your seniors who had taken the class to lend you the old exams. Or, if your campus has exam banks from the student center, you can buy them. Because usually, in engineering, your exams will be similar the last year's exams. So you can see what type of questions the professors ask you on the exams and practice answering the problem sets.
Work on AS MANY PROBLEM AS POSSIBLE. You can do it from your assignments or old exams; at least, the goal is you know the patterns of answering the questions. If you have practiced the particular type of questions beforehand, during exams, you wouldn't be so stressed or shocked when you're facing that type of question. So that's why, if you practiced lots of problems, eventually, you would get good grades. PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT.
#6 DO YOUR ASSIGNMENTS DURING THE DAY
The 6th tip is the last tip from me. Because usually, during nighttime, I felt like I don't have any energy doing assignments during the night. Because what I want to do after 6 p.m. is relaxing, refreshing, hanging out, doing sports, at least no more college stuff.
Finally, It's Over!
Thank you so much for reading the blog post until the end. Keep in mind that all of these are based on my experience. So, if you have other tips and tricks, feel free to share and use them!
See you in the next blog post :)