Write facts you don’t know on post-it notes and put them on the wall above your desk
This is a great method for memorizing formulas, dates, and the names of countries. You will retain nearly all of the information with minimal effort – how awesome is that?
Study in a quiet, distraction-free location
I know some people do well studying in the library, but there are too many people there for me to concentrate. I find I do my best studying in my dorm room at my desk. Also, I study without music because music distracts me. I end up focusing on song lyrics rather than the academic material I should be absorbing.
Study at a desk, a table, or the floor – anywhere but your bed!
As mentioned in the last point, I do my best studying at my desk. If you can’t get to a desk, use a table. Stay away from your bed. Your body and your brain associate your bed with sleeping. If you try to study there, you will magically end up feeling drowsy or falling asleep… so don’t do it!
Repetition is key
If you’re having trouble remembering an important fact, write it down and say it aloud several times. This strategy will aid with retention.
Highlight and use color coding
Whenever I’m going over the material for an exam, I highlight my notes and readings using three different highlighters. Yellow is for material I know so well that I could repeat it in my sleep, green is for stuff I’m pretty comfortable with, and pink is for sections that need more reviewing. Once I’ve highlighted everything, I go through and review the material in pink first, and then green, and finally, time permitting, yellow.
I find that I can only focus on schoolwork for about an hour before getting bored. Once you’ve figured out how long you can concentrate for, take the allotted time to study, and then allow yourself a twenty-minute break. This break should be spent away from your study space to give yourself a mental break. Take a nap, go outside, or visit with a friend. It doesn’t matter what you do as long as you get away for a little while. Just make sure to come back once the twenty minutes are up!
Pay attention in class
This is my last and most critical point. If you show up to class regularly, take notes, and listen to the professor, it will be much easier for you to retain the material, and that means less free time spent studying.