One thing I take seriously is my education. Maybe not to the point where I only ever study and get straight A’s, but I do think how I keep organized and study has helped me stay on the honor roll and get/ keep scholarships over the years.
Most of the time I type my class notes. Though it’s scientifically proven that written notes help you retain more, I type my notes because that means I can study anywhere. Since middle school, I’ve been using Google Docs to type my notes. If you’ve never heard of it, it’s a free online version of Microsoft Word. I have the app on every device I own so I don’t have to haul around notebooks.
At the beginning of each semester, I make two documents for every class. The first one is for in-class discussions and any information that might be found on the professor’s PowerPoint. The second document is just for notes from the textbook and outside reading assignments.
One thing I’ve never seen anyone else do is that I put the date in the document’s title so I know just by looking at it what was the last time I added to my notes. For example, for my in-class environmental issues (EI) notes it’s called “2/7 EI – In Class.”
Another thing I do is that I put a header every day in the document before I start typing notes. In the header, I list day of the week, date, what the main points are of the reading/ discussion, and if there is any homework or upcoming dates that I need to remember. I don’t keep a planner, so this gives me something to refer back to.
My notes are usually in an easy to read font (probably Arial) in 12 point. I bold vocab words and italicize examples given by the teacher or book. When I’m in a classroom setting, I’m usually typing so fast that I don’t want to waste time highlighting words.
I keep a binder for every class. I even do this for classes that don’t have homework. It’s just a place for me to put any handouts and store finished homework.
Each one of my binders also contains a notebook that’s clipped in the back. Even though I type my notes, I never know when I’ll need paper. Some classes require me to write a journal, so I just put it in the binder too.
This year when I went to college, at first I got lost around campus. Now each binder has a cover on them that tells me my teacher’s name, what class the binder is for, what time the class starts, and what building that class is in.
On the other side of the binder, I keep a copy of a school map, and I highlight what building my class is in.
Most teachers don’t require this, but I do this for myself. Right now, I’m working on an independent study and a research project for an upcoming event. Luckily the two projects go hand and hand, so I’m using the same research information for them. Because there are so many parts of the project, I’m putting everything I have for it in a binder of its own. Anything I print off or am going to use as a source, I put into the binder. Now that I’m in the writing process, I’m going to put the different drafts in there too.
Some classes require students to read online articles as part of the class. When this happens, it’s just easier for me to print it out.
I only highlight the mentioned people and the main point of each paragraph. After I finish it, I type up a small paragraph summary of it to put in my notes.
You don’t need to do a full outline when writing a paper. I do think you need to make a simple one in order to know what you need to be researching/ writing about.
If I’m doing a research paper, I start by filling out an outline with the main points that I already know. From there I start my research on Google and on databases. Then once I get some research done, I go back in and fill out the details in the outline.
For non-research based papers, I follow a similar process with an outline. I start with what I know about the topic and continue from there. Normally, I’ll begin by cramming out a strong couple of pages, then I’ll take a break.
Like I said before, I use Google Docs for school. This is the same for when I write papers. When I’m done with an assignment, I put it through a program called Grammarly. This gets most of the grammar error and formatting stuff. Personally, I’m a member of Grammarly Premium that finds more advanced issues like sentence structure and cited sources. From there, I copy and paste it into Google Translate. This reads it back to me and helps me find small errors that Grammarly didn’t pick up.
Most of the time this is fine for daily assignments. When I’m writing long papers, I have someone else look at it.
Everyone studies differently. Some people can do it in a loud crowded room, while others like me do it in a quiet room. Luckily, I don’t have any classes that require me to have homework, but I have a lot of reading assignments. For the most part, my teachers give me a list of all the assignments for the semester.
Normally, I do all my reading for the week all at once. For instance, my World Cultures class requires me to read four articles a week. At the end of the week, I sit down and read next week’s articles. Same goes for the rest of my classes. I like to read on the weekends so that I’m free during the week.
When I used to have daily homework in high school, I’d do that assignment right after that class or that night. Even if I didn’t have that class the next day, I’d get it out of the way while the information was still fresh in my head.
I normally start studying for a test a week before. I’ll print out my in-class & book notes and highlight the main points of each. Then I’ll look up Quizlets for the class or make a study guide of my own.
The best way to get a good grade is to attend your classes. This should be a no-brainer. More likely than not, the teacher’s lecture will cover what you need to know for the test.
Asking questions during class is the best way to understand something you might not know. The person next to you or your friends probably don’t know the course like your teacher does.
Get in a study group. Joining a study group is a good way to meet people and can help you get through studying faster than just by yourself.
The week after the semester starts, I sit down and figure out when is the best time for me to study for each class during the week.
Listen to music during study time. If you live in a noisy dorm/ house, it can help you focus and stay on task. This is my favorite playlist.
Drink water when studying and take breaks every 45 minutes.
Pack your bag before you go to sleep. It’s a lifesaver for me in the morning because I’m always running behind.