Study for the university, especially for those who do not have much experience in a faculty, can be a challenge. It is clear that there are more difficult careers than others, but one thing is clear: preparing for university exams and keeping up with the agendas given in the university requires more preparation than you would expect in a normal school or an Institute.
So … How to study for the university? How can we adopt those study habits that will allow us to adapt well to the pace of work and learning that is expected of us in a faculty? Let’s see it …
How to study for university and learn week by week
When adapting to the typical study type of a university, keep in mind the following indications and key ideas to study for the university.
1. Autonomy is what matters
The first thing you should know is that in the university world the person directly involved in learning is, clearly, each of the students. If in the institutes the little experience of the students had to be compensated by a very proactive attitude on the part of the professors, this logic no longer exists in the university. Students must do what is necessary to keep up with the content they teach in class, without waiting for anyone’s help (more taking into account that in most faculties there are many more students than professors).
So, get rid of the idea that behind you there is a lifeguard network of people willing to avoid you having to repeat subjects or pay again for presenting yourself to exams. This does not work like this anymore.
2. Classes are an important resource
Many people believe that the classes are simply that place to be attended so they do not receive a note for attendance. However, there is something that makes these spaces very valuable: they serve to raise doubts.
There is a habit of seeing the questions in class as a rarity, something that only slows down the rhythm of the syllabus. However, they are the essence of what it means to teach. The question session serves to fill gaps in knowledge that remain between what is explained and what is learned by analyzing what teachers say. The normal thing is that these kinds of knowledge gaps appear, so something must be done to prevent them from continuing to exist.
Posing a doubt out loud is something that can avoid minutes or even hours of searching among the notes, reviewing the bibliography, consulting other students, etc.
3. Create a calendar
You must avoid by all means to make your study hours depend on the dates on which you have exams to get you to review the notes a few days before.
To do this, create calendars from the first week of the semester, locate the days of the exams, and create a first sketch of your study sessions for each subject. Taking into account that to optimize your study times you should spend time studying all the subjects at least once a week, distribute those sessions so that you have a balanced calendar.
4. Create schemes
Do not limit yourself to reading what you put in the books, in the photocopies and in the notes you have taken as you listened to what was said in class. Write your own versions of those contents. It may seem like an unnecessary “extra” task, since theoretically it implies duplicating something that already exists in other visual supports, but in reality it is not. The reason is very simple: doing that requires you to express in your own words a content and make it form a coherent “whole”.
For example, doing this activity with the content to learn will allow you to detect in time those “gaps” of knowledge and those apparent contradictions that, otherwise, would only come to your knowledge at the time of the test or shortly before. In addition, it will make the study much easier, since having all the content in one place and forming part of a structured text in a way that makes sense for you makes things much easier.
On the other hand, the fact of writing the contents of the syllabus again means that you memorize them much better than you would by simply reading, because it makes that information better fixed in your memory.
5. If you can, study in a group
Group study sessions are an ideal way to detect early doubts that would not otherwise have occurred to you. Thanks to these sessions, those difficult questions that would have been left out of your radar are centralized if you limited yourself to studying at your own pace, without counting the others. Yes, be sure to study with people who have a level of knowledge similar to yours, or it could be a frustrating experience.
6. Go through imaginary exams
At the end of each study session, ask yourself questions about a possible imaginary examination. In this way, doubts will appear in a controlled environment, in which, if you do not know them, you can go to the sources. Those that have been a challenge you will learn them well simply because they will have made you go through a moment of tension and uncertainty, with which you will remember them in the future. The emotional memory is very powerful.
7. Create rest breaks
No study session of more than one hour is bearable. The idea, to perform well, is that you are planning small breaks of about ten minutes every three quarters of an hour, approximately. That way you will rest in an adequate way, preparing you to face the next study session with full faculties.