How To Study For Exams In College

A few months ago I made two different college blog posts and those took off like c r a z y. I also took it to Instagram to ask what kind of content people want to read and most of the responses were blog posts about school and study tips so here I am giving you guys what you asked for!

So if you guys haven’t read my whole college journey you can get a glimpse of that in this blog post. However, I’ll give you a small overview just to recap for any new visitors. When I first started college I was a C+ student, in pharmacy school and I hated what I was doing. Fast forward two years and now I am an A+ student, as a marketing major and loving life (for the most part at least). When I say my studying habits changed, boy I can not stress enough how bad they used to be. Looking back I’m kind of embarrassed I ever thought I was going to get through something as difficult as college with habits like that.

For anyone curious, my GPA between terms fluctuates between a 3.8-4.0 and I get mostly A+ and a few A- here and there. So I feel like I have some great insight so why keep all the hacks to myself? So for this week’s blog post, I am going to share with you guys my top 7 tips for studying for exams in college and how these tips got me close to a 4.0 GPA.

How to study in college

1. Be An Active Learner During Class.

Trust me, I know how hard it is to pay attention during class. I take 3 hour long classes and it is torture sometimes but you will thank yourself if you start getting into the habit now. During class don’t go on your phone or mess around, actually pay attention and learn the material.

During my first two years of college, I made the mistake of thinking “hey my lectures are recorded I don’t need to go to class or if I do I’ll just shop online.” Then I found myself scrambling to finish watching all the lectures before my exams and wouldn’t even be able to finish on time. Now during my junior and senior year, I attend, pay attention, and take notes in all my classes. This way you don’t waste time hearing the material for the first time two days before the exam. You already have an idea of what’s going on from day one.

2. Read The Textbook

I don’t care who says you don’t need the textbook and not to read it. They’re lying and this is horrible advice please don’t ever listen to it. I know some kids can get away with not reading the textbook and still get decent grades. However, we are not just trying to pass we are trying to get A’s and straight-A students read the textbook. I swear every time I discuss grades with a classmate and they didn’t do as well I ask if they read the textbook and nine times out of ten the answer is no.

Start getting into the habit of going home every day and reading the textbook and taking handwritten notes. I know some people prefer to type them but it’s way more beneficial to write out your notes. In class, if you want to type them to save time that’s fine but when you’re working at your own pace always handwrite them.

Here is an example of my super messy textbook notes. Not going to lie it takes a lot of time to do this but it really does help me learn way more than just studying my class notes. For my accounting class last year each exam I would have over twenty pages of notes but I also killed a very difficult subject so it was worth it. Also, notice how I don’t go crazy with color or highlighting. You totally can if you’re more of a visual learner but for me, it doesn’t really make a difference.

textbook notes to study

I realized I don’t have any of my accounting notes so here’s a page from my finance notes, I put only the equations in color!

3. Reread Your Notes

I usually finish my notes a few days before my exam so, for example, say I finish reading the textbook chapter three days before my exam. Over the next three days, I will spend time rereading and memorizing my notes. If your notes are mostly terms then, of course, you have to memorize and know them. However, if you’re studying concepts especially in a math class than it’s important to actually understand what you’re doing. If you just memorize without understanding the logic behind it, chances are you’ll forget it by exam two.

4. Revise Out Loud

When you’re rereading your notes make sure to read them out loud. This helps solidify the information in your mind because you’re not just reading it but hearing it constantly. It depends on what type of learner you are but I always read my notes out loud when I’m studying at home. I also quiz myself and try to restate what I’ve been reading without looking at the paper. If you’re trying to memorize vocabulary, flashcards are perfect for this!

5. Utilize The Study Guide

If you’re lucky to be given a study guide in college, USE IT!! Your professor is the one who made the study guide so chances are the exam will be similar to it. Go through it and write out all the answers to the sample questions and then go back and study that as well.

6. Study Your Homework Problems

Just like the study guide, learn and redo your homework problems. Memorize any ideas presented in the questions and read over any concepts. The more resources you study from, the better prepared you will be. There are only so many ways professors can word a question.

Here is a picture of how I utilize my homework problems. I write notes all over so when I go back to study them I know exactly what to do. I write down what I’m trying to find, how to find it and what each part of the equation means.

7. Get Assistance From Outside Sources

If you’ve done all of the above and there’s still one topic that isn’t making sense to you it’s time to branch out for help. You can either ask your professor or the tutoring center at your school. You can also simply google and watch Youtube videos and have someone virtually teach you. My favorite site is Khan academy, they have the best videos on almost all subjects and they help a lot!

I hope you guys found these tips helpful and will implement them into your study habits. Have any other tips that you swear by? Make sure to comment them down below and help each other out! If you guys have any blog post requests you can always leave them here or comment them down below.

Make sure to follow me on Instagram and Tiktok, I give exclusive college tips on my posts + stories! You can also subscribe to my newsletter below to receive freebies + extra tips.

You can also check out my other college-related blog posts here:
How To Ace Online Classes
10 Tips For A Successful Semester
How To Successfully Balance Work and School

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  1. Aurora Griffing says:

    Thank you for talking about how reading the chapter is essential!! I have read so many study hacks, tips, or need to knows where the author says don’t read the chapter just read the summary and doing that almost made me fail a class. The summary doesn’t always have everything you need to know. As an older college student (late 20’s) I’ve been searching for as many study tips as can find. Thank you for sharing!

    1. oh no 🙁 maybe it works for some people but I could never do that and don’t recommend it! The textbook is required for a reason so I definitely think reading it is super helpful and taking notes as well. I’m glad my blog post was able to help you a bit, good luck with school!!

  2. Shanice says:

    Thanks a bunch

  3. Sarah says:

    thank you for sharing the hacks. especially the textbook one.

    1. Cherryash says:

      Yes, many always say to me that the textbook is too simple and just boring. After reading your blog post, I went to read the textbooks and I actually learnt quite a bit more. Thx so much!

  4. These tips are super helpful. I love that you attached some examples of your own notes for us to see as well. I’ll definitely be using some of these tips!

  5. Kitty says:

    I really like you blog and i was wondering do you have any tips on how to be consistent.

    1. Thank you! And yes I will be doing a “Habits of Highly Effective Students” type of blog post within the next 1-2 weeks and in there I will talk about consistency. Make sure to subscribe to my newsletter to be notified when that’s up and thank you again for reading!

  6. Fidan says:

    Thank you for tips~♥ i have exams coming soon so i was looking for useful study tips) i have seen a lot but yours are fantastic ill make sure to use them all~thank u

    1. Aw yay, I’m so glad you enjoyed these. Thank you for reading and good luck on your exams!! You got this 🙂

  7. Howdy! Would you mind if I share your blog with my facebook group? There’s a lot of people that I think would really appreciate your content. Please let me know. Many thanks

    1. Yes, you can share it!

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