Student Ambassador Study Habit Tips

Anthony at Butler Community College:

In my several years of schooling, I have picked up some good study habits and have learned a few things along the way that have contributed towards my success in getting good grades. I used to perform poorly in math in High School. I felt like I just couldn’t quite understand the concepts taught and that the subject just wasn’t for me and would avoid it at all costs. I used to feel like “I wasn’t a math person.”

Fortunately for me, my current school offers math module classes in a 3-course breakdown of 5-week modules, utilizing Hawkes Learning software. I feel like the class structure and some best study practices, as well as Hawkes courseware has helped me to be a successful student and earn A’s in all my math classes since. I will share some of my best study habits that have helped to get me where I am today.

Start your studying early – This has been a big adjustment for me, but I have grown to see how it can help make you better prepared for class, and allowing yourself more time for studies and assignments greatly increases your retention of the information and manages your time more effectively to complete assignments on time. In my math module courses, there is a rule that you cannot start the module exam on the last day of class until all your course certifies in Hawkes are completed. This sets the expectation of turning everything in on time, so you need to manage your time wisely. I find that the Hawkes practice test and study guide help to prepare me for my module exam if I am conducting it ahead of time and preparing early.

Find a quiet area away from distractions – For me, finding a place I can concentrate and is free of distractions is a major method of allowing me to dedicate my time specifically to my goal in mind. I would recommend putting your phone out of reach and avoiding distracting websites or social media. This way, you can fully concentrate on the task at hand. While I am focusing on my work, I like to go back and double check my missed question to see what I did wrong. I like that Hawkes allows the opportunity to see what you missed in your certification.

Allow yourself adequate work time – Give yourself a reasonable amount of time to complete what you are wanting to achieve. Sometimes I will just try to focus on spending a short time (30 minutes to 1 hour) on something that could require a lot more of my time, and then take a short break to reward myself. This way, even if you only have a short amount of time, you still accomplish part of your work and can split it up over periods of time and come back to it if needed. I like to complete my practices for a math module in Hawkes as soon as possible and then try to finish the certifications the next day. This way, you are not overloaded with work and having to complete it all at once.

Hopefully, my tips and best practices can help you achieve success in finding what works best for you.

Lauren of Christian Brothers University:

Stay on task When studying, it can be so tempting to get off track. From the television to your cellphone, it may seem very challenging to stay focused on the task at hand. Often times when prepping for tests or quizzes, people do not realize how much time they waste. The best route I have found to avoiding wasted study time is to turn off all electronics and set timers for myself. This allows me to put part of my day aside for studying while creating a productive study environment.

Take breaks – Learning new information can be tiring. Depending on the amount of information you must learn for your test or quiz, it can feel overwhelming if you do not incorporate break times into your study routine. Your overall performance is best when you are at your best. Therefore, you have to study in a way that will benefit both your mental state and physical state. When setting my study timers, I leave room for a break after my alarm rings. During this time, I stretch, listen to music, or do something else to relax my mind. After my break of a few minutes, I go back to focusing on my studies.

Utilize all the resources you have – The great thing about school is that there is always a helping hand to assist you in class. Whether that is your teacher, a tutor, or classmate, you should always feel like you have an outlet to go to when studying. Sometimes students are embarrassed about needing help on a particular subject. It is important to remember that your question might be someone else’s and that school is a learning experience. If you knew everything, you would not need any schooling! Going for help is part of being a good student. Extra study sessions with other people along with individual study time can increase your chances of getting the grade you want.

Devote real effort You should always try to study actively. It is easy to make flashcards and Quizlet’s but the real challenge is honestly knowing the information. Getting an A requires effort and dedication. As a Biology major, a lot of my homework is to simply study. Because of this, I have to understand information and build on it with each class. Finding ways to effectively learn is individual to your learning style. A tip I use is to speak my newly learned information aloud so that it can become ingrained into my head. In result of this, knowing the information like the back of my hand allows taking quizzes/tests to feel effortless.

You got this – Negativity has no place in your head when studying. There is no information too complicated that you cannot learn and master. Your mindset controls the efficiency of your study sessions. It is imperative that you tell yourself positive things so that studying will not seem impossible. Although it may be a lot, you are more than capable of achieving excellent grades. Believe in yourself!

Alyssa at University of Mississippi:

When it comes to studying, it can be really easy to get intimidated and not know where to start. I totally understand this, so to try and help I’ve compiled a list of five tips that I have used throughout my time in school that have definitely worked for me to make studying a bit less daunting.

Set up a good space – Throughout my time in college, I’ve done a lot of online courses. One of the biggest things that I quickly noticed when I started trying to work at home was that my typical space wasn’t going to work for me. I kept trying to do my work on my laptop with too many distractions around me. Find some way to change up your environment. For me, I have to clear my desk every time I try to do my schoolwork. If you set up the space around you for success, you already have a great start!

Make a list – I have a habit of making a checklist for nearly everything! Before I do anything in the morning, I try to make a list of all of the things I have to get done that day. I also make sure that as I complete these tasks, I cross them off. Visually seeing the list being completed helps me feel more accomplished and motivated to finish the list. This is definitely a strategy that I cling to throughout the semester and especially when it comes time to study for exams.

Have some music, but no lyrics! – This one is definitely up to your own preference. Personally, I have never been able to be productive in complete silence. I always have to have some kind of background noise. The key here is to find some kind of music that you can enjoy while still focusing. Whatever you listen to, make sure that it doesn’t have lyrics as it can take your mind away from the things that you are working on, especially if you’re reading!

Test yourself (Hawkes can help!) – I always like to have a concrete way to know if I am actually studying properly and retaining the material. For me, this is best learned by using different ways to test myself. This includes flashcards, but Hawkes also has a great tool that can help you to test yourself. You can decide what you are struggling the most with and create your own personalized practice test to help you see what you need to work on and how much more you might need to study prior to an exam. It’s always good to know where you are, and I definitely think that testing yourself is a great way to gauge that. 

Find what works for you and stick to it – Throughout life, you’re going to be given a million different ways to study. My ultimate best advice to you would be to take in as many tips as you can, try them out, and stick with what has worked best for you. Don’t give up on a new strategy too soon, but know when to give it up if it’s not working for you. 

I really hope that these tips have been helpful to you and I wish you luck in all of your classes!

Chris from Greenville Technical College:

To say I had terrible study habits when I was in high school would be inaccurate. I didn’t have any study habits, and as you can imagine, my grades weren’t the best as a result. When I made the decision to go back to school, I knew I needed to buckle down and come up with some good study habits that would get me through school. After a few weeks, I settled into a routine which would lead me to a straight A-record for my first semester of school.

The first part of my routine is to have something to eat before beginning on my homework. It might seem like an odd thing to consider as part of studying, but getting hungry while in the middle of working on your homework can be rather distracting. You don’t necessarily need to eat a full course meal before you work, a light snack will also suffice.

When deciding on what homework I want to do for the day, I relate the assignments to the classes I have done that same day. By doing the homework once the content has been covered in class, it became easier for me to retain what I had learned that day. Plus getting it done quickly means that I don’t have to worry about forgetting to do the assignments until the very last minute.

I don’t rely on just the homework to help me with my learning. I also used flashcards to supplement the homework. I would write out questions, definitions, etc. on one side of a small notecard, and on the other side I would put the answer. Once I had done that, I would shuffle my cards around, and then begin trying to answer as many of them as I could. For each one I got correct, I would put it in one stack. The ones I got wrong were placed in another stack. Once I went through the entire deck, I would go back and go through the stack of wrong cards until they all ended up in the correct pile. Then I would shuffle the deck again, and repeat the process all over again until I ended up with no cards in the ‘Wrong’ deck. The repetition involved with this process helped a lot with memorizing what I needed to know.

Finally, Hawkes Learning also features a handy way to prepare for an upcoming test. You can create your own pretest which covers the material you’re expecting to see on your upcoming test. Or if you’re having struggles with certain parts of the lessons, you can also craft a pretest to help you better understand the material in question. Using this system gave me a good way to refresh myself on what I needed to do before I went in to take my math tests.

School can seem like a wild beast when it comes to studying. In addition to the amount of homework that must be done for several different classes, students are also expected to spend even more time studying on their own. Combine that with real life responsibilities, and it can be overwhelming. But it is not an untamable beast. With good study habits, getting through school will be as easy as pie.

Jacob of Goodwin University:

Hello everyone! I believe there are a lot of ways to keep up with your studies and here are some tips that I, myself, use on a day to day basis. When I am feeling stressed, it is always good to take a break! Also, you should utilize that free time you have and think of ideas for what you want in your work when you are not working. Take a day in between long study sessions to go for a walk or a run or do exercise. 

When you are working you should try leaving your environment. Go to a café or a library to get some quiet studying done. Listening to music can be helpful, but make sure it is at a low enough volume that it is not distracting. Utilize your notes, or else you took them for no reason. Make sure to rewrite your notes after class so you can read them more efficiently!

I like to drink tea when I work on long assignments to put my mind at ease. Turning my phone off when I work is another great way to focus. Struggling with procrastination? The best way to beat procrastination is to just do it. If you get stuck on one problem, work on another problem or another project entirely.

Do not rush yourself! Start projects early and get easy ones out of the way so you aren’t overwhelmed! Take breaks! After an hour of work, do a bit of exercise or make a snack. Don’t eat a full meal or you may fall asleep when you come back! Only make your breaks five to fifteen minutes or you may get tired and not want to do the project anymore.

Do not study late at night! If you study too late your vision may start to get blurry or you may doze off. Instead set a good start time and stick to it when the time comes. Make a schedule for your days and you will not find yourself sleeping so much with nothing to do. If you do make a schedule, make sure to follow it!

Highlight important notes! Mark which sections are useful for what questions so you can reference them later! Use different colors for different thoughts! When you go back afterwards you will notice it is much easier to find what you are looking for and will not be as overwhelming.

These are all good ways to keep up your grades and focus on your studies! Having a routine is very good for school, because school in and of itself is a routine! The more you practice these routines, the easier it becomes to do them and you will find yourself doing them more frequently and more naturally. I hope everyone makes use of these study tips and starts getting better grades in school! People like others who are intelligent!

Kaela at Piedmont College:

As a newbie to the college scene, I have learned lots of new things that I think could be very beneficial to new college students like me! My time management has probably improved most over the course of this year and that is directly related to learning how to study! At first, I felt incredibly overwhelmed with sports, work, and classes with homework. A few things I learned to help reduce some of the stress I was feeling were:

  • Keeping up with a Planner
  • School email notifications on my iPhone
  • A mentor

My planner has been a major life saver. I take it with me to all my classes so that as my professors assign dates for tests and assignments, I can write them down in my planner right away. I then use different colored pens (writing with a pencil to make different shapes works too!) to label each assignment with their significance according to how time consuming and how soon the due date is. Software that help keep upcoming assignments and test dates organized are incredibly helpful as well.

For example, Hawkes Learning would email me in advance to the final due date of when I had assignments due. I never missed an assignment because of my planner and the informational emails that Hawkes Learning would send. It is also super helpful to have the notifications from my school email pop up on my phone. This way, I do not always have to have immediate access to my laptop in order to see necessary emails.

Additionally, I highly recommend a mentor. This can vary from a coach, a professor, or a spiritual life leader. I was able seek guidance and advice from them on different scenarios that I encountered. I was very fortunate to have a dedicated coach that strived to help her athletes succeed. I also got involved in campus ministry and the spiritual leaders were consistently there for not only me, but all the students at my college.

Candace at University of North Carolina at Charlotte:

Practice, practice, practice – Especially in math courses!

When I was in high school, and even community college, I was one of the people who did not study very much, but would still get by with As and Bs. I quickly learned that I could not do this in a university though. I did not really know how I studied best because I never had to do it much other than just vocabulary words or something.

The first course that I used Hawkes for was last semester and it was College Algebra. Before each test I would log onto Hawkes and practice all of the problems provided at least twice and the type of problems that I struggled with I would do more. I really do think that Hawkes is what helped me be successful in that course because I was able to practice a large amount of problems over and over. I could also learn how to do problems through Hawkes.

I am currently using Hawkes for my Business Calculus class and it has helped me to succeed in there so far as well. I pull out my whiteboard and practice problems until I know how to do them. I have also found that I enjoy studying more with a whiteboard also, I just find it more fun than practicing on paper.

Find the environment that works best for you. I have found that I cannot work in a completely silent environment. I think the silence is actually a distraction to me, oddly enough. I met my friend in the silent study hall in the library one time and I could not focus. She thought it was funny because she is the complete opposite of me and struggles to focus when there is background noise.

Background noise? For some people, background noise is needed to focus. I would rather sit in the library surrounded by people talking. As long as I do not try to listen to the conversations, I am usually focused. I just don’t like to sit in complete silence anytime.

Music? I think I study most effectively when I am listening to music with lyrics. Honestly if I am in the library alone studying, I put on headphones and listen to music. It seems to be what keeps me the most focused and I have found that I get more work done that way. Everyone is different though, one of my friends and I always joke with each other because she listens to classical music while studying because lyrics distract her, but I get too relaxed when listening to classical music and don’t work as well. Eventually it makes me want to go to sleep.

Sometimes you have to miss out on things with your friends. Your grades with thank you though. In college there is always something that you can be doing with your friends, but grades should come first because that is the main reason you went to college, right? I have had to miss out on things with my friends or showed up late because of homework and studying. It is just important to look at the big picture in the end. Everyone that I know has had to miss something at some point for school.

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