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7 Common Studying Mistakes to Avoid for College Students

common studying mistakes

Did you know that 60% of the students who enroll as full-time undergraduates at 4-year universities end up taking an additional two years to graduate? This means that only 40% of incoming freshmen end up graduating on time. College is a completely different jungle and as much as you prepare in high school, it can be difficult to get that degree with these common studying mistakes.

Students struggle so much adjusting to studying and keeping up with their classes. These issues are very easy to correct, however. There are many common studying mistakes that new college students make. Keep reading to hear what they are so you can avoid making them.

1. Studying for Lengthy Periods of Time

When you’re new to college you might think that constant studying will get you that perfect GPA you want to maintain. Just like everything else in life, studying should be approached with some balance. 

While it’s true that the more you study the better grades you’ll get, studying for long periods of time can also negatively affect your grades. If you spend an entire day trying to relearn a subject, you might fatigue your brain to the point that it’ll become hard to focus or remember any of the information your trying to cram into your brain. 

If you spend an entire night before an exam studying, this can affect you negatively. Not getting enough sleep can affect your ability to remember difficult concepts. 

Studying without taking any breaks will also do you no good. Small breaks will give your mind the rest it needs to get back into power mode for your study session. Try to avoid these mistakes as you embark on your college journey. 

2. Not Reaching out to Professors

College can be an intimidating place as a freshman. You’re trying to keep up with everything that newfound independence brings. It’s important to know, however, that independence doesn’t mean that you can’t reach out when you need some help.

The structure of classes can be hard to adjust to and it might sound scary to reach out but your professors are there to help you. If you’re struggling with a specific topic shoot your professor an email or schedule a meeting during their office hours, these are created specifically to help students. 

Your professors want you to get the most out of the work you do together during the semester and even a short meeting with them can help clarify something you didn’t understand in class.

3. Never Learning to Manage Your Time

Creating a schedule for studying is crucial to succeeding in college. Managing your time is something your parents might have helped you with in high school but now it’s all up to you. 

Don’t make the mistake of mismanaging your time and not taking the time to study for an important exam. If you know your midterm is coming up in two weeks, start studying a little bit each day. If you wait until the last two nights to prep, you might not get the grade you wanted.

4. Not Changing up Your Environment 

Your space for studying should be one that’s comfortable and free of distractions. Somewhere you can concentrate on the task at hand and be your most productive. 

Although not changing your study place from time to time is a big mistake. Staying in one place can make you stagnant and can even hinder your ability to learn and memorize the information necessary for your success. 

So try to have a few different places that you can use as a study area. Some examples include your room, the library, or a home office.

5. Focusing on the Least Important Concepts 

It’s important to know the types of exams your professors are going to give. If your professors tell you that your final exams will be cumulative then it’s important to study the material you learn throughout the entire semester. If your exams are not cumulative then don’t worry about what you learned in the first half of the semester, these concepts are not important in regard to your exam. 

Most final exams also tend to focus on the most recent information you’ve learned, as it’s typically the most difficult. Don’t give too much study time to easier concepts and information you know well, it’s more important to focus your study time on what you haven’t mastered yet.

6. Using the Same Study Methods

While you might be able to get through some of your classes with studying through memorization, you can’t use the same study method for every course. This method won’t help you in classes that require more analytical studying. 

Reading over notes is how most students prepare for exams but this study method is not usually the most effective. Try a new approach for your next exam, try testing yourself on the material to see if you’ve actually retained the information. This method will help you sort out where you need to focus when studying. 

Improving your note-taking capacities is another way to change up your study methods. Try taking Cornell notes in class to become a more active learner and study in a way that will help you better understand the information. 

7. Studying Without Peers 

While studying with friends might seem like it could lead to a lot of distractions it can actually help you understand concepts your struggling with. A good study group will help each other go over the concepts everyone needs help with. Working through your notes as a group is a good way to understand a concept better. 

Common Studying Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

There are many common studying mistakes college students make. The list above includes some of the ones you should definitely avoid. 

Check out our page to see how you can rent the textbooks you need to study like a pro and make your college career a successful one!

About the Author

Christopher Manns

I was born in the UK, grew up in Canada and have lived in the USA since the 90s. I love my family, water sports, ice hockey, skiing and soccer. When I'm not helping people save money on textbooks, I'm travelling with my wonderful family and playing sports.