All my advice will probably seem very obvious, but there are some easily overlooked basics when it comes to studying. First: get organized. I was fairly disorganized my freshman year. I never used a planner or an assignment notebook back in high school. My homework would be written down on random pages of spirals and all my papers were hanging out somewhere in a backpack or desk drawer.

Since I started using a calendar/planner after freshman year, I’ve been much more organized in general. It seems obvious enough, but I know some who still don’t use one, even as college gets more hectic towards graduation. I can’t imagine balancing readings, papers, exams, work, and events without seeing it written down in front of me. Keep a nice filing system and a folder for each class in your room. You’ll be much less stressed when it’s time to sit down and write a paper. It helps with procrastination, too.

Another basic tip: it’s best to get work done in complete solitude. Maybe some quiet music, but definitely no TV. Take a couple breaks while writing a big exam. Reward yourself after getting a significant portion done, or after tackling some monumental argument in the paper. It helps to step back from your work a little bit and collect the thoughts so you can return to it a little more clear-headed.


For more advice from Edgewood College students, click here.