College student on his laptop


The long awaited day finally arrives and you are a college student officially. Classes begin and you are excited about your course of study. You sit in class taking in everything that the professor is saying and you are fascinated about all the new things that you get to learn.

But when it is time for a quiz or exam, you find that despite how excited you were to learn, you are not able to pull in good grades. If the above story sounds like yours, know that you are not alone in it.

There are several students who are also facing the same issue. No need to feel bad about it, after all, studying in college is more difficult than that of high school!

To get good college grades, you should build new skills that you might not have before. And the best thing is that it is not too late to start learning these skills.

Here are five study skills that sets you on the path to being successful in college.

Skill 1: The art of note-taking as a college student

Everyone falls victim of this every now and then. The professor says something very important in class and we are so sure that we would not forget. But once the bell rings and we leave the class, our mind gets attacked by other stuff.

Even if you take notes in class, are you doing it effectively? There are several strategies that are used in note-taking, and the goal is to find the perfect fit.

Some of the strategies that you can try out include:

  • Paying attention to words and headings that are boldfaced.
  • Rewriting major points into simple notes that can be understood easily.
  • Paying attention to captions.

You can also use different items for taking notes such as highlighters, index cards, sticky notes, charts, diagrams and charts.

Skill 2: The use of mind maps

Mind maps help you to properly summarize, visualize and organize your work in a way that you would easily understand. With mind maps, you have a framework to follow. It helps you to arrange all the information you need onto a single page.

You are able to study and revise more topics when you use mind maps. They help to make studying easier and effective because they contain the key points in each topic.

For many people, visual elements help them to better retain the things that they have read. If you are someone like this, using mind maps can help you to have better grades. You can create your own mind maps by hands or by using special computer programs. Mind maps can be used for taking notes in the class, picking out main points, revision and brainstorming.

Skill 3: Reading aloud

The way some people memorize by visual elements, others remember best by sounds. If you are like this, then reading your course materials aloud could help you. While you might not be allowed to read aloud in the library, you can read to yourself aloud at home.

You might have to hear some things more than once for you to be able to memorize them. For this purpose, you can record yourself reading it aloud. Then you can take the recording around and listen to them as many times as you like.

Skill 4: Teaching another college student

One way to understand a topic better is to teach it to others. You can get a friend or study partner to read together. After studying the topic, both of you should offer to try and teach the other person. That way, you get to better understand than you would if you have just read it.

While trying to teach someone something, you would have to understand it deeply. You would also to have to go deeper and answer some questions that you did not know were in the material.

Skill 5: Learn time management skills

As a student, it might feel as if there is not enough time to do everything that you want to. From attending classes, going to work, running errands, traffic jams, and reaching out to family, there may be day where you feel too exhausted to eat and even sleep. It reaches a point when everything boils over and you are close to breaking down.

All these can make you less productive and cause you to have bad grades. To manage your time effectively, you have to plan weeks, months and even semesters ahead. Proper organization helps you to effectively make use of your study time. When you plan ahead, you save time and energy.

You also have to prioritize your tasks. Arrange them in order of importance and finish them in that order. You can maximize your time by trying the following:

  • Not postponing small tasks, like assignments.
  • Breaking down big tasks into smaller ones.
  • Making sure that your reading environment is not scattered.

Choose the study skills that works for you

You can use some or even all of the study skills to improve your grades. Learning new skills is never easy so you can start by picking one of them. Practice with that for a month and see how it works. If you don’t see any improvements, then you can go for another one. But if you see changes, then you can try adding other skills until you get something that gives you the best results.

If you are serious about becoming the best student, then you have to do what others aren’t. One of which includes studying beforehand. Because of the freedom in college, it is not unusual to find students procrastinating throughout the semester. By the time the semester ends, they then try to cram everything for exams. This method never works well.

It is better when you study in bits every week. If you try the above skills and study your materials as you are taught, you will find out that you would have memorized everything before the exam. That way, your final study session becomes a revision instead of crash reading.

Getting good grades in college can seem like mission impossible, but follow these tips and you would be fine.