To succeed and get good grades in college, you're going to have to study. Good study habits can be the difference between graduating with honors and struggling to graduate at all. Your best chance of successful studying will come if you participate in active study, rather than passive study. This means making a forward, positive effort to absorb the information, rather than sitting back, letting it wash over you, and hoping something sticks. Here is a plan for how you can participate in active study.
Engage the Material
When you study, don't just read the required chapters, close the book, and move on to the next thing. Ask yourself questions. When you finish a chapter, ask yourself to summarize what you just read. If there is something you don't understand, don't just give up. Read it again and try to work out what you are missing. Often confusion results simply from careless reading, and a paragraph you may have glossed over may reveal all. If you still don't understand something, get help. Figure out the right questions to ask your professor to illuminate the material for you.
Take Good Notes
When you take notes, you make the learning process interactive. As you commit the information to paper, you are giving yourself an additional chance to absorb the material. When you read these notes later, you are giving yourself yet another opportunity to integrate what you have learned.
Participate in Class
Yet another way to make the learning process interactive and to be an active participant. When you turn the studied material into a discussion with your professor, you bring it to life, and may be inspired to look at it in ways you wouldn't come up with from simply reading it out of a book. If you could learn most efficiently simply from the text, you wouldn't need to attend class at all. The classroom environment is a valuable resource. Use it to your advantage.
Go To Office Hours
Just as your classroom is a resource, so is your professor. Visit the professor during office hours to ask those questions that you didn't have time to ask in class, or to ask questions that you think may be specific to your understanding of the material and not of as much interest to fellow students. You can learn a great deal about the subject matter when working one on one, and your professor will appreciate your taking such an interest.
Passive studiers are taught, active studiers learn. When you determine to participate in active study, you are giving yourself a huge advantage over fellow students. You will learn more, learn it more quickly, and enjoy the material much more when studying actively. Give it a shot.