Many of us simply work off the assumption that we can cram and quickly get through everything we need the night before the test. In elementary and high school, we never develop any real study strategies and we simply straggle through our classes doing the best we can without any real plan for how to improve.
Now, part of this goes back to not getting something essential that we need when we are younger, but now that you're in college or graduate school, it is essential that you improve your study strategies. Here are a few ways that you can easily improve over the course of a month
Take a Series of Learning Tests
The key to improving your study strategies is to learn how you learn. Then, you can base your studying on facts and study in ways that you know will help you. You can find tests on your learning style online for free – most of these actually give fairly good results. Or, you can visit your career center, and they should be able to give you several official learning assessments and score them for you. They'll probably even sit down with you and explain what everything means and give you a few ideas of ways to study.
Meet with the Career Counselors
If you decided to take the learning tests on your own, that's wonderful, but now you still need to meet with the career counselors. At your school, there may be a different department helping students improve their study skills, but this is the most common. Meet with them and ask for information on a variety of strategies based on your needs. Additionally, you can do some Google searches and find all sorts of information on different study strategies with most of them coming from university web sites.
Implement at Least One Study Strategy
During week 3, you want to implement at least one study strategy. Generally, you only want to implement one at a time as you start so that you can see which really work for you and which don't. That being said, you may have classes that will inherently require you to implement different types of study strategies, and if that's the case, go ahead and begin implementing more than one.
Assess Your Progress
You can make as many changes in your life as you want, but until you assess your progress, you're really no closer to successfully improving your study strategies. Look at the strategy or strategies you implemented and determine how well they're working for you. I'm not saying you should give up on a strategy just because the first week wasn't smooth, but if it's clearly not going to work for you, it's time to try something else.
In the Future
Keep following the steps for weeks 3 and 4 until you have successfully pinpointed which study strategies work best for you. Now, you have improved your study skills and made a significant change that will make your life better. Just remember to keep it up so that your grades will improve and you will succeed in college.