By: Jannine Amore
No matter what course a college student is taking, studying is always the key to success. However, for every student and every course, there are different methods that make studying easier and more effective.
There are some courses and subjects in which the same study method is very effective, math and science being an example.
Sarah Guthrie, a student at Mesa Community College who is taking a math course, said, “The only way I can be successful in my math class and the only way I can think to study is to just keep up on the homework.”
“Even though homework just seems tedious sometimes, I really think the purpose of it is ultimately for it to be a study aid,” she said. “Practicing the lessons helps more than anything else I could think of.”
When it comes to homework being an effective study technique for some students, math is not the only subject for which it works.
David Nachman, a chemistry professor at Mesa Community College also believes that keeping up on assignments and always practicing new material is the best way to remain successful in science courses.
“One of my biggest academic expectations for students is to come to class having prepared the reading, homework problems, and other work assigned each day,” he said. “Otherwise, students will be lost, and instead of focusing on the new things being taught in class, they will more than likely try to catch up on what they did not do.”
Nachman also believes there is a really good technique for any course when it comes to studying for exams.
“Although some professors do not allow it, I highly encourage students to study and work on assignments together. Working together can help all students and benefit the group goal. Now, of course, individual assignments such as exams must reflect individual effort, inappropriate assistance from classmates is never allowed,” Nachman said.
“However, I do not see any reason why students shouldn’t all put their heads together before exams, ask each other questions, and learn from one another.”
Wacey Taylor is a nursing student at Brookline College who also benefits from all the techniques Nachman and Guthrie mentioned.
“Although I didn’t realize it at first, when I was doing homework assignments, I was really just studying for upcoming exams,” he said. “Also, I just recently got involved with three or four other students in my class who meet and study the day before an exam. When we all practice together, I understand things so much better and score higher on exams.”
Studying for courses like English and writing courses, on the other hand, is a little different according to Chad Day, a Mesa Community College English professor.
“I wouldn’t really say there is a way to ‘study’ in courses like these,” he said, “but there are certainly ways I feel one can be successful.”
“Not following directions is one of the most common and frustrating problems I see among first-year students. I don’t know why this is exactly, but I do know that it stems somehow from the abysmal K-12 system they recently exited.”
Day also explained that to him, writing usually comes down to a simple formula, and by following the formula provided and not making up too many of their own rules, a student will – more than likely – be successful in that type of course.
“Writing will not always be easy, but practicing and being patient with it helps. I also encourage students to be honest with me, themselves, and their writing when they are struggling or becoming frustrated, and to not procrastinate,” Day said.
Procrastination is a very common and bad habit for many college students.
Jeremy Leavy, a Mesa Community College student, said, “I have been procrastinating since high school, even when it comes to studying. I have always been one to ‘cram’ before an exam, thinking that it would be better and I would remember everything better the night before.”
“I can assure anyone that it does not work though,” he said. “Cramming is never smart. It makes everything seem more stressful and frustrating. In general, I would say practicing throughout the semester by doing homework and asking the right questions is definitely the best way to remain successful in almost any class.”