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14 Ways to Study Smarter

Tips to help you be successful in online classes
  • Online courses are time consuming and you need to keep up with the reading and discussion boards. You should keep a calendar of the dates assignments are due so you can plan your study time to have assignments completed on time.

    Study the syllabus to understand the instructor’s testing format, grading system and expectations. If you do not understand an assignment or have technical problems contact your instructor right away.

    If you don’t set aside a specific study time chances are you will fall behind quickly. Select and use the same area if possible, away from distractions. 

    When you make up your study schedule take into account your work and home schedules and plan for study times you will be able to complete. Remember the average time per week to spend on an online course is 10-12 hours. If you run into conflicts with your study schedule, it is better to spend half an hour on your course than to plan for an hour or two and not work on it all.

    Your brain takes in information faster and retains it better if you don’t try to overload it. 

    It sounds like a small detail, but it’s amazing how quickly those 10 minute delays add up. Train yourself to use every minute of your study schedule. 

    The majority of people work most efficiently during daylight hours. In most cases, one hour during the day is worth 1 ½ hours at night. Decide what your best time is and try to schedule your study time accordingly. You accomplish more when you are alert. If you find yourself nodding off, give in to it. It's better to pick up at another time rather than try to get through everything when you can’t think straight. Tackle the toughest areas first, while you are most alert.

    You'll accomplish more, faster if you set a specific goal for each study session. Don't worry if you don’t reach your set goal within your allotted study time. Either reschedule the task into your next study period or go back to it later in the day, if you can. 

    A little work on an assignment each day will allow you time to give attention to its quality. Your workload will be spread out, so you will avoid doing it at the last minute.

    Notes, assignments and discussion board discussion on a regular basis. Reviewing your work on a regular basis keeps you up to date and helps shorten the study time required for quizzes and exams.

    The general rule of thumb is a 10 minute break for every 50 minutes you work. Don't study through your breaks. They rejuvenate you for your next hour of studying.

    Don't get too bogged down on one assignment. Remember the tip of study short and often. Alternate from reading the text to working on an assignment to working on a paper. This will keep you from having trouble processing information from one particular assignment. If your course requires problem solving, spend a little time each day working on the problems assigned in the course.

    When you complete one of the goals you set for yourself, give yourself a reward. The reward system gives you an incentive to reach your goals, and a pat on the back for achieving them. 

    Letting work pile up can leave you with an overwhelming task. It's easy to feel that you’ll never get on top of it again. If you find yourself falling behind, review your study skills and your time management skills. If something unexpected happens in your life to affect your work on the course, contact the instructor and discuss it with him or her.