Hey new college freshmen, stop me if you’ve heard this one before: “College classes are much harder than high school classes.”

It’s a classic, right? You’ve probably heard it from your high school teachers, your parents, and many other adults in your life. So now that you’re in your first college classes, you’re probably thinking one of two things:

  1. I doubt I’ll have to try too hard. It can’t be THAT bad.
  2. If college is as hard as they say, I’M DOOMED.

The truth is, college classes are harder than high school classes in a lot of ways, but they shouldn’t be impossible. However, you WILL need to develop some good study skills if you haven’t already (sorry to all the kids who didn’t have to try for good grades until now! I was disappointed, too, when I found out). Here are some basic study tips to get you started.Students studying in the library

  • Study gradually: The best way to retain information is to do low level studying throughout the semester instead of waiting until the night before the test to try and cram everything. You’ll be in class for less time than you were in high school, so find some gaps where you can pull out the books. Even if you only study for 10 minutes daily for each class, that will help you not have to do so much work later.
  • Find out what works for you: Everyone has a different style of studying that works for them. Finding your ideal methods of studying may take some trial and error, so try a few different things during a lower pressure point of the year instead of right before a big exam. Some popular methods are study guides, flashcards, highlighting important information, taking detailed notes (which you should be doing anyway), and studying in groups. Keep in mind that you don’t have to stick to one study tactic. Be flexible based on the subject matter. 
  • Avoid distractions: One of the keys to successful studying is to figure out your studying roadblocks and avoid them. If you can’t focus while your roommate is blasting music, try studying at the library. If you keep abandoning your homework to mess around on the internet, consider turning your phone off while studying, or even try a temporary website blocker. 
  • Ask for help: When it comes to studying, you don’t have to suffer alone. Ask some of your classmates if they want to start a study group, or go to your professors’ office hours if you have questions.

Although college classes are usually more difficult than high school classes, you can still do well in school if you plan in advance and know your strengths. Happy studying!