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Study Skills

Enhancing your study skills will result in a successful academic career. Whether you are a high school freshman or a college senior, good study habits will not only make your life easier, but will prepare you to excel in future endeavors.

The following is a list of the most effective study skills.

Know Your Enemy

Your approach to each essay, test or other assignment depends on two things: who is giving the assignment and what is the purpose. For example, writing an English paper is different than submitting a lab report. Be aware that specific professors within the same department could have different requirements that you need to fulfill. When in doubt, always ask your professor for clarification or further instruction.

Standardized tests also come with different expectations. Tests like the ACT, SAT, GRE, and LSAT should not be approached blindly, regardless of how many standardized tests you have taken in the past. Knowing what test questions will look like and how the test is evaluated will help you get a better score.

Know Yourself

Your study habits will be influenced by your past experiences and your natural inclinations. Perhaps you’re extremely laid back and easygoing, or perhaps you know yourself to be a chronic procrastinator. Regardless of your habits, be honest about your weaknesses and strengths and develop a plan to work with them.

Get Organized

Make a conscious effort to keep a planner/calendar for time management. Keep track of your assignments, meetings, and deadlines. Check your planner/calendar regularly to keep organized and complete tasks on time. This will drastically reduce stress levels so you can enjoy campus life to the fullest.


Sometimes you won’t be able to give every task the attention it deserves. This is when you will have to decide which assignments need to be completed immediately, and which assignments you can put aside for a few days. There are any number of factors that can go into making this decision, depending on the importance of each course and your personal academic goals.

Rating your academic goals is crucial to successful prioritizing. For example, if you’re a high school senior applying to competitive schools that heavily weigh standardized test scores, gear your time towards test preparation, and clear your calendar for your SAT or ACT test day. Make sure large assignments or outside activities do not prevent you from getting a good nights’ sleep before the test.


Do not overlook financial aid. Before taking out thousands in loans, submit a FAFSA (applications may be found at FAFSA.ed.gov), complete a free scholarship search, and visit a school financial aid office to find out about financial assistance.

Last Edited: November 2015

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