Whether you’re earning your degree online after recently graduating from high school or you are returning to school after several years, having the tools and techniques to make the most out of your courses is essential. Here, we’ve compiled some study tips that can help online students find success.
Set Expectations for Friends and Family
Being an online student takes up time that you may have previously been using on socializing. It’s important to inform your close family and friends that you may not have as much free time because you have to maintain a dedicated amount of time to studying each week.
Set Expectations For Yourself
Whether you’re taking a certificate course or earning an MBA, you will have to dedicate time to your studies. Make sure you set aside the time and mental effort to do homework, complete assignments, write discussion board posts and study for tests.
Know Your Resources
Study help could be right around the corner without you knowing it! For example, Florida Tech offers free tutoring through Smartthinking, which is an online tool students can use to get help on a variety of subjects. Florida Tech students also have access to the Evans Library and Microsoft365.
Confirm the Technical Requirements
Before starting class, make sure you know the technical standards required. Knowing what hardware and software minimum is needed as well as the internet speed is essential for being an online student.
Make Flash Cards
While flash cards may seem old-fashioned or childish, they are still a useful tool to memorize and understand definitions and concepts. Whether you’re making physical flashcards or using an app, flashcards can help you remember key terms and concepts.
Read the Material
It can be easy to skim over or ignore the readings listed each week by the instructor. This is a mistake, as these readings can provide valuable information not only for quizzes and papers, but also for obtaining a firm grasp on the course objectives. Read all the material and take notes to better absorb the concepts and complete the assignments.
Switch Between Classes
Spending hours focusing on just one class can be mentally taxing and, eventually, unproductive. If you’re taking more than one course, switching between assignments and readings can help your mind stay focused and fresh.
Procrastination is the enemy of the online student. Florida Tech grad Marla McGuinness advises, “You can’t wait until the last minute to do your homework. You have to get it done and make dedicated time for your homework, and then go out and do whatever it is that you want to do. Everybody who waits until the last minute and just does their homework on Saturday or Sunday is not getting the education that they should. They need to take that extra time, get the homework, find out the research – not just type out words just to get it done – find out, get the education, absorb the information.”
Create a Schedule (and Stick To It)
Carving out time dedicated to studying and preparing for assignments, not just taking a quiz or writing a discussion board post, is essential for fully absorbing the material. If you are rushing to finish your school tasks all the time, you won’t have time to read, listen and take note of the concepts you should be learning. For example, if you have a test due on Sunday, don’t wait until that day to start studying. Portion time over the week to watch a lecture video here, read a chapter there, etc. And, provide yourself with plenty of time to compile your notes and review everything before the test.
Find a Study Space
Having a designated study space not only helps you stay away from distractions – it also trains your mind to recognize that, upon entering that space, it’s time to be productive. For tips on how to create a study area that works for you, click here.
Studying for hours straight can lead to little more than bleary eyes and a confused head. Taking breaks is important for staying productive and maintaining your sanity. Get up and take a walk, or spend some family time. You’ll return to your studies reinvigorated.
Join a Study Group
Starting a study group with your classmates can be a great way to efficiently study for your course. Having classmates to rely on for feedback on assignments goes a long way in a digital classroom. And, having a study group means you have someone else to reach out to besides the teacher for help on an assignment.
Eat (and Drink) Healthy
This may seem insignificant, but choosing nutritious sources of energy can make a difference in your study productivity. Instead of snacking on chips while slurping sugary soda, hydrate with water and eat nuts, fruit or other healthy options. For ideas, check out our study snacks series here.