study tips for college from Dormify
Dormify Team

How to Study for Exams in College, from Real Students

The stress of studying for midterms or final exams can get overwhelming, especially as a freshman, when you're still working through your class/study/life rhythm and adapting to the new freedoms and pressures of campus life. But if there's one thing that can actually help you study successfully, it's tried-and-true advice from students who've been there, done that—and that's where our community of Dormifam brand ambassadors comes in!

We polled them to share their best studying tips, suggestions for where to hit the books, and fave ways to celebrate once they've aced their exams. Word to the wise: They *all* agreed that cramming is not the way to go, and procrastination isn't your friend when it comes to studying for exams. Keep reading for more road-tested knowledge!

What’s your #1 studying tip?

"Writing down things on paper, as opposed to electronically, helps you remember more. And don’t use distractions like movies or music with words because you won’t focus as well." —Ronni G.

"Study in a space separate from your room that allows you to focus." —Sage

"Plan out days in advance what you're going to study." —Katie

"Write out detailed notes you can look back through and make flash cards." —Elizabeth

"Take snack breaks." —Catie

"Review your notes every day." —Brianna

"Utilize a calendar or planner and plan out your study days and times." —Emma

"Turn off your phone." —T’Kyzha

"Study small portions at a time." —Acasia

"Start earlier than later. Don’t procrastinate!" —Zoe

"Use OneNote to take notes in class." —Bailee

"I like to use an app called Focus Keeper that keeps you on track and provides for breaks." —Amber

What study habits work for you?

"Repetition, flash cards, and setting time aside to study." —Ronni G.

"Creating my own study guides. Start studying a week before exams. Group study sessions." —Sage

"Speaking out loud, teaching, and writing it down." —Karolyne

"Videos are so helpful!" —Katie

"Rewriting, and explaining to a friend." —Sara C.

"Record lectures so you can look back on them to ensure that you have accurate notes." —Elizabeth

"Studying in time increments and having a quiet, peaceful, and tidy space."—Victoria V.

"Creating an outline on your laptop then actually writing down important things." —Rebekah

"Highlighting while I read, and doing homework early." —Gianna H.

"Creating Quizlets with the information and then testing myself." —Valentina R.

"Turning your phone off so you don’t get distracted." —Allie T.

"No distractions. Organized work space. Review notes every day. Use flash cards to understand, not memorize. Quiz myself." —Dariana G.

"Keeping an organized planner!" —Aja D.

"Reviewing the class work and reading materials in advance." —Bailee S.

What study habits don’t work for you?

"Studying with or around others." —Matti

"Cramming." —Katie

"Flash cards." —Tyresa

"Sitting in a space for too long!" —Victoria V.

"Studying late at night, allowing distractions." —Emma L.

"Waiting until nighttime to do my work!" —Gianna H.

"Waiting for the last minute, just reading over the notes without any active recalling." —Dariana G.

"Reading out of a textbook and taking notes on it." —Zoe S.

What about procrastination?

Sixty-two percent of our ambassadors say they tend to procrastinate when it comes to studying (but they're working on it!), compared to 25 percent who say they don't put it off. Thirteen percent say whether they procrastinate depends on the situation.

Studying in bed: yes or no?

"Yes, but it is most effective if I leave my house to study." —Elizabeth

"No, it makes me sleepy." —T’Kyzha

"I do sometimes, but I don’t do my best work." —Katie

"NOOOO!!!!!!!!!" —Olivia R.

"Yes!! My favorite place to study." —Bailee S.

Do you have a favorite study location (outside of your dorm)? 

"I like to go to coffee shops or just sit outside in nature when I study so I don’t have as many distractions." —Elizabeth

"No, my bed and room is the best place for me to study." —Matti

"Anywhere that is open with big windows and a lot of light ... or the library." —Emma L.

"The library only if I’m with a group. Otherwise, no, because it’s distracting." —Zoe S.

"Love the study rooms in the library." —Allie T.

"Any lounge where people are visually productive." —Olivia R.

How do you celebrate post-exam? 

"I tend to go out and buy myself a coffee and read a book for myself. Also journaling about the difference in stress lol you feel pre- and post-exam." —Elizabeth

"Reward myself with Starbucks." —Tyresa M.

"Frozen yogurt with friends!" —Gianna H.

"Hot girl walk + watching the sunset." —Dariana G.

"With a well-deserved coffee and social media break." —Kendall K.

"Ice cream or a little shopping spree!" —Zoe S.

"Treating myself to a little spa day." —Aja D.

Got study tips to share? Send us a DM and we'll add to this post!