5 Ways to Study for College When You’re Busy

Being a college student is challenging. There’s a lot of pressure to show up to every class because you never know when your professor will throw out a pop quiz or provide critical information. On top of this, you have to study hard to pass your classes and some classes are more difficult than others.

Studying is especially challenging when you’re busy and have other things going on in your life. However, it’s not impossible to study effectively – even when you’re short on time.

 Take your certification courses online

 No matter where you are in your college journey, if you’re studying for career-related certifications you’ll have more time for studying when taking those courses and exams online. 

 For instance, say you’re studying to become a website developer and in your free time you’re getting CSS and JavaScript certifications. Don’t waste your time with in-person exams – get it all done online.

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 Online learning, certifications, and continued education are all things you’ll be able to take advantage of throughout your entire career. For example, many nursing professionals earn their CEUs online. 

 Respiratory therapists, for example, earn their CEUs entirely online. Being able to get certified and earn CEUs online will come in handy if you end up staying just as busy once you graduate.

 Relax and don’t be so rigid

 If you’re stressed out from studying because you don’t have much time, the more rigid you become, the more difficult it will be to study. There is a time and a place for having a rigid schedule, but if that doesn’t work for you, there’s no sense in trying to force it. You’ll only stress yourself out even more.

 If you’ve been taught that you need to create an hourly schedule to micromanage your day, where you’re studying from, say, 1pm-4pm – and you’re not getting results – try something different. Not everyone can function under the pressure to study at specific times.

 Instead of being so rigid, try giving yourself the freedom to study when you feel most inclined. For instance, spend a day and notice when you feel the most energized and ready to study. That might be the ideal time for you. 

Or, you might be better off studying at different times each day.

 Change your major if you dread the material

 This tip won’t apply to everyone, but it’s worth considering if it rings true for you. If you don’t enjoy studying the material related to your major, that could be a big red flag for the rest of your career. While you certainly won’t enjoy every aspect of your career, if you don’t genuinely love the subject matter and resist studying, you probably won’t enjoy your career, either.

 Consider switching your major to something that you will enjoy studying. You’ll need to study your subject well beyond college throughout your entire career, so it’s important to choose something you’ll find enjoyable long-term.

 Study smarter, not harder

 The most important tip for studying is to be effective instead of trying to meet arbitrary goals for how many hours you’ll study each day or week. It won’t matter if you study 20 hours a week unless you’re learning and retaining the information.

 Try different study methods to see which one works best for you. Spaced repetition is a good way to learn and has a high efficacy rate. You can also adapt your study methods to use a combination of different techniques. 

For instance, you might want to create your own audio files where you ask questions and pause in silence so that you can play the recordings later and answer the questions.

 The more effectively you study, the more study time you’ll get in because you’ll accomplish more in a shorter period of time.

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 Pause some less important activities

 Just for a while, pause some of your less important activities to create more time to study. If you’re really struggling to find time for your studies, this may be the only way to get enough time.

 Don’t give up important activities like your workout routine, but skip going out to the club, to restaurants, and just “hanging out” with your friends for no specific reason. Not forever – just for now, until you get through your exams.

 You can study when you’re busy

Busy people can study, it just takes some workarounds. With the right arrangements, you can study no matter how busy your life gets.