Advice on How to Study in College

Our panel of experts reveal their secrets for hitting the books without letting them ruin your life.

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And don't think you're the only one who needs help. "In freshman year, I was intimidated to speak up about needing a tutor," says Jackie Bousek. "I was under the impression everyone was smarter than me." Lots of freshmen feel that way, as Jackie knows now that she's been a mentor herself.

Rule #14: Don't overdo it.

It's time to present a public service message from the National Council on the Dangers of Overstudying: Chillax! A self-admitted poster girl for overstudying is Sharon Anderson. She worked "a ton of time." A classics and English major, she endlessly translated writings from the Greek. After all-night study sessions for an exam, she'd get "amped up" on caffeine and take the test. Not a good plan. "If I'd slept," she says, "I might have been able to function better."

In high school, she was an athlete and a student government activist. In college, she had no time for extracurriculars. She wishes she'd taken a less demanding mix of classes. And she wishes she'd gone to her teachers and said, "I'm so swamped—I need to figure out a way to do what I need to do."

Sharon's advice: "Challenge yourself, but have fun."

Oh, yes. And don't forget to study!


Make a study pact with a pal and alternate drudgery with sitcommery: Put in an hour, take a break and watch an episode of How I Met Your Mother on DVD, then get back to the grind.