How do you study? This might seem like a ridiculous question, but I have found that so many of the first year students think that the way that they studied in high school will work perfectly in university. For some students this will work well; however, for so many this is not the case. Some students are used to regurgitating information. I work in a writing intensive department and regurgitation will not get the student far in our first year courses—let alone the upper division courses.
It is important to reflect on your study habits. Are you focusing on one course at a time? Do you have few distractions, as you read dense material? Do you discuss the material with classmates? Do you participate in tutorial discussions?
One of the things that I like to share with my students: when I need to grade, I can do this virtually in any place or at any time. However, when I want to do my writing, I need as little distractions as possible. I can engage in research amidst my children fighting, but cannot think about verb tense and proofreading my writing with any distractions—short of some music.
So, I ask you to think about how you are studying and to think about how effective your current strategies are. Do they work?