6 Study Hacks for College


Are you a college student overwhelmed by mountains of reading and test after difficult test? Check out this blog post for six study hacks that will help you make the grade.

Hacking College

It's a pretty well-known fact that college is an academic challenge. Each class is full of difficult readings, complex lectures, challenging assignments, and comprehensive exams. And each full-time student takes four, or even five, of these classes at a time.

That's why it's so important for college students to learn how to study efficiently. You'll still get the good grades, but you'll put in less time and fell less exhausted. The following six study hacks should make any college student's life a bit easier.

Study Hack #1: Utilize Sense Memory

According to research, sensations like smell and taste can help to improve your memory. For example, if you wear a specific scent or chew a certain flavor of gum while studying for a class, and then use that same scent or flavor again during the actual test, you might be able to better remember the material you studied. Further, studies have even shown that chewing gum while studying can improve memory by increasing activity in the hippocampus.

Chewing gum can improve memory while studying

Study Hack #2: Make a Cheat Sheet

In the past, some of your high school teachers may have allowed you to bring a cheat sheet to a test. A cheat sheet is a single piece of paper, or sometimes just a notecard, crammed with as many facts, figures, and formulas that will fit. Though this test-taking aid typically isn't something college professors allow during an exam, creating a cheat sheet before a test will help you remember the material by forcing you to review all of the content and whittle it down to the essentials. Even if you can't use it during the exam, just the process of making a cheat sheet will help you succeed on the test.

Study Hack #3: Record Lectures

If you have a hard time remembering material after hearing it just once, consider recording your lectures. Given that you're already walking around with a powerful technological tool in your pocket that can easily record audio, it shouldn't be a problem. Then, you can listen to your lectures again after class to reinforce the material. For example, during those times that you usually listen to a podcast, like at the gym or while on a walk, you can listen to your lectures instead. Consider playing them at double or 1.5 speed if the originals run long.

A college student listens to a recorded lecture

Study Hack #4: Take Practice Tests

Practice tests are a sworn-by trick-of-the-trade for big exams like the SAT and GRE, so it follows that they must also be useful for college exams. The only problem is that most professors don't offer practice exams. However, that doesn't mean that you can't find some on your own. Just Google the name of your class and the word ''test,'' ''exam,'' ''midterm,'' or ''final'' and see if you can find some tests online that can help you prepare for the real thing.

Study Hack #5: Watch Movies

This hack is a great one for history classes. If you need to understand an historical event that you find boring or complicated, see if you can find a movie version. Documentaries are ideal since they require accuracy. The good thing is that almost every major historical event has been covered, often multiple times, by the film and television industries, so finding a relevant production shouldn't be a problem.

Watching movies can help college students study for history classes

Study Hack #6: Use Difficult Fonts

Contrary to the intuitive idea that easy-to-read notes help to promote understanding, research shows that reviewing notes in hard-to-read fonts may improve recall. So the next time you're given a hard copy of the class notes or even a digital textbook for a course, see if you can change the font to something more difficult to read. In fact, researchers have even developed a font called Sans Forgetica specifically for this purpose.

Now go forth and hack, college students!

For an engaging online study resource you can use at your own pace, check out's college courses.

By Daisy Rogozinsky
August 2021
college college success

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