Successful Study Habits

Successful Study Habits

How to be successful this academic semester during the pandemic

By Madelyn Kohn


Last semester, 315 people earned a spot on the Dean’s List at Ripon College. These students found creative ways to be successful in school during these unprecedented times. A random sample was taken from the Dean’s List students to discover the similarities to each student’s success through studying.


Cortney Bols, a senior studying educational studies and Exercise Science Physical Education, explains how she is able to find quiet places to work.


“I would go to SAO to study; that way I wasn’t distracted in my room. I would listen to piano covers of songs, especially from the Hamilton musical. That way I wasn’t distracted by the lyrics but I could still listen to some of my favorite songs,” she said. “I would also set a timer and put my phone on ‘do not disturb;’ that way I could study for a certain amount of uninterrupted time and that seemed to really help.”


Bols also believes that the use of consistency is important regarding performance. 


“All my classes last semester were in person, but I found that when the professor gave the option to have an online test, I did better because I could take it in the same environment that I spent studying,” she said. “For example, I would spend many hours in SAO studying, and then I would take the online test from the computers in SAO since that’s where I spent my time studying.”


Dannielle Mekkes, a sophomore, enjoys the hybrid courses being introduced at Ripon College. The importance of the personal connection between student and professor is not lost in these courses, she believes.


“I like the hybrid the best because I can get ahead in my work but I also get the in-person connection. I need this so I get a good understanding of the material,” Mekkes said.


Kara Vande Brink, a sophomore and returning Dean’s List student, stressed the importance of staying organized during such unprecedented times. She also prioritizes her self-care.


“I make a to-do list every day and print out some of my assignments so I’m not looking at a screen all day,” she said. “I take breaks to go outside for fresh air, turn my phone off when I have an important assignment to do, meet with tutors for classes I think I will struggle in, use my planner more often than usual, and meet with friends to work on homework.”


Aubry Herbon, a senior, had similar experiences and made a list of tips for everyone to make studying alone during COVID-19 easier and more fun. She explained


“Some of my important and favorite study habits would be to:

  1. Move any technology or distractions away that were not necessary to my learning.
  2. Taking notes during my class sessions and then re-typing them so I can reference and re-cover the material.
  3. Make physical or digital flashcards to organize important topics or ideas I wanted or needed to remember.
  4. Use a notebook, notecards, or a sketchpad to take sketch notes during or after my lessons. This has been something I have done since high school and it allows me to be creative in the way I write my notes or ideas so I can reference and study later.
  5. Have an organized (digital) library or space of all your class materials. I personally use Google Drive to organize all my semesters, classes, and assignments into folders. I color coordinate all of my materials so I can be more organized and have a consistent space to find my materials to study.”


The new versions of in-person, online, and hybrid classes make learning difficult for some. Studying habits change based on the physical environment of the class. In order to make the most of an individual’s study time, especially while alone due to Covid-19, many students believe that it is important to consider the tips and tricks listed above as well as many more. These students found ways to be extremely productive and successful during the pandemic lifestyle.