Pursuing an education in criminal justice can be very tough and tricky at times. There are tons of books to read, lots of philosophy and theory to memorize and there are seemingly a billion essays to write every quarter. If you are someone who procrastinates or puts off studying until the last minute, then you know how difficult and frustrating it can really be. A criminal justice degree is not a piece of cake, and does take a lot of hard work and effort, so if you have bad study habits or are just not good at studying (since studying is in fact a skill that can be learned) then you have come to the right place. It takes time and practice to truly become a skilled studier, but there are some little tricks and tips you can do here and there in order to put yourself on the path towards a successful criminal justice education- and perhaps later, a successful criminal justice career.
1. Go over your notes
Yes, this means you should actually take notes. You can record lectures, and go that route, but studies have shown time and time again that students retain information better when they are actually writing it down and listening to what is being said and what is being taught at the same time. This may seem like an obvious study tip, but many students may take notes, but will not keep them, or will at least not organize them- so they just end up losing them before they could even be used. Do not fall into this trap, as notes can be your best friend when it comes to studying. This is because the notes from lectures are obviously focused on what the professor wants you to know (where as the textbook is not customized in that fashion.) Thus, having notes can save you a lot of time from studying things that will not be on the test.
2. Review homework and past exams
This is especially important for final exams or things like that, in which a test is based on the cumulative knowledge you have received over the entire year, semester or quarter. Going over homework and past exams will allow you to see what you did wrong in the past and will give you insight into what areas of your class you should particularly focus on during study sessions.
3. Do not spend time memorizing
This is one of the biggest mistakes that students make time and time again when studying. Many students feel that a test is just a way to see how much a student can remember, but this is not the case. Most professors strive to have their students understand the subject, rather than just memorize what the subject is about. If you can understand something, then you do not need to memorize it, and you will likely do very well on the tests and exams and studying will be a much easier process for you.
4. Get a group
Having study buddies or a study group can go a long way in helping you study and understand the subjects better. This is because each individual person has their own strengths and weaknesses, and when you get a group together, you can use everyone’s individual strengths to improve the overall group and their studying habits. It also keeps you on point and makes you take time out of your life to sit down and study.
5. Go somewhere quiet
No t.v. No music. No computer. Find a place to study that is peaceful and quiet.