Grades do matter. Good grades and useful connections WILL open doors. That said I have experimented with my study methods quite a bit in college. I have been a grind, I have been a slacker, I have been efficient, I have learned out loud,... But after much experimentation and research I have found the method that works best for me. It may not work for you as well, It may work for you as well. But it probably is better than the method you are using now.
I have read multiple books about how the brain works, how we remember things, basically how we learn things. The best books would be Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning by Peter Brown and How We Learn: The Surprising Truth About When, Where, and Why It Happens by Benedict Carey. These books informed me of the studies that have been done and their consequences, but in a more approachable manner. Ultimately they aren't all that innovative. And yet how many students cram instead of using more effective methods? A shitload.
This is now my study method:
During class I take notes like everybody else. But my textbook will be open. If I think something is important, I will put a '!' next to the paragraph. The arguments for this will be marked with '->'
After class is done I review my notes and read the textbook. I will mark the most important points, which should be easy since these are already marked. I also make questions about the class. ( e.g. In a course about general relativity, 'What are gravitational waves' qould be a question). Your questions should cover the wole material.
The day after class I will study the material for the first time. I will study it a second time after 3 days, then 7, 21,30,60... This should not take long. Just review the key concepts and make sure you know the details. I will study using my Questions, Thus I will examine myself. I will cite the answers outloud or write them down if it is a math or science course. This works because distributed practice and self-testing are the best methods we have (at the moment)
For math and science I will try to do all the possible problem sets available after I already studied the material, but preferably within the first week of finishing the chapter. This way, if I don't understand one particular problem I can ask the professor for help. Extra tip by u/Rommel0502 : try to do the hardest problem in a problem set first. If you can solve it, you already know the material very well. I, however, would also try the second hardest problem set to be sure.
When finals come all you have to do is review what you have already learned. This time also make practice exams from your university or others ones. You could ask your professor for practice exams
Study only for 30 minutes, then take a 5 minute break. This is also called the pomodoro technique.
Not all that innovative, right. And yet it so much more efficient than cramming. It seems like a shitload of work. That is why you need to manage your time. College is a great experience. Try to get the best out of both worlds, grades and sick parties and sluts. How To Become a Straight-A Student: The Unconventional Strategies Real College Students Use to Score High While Studying Less is the book that started my journey down the rabbit hole. This book basically changed my whole method. I do not agree with all of it, but is a nice book to begin your journey with.
- In the morning make your plan for the day. Classes, parties, dinner with friends... Then write down what you want to study today. Take this with you. On the other side of the little piece of paper, write down the assignments you received today. You will write them down on your calendar tomorrow morning. If you plan your day, it will all seem much simpler.
- He also likes a progress journal. If you did not do something, write down the reason why. It will probably sound ridiculous. ( off topic: you should also have a progress journal for lifting!).
- At the end of the week, make a brief summary of what you want to achieve next week.
As we all know collegelandTM is paradise for Chad Thundercock. So you must lift. At least 3 times a week. Doing sport is also good for your mind, as is meditation. No excuse to not do them. You could also learn to cook (healthy preferably) so you look shredded. Then check your self in the mirror, be amazed at how awesome your sixpack looks and go be awesome at a party. Also bang some sluts if possible. With a protection of course, you don't want to win the STD Lottery, right.
Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning by Peter C. Brown
How We Learn: The Surprising Truth About When, Where, and Why It Happens by Benedict carey
How To Become a Straight-A Student: The Unconventional Strategies Real College Students Use to Score High While Studying Less by Cal Neport ( also his blog, Studyhacks)
A Mind For Numbers: How to Excel at Math and Science (Even If You Flunked Algebra) by Barbara Oakley. Basically this advice specifically for STEM students.
Scientific American Mind Article. If need to read one thing, it is this. Only 8 pages.
TLDR: Don't cram, use more efficient methods. Also remember to lift, go out an bang chicks. But most of all, have a good time! We are all gonna make it brah!
Extra: These methods can also be used later in life, for learning a language or coding for example.
Extra 2: Study something which will be needed in life. Like English Literature for example. Just kidding. Study Finance, Comp Sci, Physics, Math, Engineering... Some wise advice: don't follow your passion. Do whatever you do with passion. And be great at it, you will almost never find something boring if you are pretty fucking good at.