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College is hard. From the time management, all night study sessions, volume of material and level of difficulty of the information that students must learn, the challenges are unavoidable. Some students also have to simultaneously juggle part- or full-time jobs or taking care of families.

Online courses can be a good solution for people whose schedules don’t allow them to go to a traditional brick and mortar institution. However, the belief of some students that taking online courses is an easier alternative to sitting in classes simply is not true. In fact, sometimes teachers feel they need to make online classes more difficult than in-person classes to offset this misconception.

These tips and tricks may help online students ensure their success:

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Time management is everything. With online courses, students have the freedom to listen to lectures, review Powerpoints, work on projects or study materials at their leisure. This means, however, that deadlines can slink up surreptitiously if students don’t stay on top of them. It is suggested to treat online lectures just as one would an in-person lecture, scheduling them at the same time every day. Putting away enough time to study for each class long before an exam is also a must.

What about technical savvy? It is true that most online courses require at least a basic knowledge of computers and a little online know-how. If students feel they fall short, they need not fret. There are free classes everywhere, family members or friends who can help and even using the Internet more often affords the student more online cunning. It may feel daunting at first, but learning about technology can be fun.

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Utilize personal learning styles. This is a big one because if a student is an auditory learner (meaning a person retains information better by hearing it), but he or she is constantly reading over notes or looking at Powerpoints, he or she may not be making the most of the allocated study time. While this method is good for both in-class and online students, it can especially benefit online students, as they are learning more on their own, to some extent even teaching themselves.

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Create a personal study space, or switch it up! To some people, studying in the same place every day is the trick to staying focused, calm and studious. To others, studying one day at their desk, the next day in the kitchen, the next in a library or even in a coffee shop is the perfect method to glean the most knowledge from their notes. The point is to find what works and stick with that, whether it’s being a study space migrant or creating one study oasis.

Take time for breaks. It’s easy to get so caught up in watching lectures, studying or writing papers for an online class that before someone is aware, he or she has spent hours without eating or getting up from their work space. It’s important to stay healthy, eat and sleep enough, get outside for fresh air or anything else that aids in stress management. If someone becomes too irritated because he or she is tired or hungry, they are most likely not going to grasp the information they need to be learning.

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