tips for success in distance learning coursesTaking the leap from dead-end career to promising future is an exciting change. If going to school was never your thing, even a distance learning course with all of its conveniences can be intimidating. You have no idea what to expect, and it can be just as stressful as starting on-campus classes. Before you let anxiety get to you, relax. Many distance learning students have great success during and after their education. Here are some tips to help you prepare.

1. Create a Study Space

This space could be in your home or away from home like a coffee shop. The type of study space environment depends on you, the student. Some people like some background noise, and others prefer dead silence. Find the right environment that helps you study and concentrate. You’ll need just as much study time for a distance learning course as you need for on-site classes, so this step is critical for your grades and knowledge retention.

2. Find Your Own Study Style

Some people are lucky enough to read a book and retain its information with little effort. If you’re not one of the lucky ones, you’ll need to find the right study style for you. This could be taking notes while you read or even turning studies into a game. Some students have a third-party ask them questions from each chapter to see if they can answer them.

You must be able to convert the information that you read into workable knowledge. This means memorizing phrases isn’t enough. You need to remember facts and apply them to scenarios. Many of your test questions will be based on your ability to take facts and apply them to a real-life situation.

3. Practice, Practice, Practice

They say that practice makes perfect, and it couldn’t be truer for students. Always do your studies even if it’s not required by a professor. After each chapter in your books, do the questions, do the problems, and do any of the practice problems they offer. The more you practice, the better you’ll be able to retain the information and apply it to your tests. Some courses have essay questions, which require the student to know the material instead of just memorizing phrases. Fully understanding the subject matter also improves your grades.

4. Set Goals for Yourself Each Week

Your course materials might come with suggested schedule for completing certain tasks, but you can set your own goals. For instance, if you know that you will take a test in three weeks, set reading and studying goals each week that keep you prepared for your test. Don’t ever cram the information. Cramming is when you study last minute, and it often leads to mediocre grades. You might pass, but you will be disappointed in your overall grades. It’s much better to set goals that let you gradually learn the information. Before the test, you then go back and review the information and refresh your memory. Not only is this a better way to study, but it also reduces anxiety at test time.

5. Give Yourself a Break

It sounds counter intuitive, but it’s better to take a break rather than push yourself beyond your limitations. Taking a break to relax and rest is better for your overall health and memory than studying every day without any breaks. Relaxing breaks reduce anxiety and help you retain information much better. If you are tired, get a good night’s sleep and study the next day. You’ll find that the information will be retained much easier than studying while exhausted.

With these five steps and your own motivation and focus, you can make the grades and earn a degree completely from the convenience of your home. Students no longer need to spend hours commuting to a campus, fighting for a good seat in a lecture hall, and feeling the anxiety of getting to class late on test day. With online degrees, you can attend class on your own schedule and never be late for a test.