College Life in the '80s: How Students Studied Without the Internet

College Life in the '80s: How Students Studied Without the Internet

by Stella Gray

Today, the majority of students use the internet to study, work on their assignments and revise for exams. It makes sense because technology is here to make our lives easier. Most study tips are largely based on modern technology. Students have thousands of apps, websites, and tools that they can use to understand concepts better and organize their work. But have you ever thought of how college life was back in the 80s? 

How did students work on their assignments and revise for exams without the internet? In this post, we are going to answer these questions and help those who don’t enjoy using modern technology to study effectively. Let’s get started!

Books and notepads

Today, there are lots of e-books and audiobooks that you can easily access with a smartphone or computer. Back in the day, students had to find and read physical books for hours to get good grades. Students who want to achieve their academic and career goals have to become effective textbook readers. Effective textbook readers:

Avoided reading books front to back

In the ’80s textbooks existed to inform and educate. Effective students used to read backward to avoid wasting time and energy. Why did reading books backward work? It enabled students to go through the questions first before reading the content. This helped them know what to look for and retain important information. They got to read the summary and get a general background of what the chapters are about. Nowadays, students read the summary and questions, and connect ideas by reviewing nursing assignments by AssignmentBro on the internet to have an easy time understanding and remembering key concepts. Completing homework with technology has been made easy.

Searched for the key concepts or ideas

Since most authors are thorough when writing academic books, 80s students had to be thorough when reading textbooks to absorb all the tiny details in each chapter. They had to focus on the most important concepts. By focusing on the big ideas or concepts, they had an easy time sifting through the huge amounts of information. Since most textbooks usually use bold prints to help the reader spot big ideas, effective learners used to focus on these areas.

Focused on supporting details

The key concepts or ideas usually need supporting information. Effective readers used to find supporting information to help the key idea or concept make sense. While it was different for every subject, the concept was the same. Important people, events, and places usually offer supporting information for key concepts.

They took notes

As a modern student, you’ve probably realized how note-taking is important while studying. Note-taking goes way back. In the 80s, it was one of the best studying tools. Taking notes enables you to understand the information easily and retain it for longer periods. Note-taking does not involve copying the entire book on your notepad. It involves recording key concepts and supporting information on your notepad. Back in the day, successful students never used to read a book or chapter more than once. They used to read their textbooks while taking notes. During their study sessions, they used to read their notebooks; not their textbooks. Apart from reading their notes, they used to color-code them with highlighters to help them figure out what they needed to focus on. It’s amazing how these study tips still apply today.

They joined study groups

Another effective study technique that students used back in the day was joining study groups. Joining study groups allowed them to hold discussions, listen to each other’s perspectives and learn from each other. Plus, there was no better way to test one’s understanding by teaching or sharing your thoughts and ideas with a group of intelligent learners. Study groups helped them avoid repeating mistakes and save a lot of time and energy.


As you have seen, you don’t have to use the internet to study effectively. Most of the study tips that students in the '80s used are still applicable today. While the internet has made a lot of things that we never imagined possible, it has also made students lazy and distracted. Most students cannot focus on their studies with their smartphones beside them or without apps that block distracting websites. If technology makes it difficult for you to study and get good grades, you should consider using old-school tips to study. What will you start doing today to improve your study methods in college?

Author Bio:

Stella Gray is a renowned author and essay editor. She has been helping students learn how to study and write effectively for many years. She is passionate about traveling and interacting with new people.
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