Study Smarter: Tips to Improve Your Study Habits

Proper studying takes practice.

Marianna Arboleda

5 Effective and Efficient Studying Tips to Get You Moving  

Many people believe that studying is just about looking through notes for hours and hours until words are memorized, but that’s actually not the case. In fact, countless hours of studying the same topic the same way can lead to burnout and discouragement.

Learning better study habits can help you not only have a more organized academic life, but it can also prevent procrastination and curb a lack of motivation. Follow the tips below to study more efficiently and achieve a higher test score on your next exam. 

1) Engage with the material in different ways 

If your method of studying is sitting at a desk and trying to memorize weeks’ worth of material, then you are doing it all wrong. Re-reading notes is the least productive way to learn a topic  

Instead of simply re-reading over your notes, try to actually engage more with what you are learning. For example, make your own quiz out of your notes, ask yourself questions about the topic and see if you get them right or wrong. You could even make index cards, write down the term you need to know, and then try to say its definition out loud until you get it correct, and then repeat.  

It can also help studying with a friend, telling them to ask you about questions you’re struggling with and have difficulty understanding; by doing this, your brain is retaining the information more quickly and easily because you are using multiple modalities (speaking, reading, writing, listening). 

2) Get Away from Distractions  

Distractions are everywhere. Whether it is a cellphone, television, noisy background music, or even your friends and family. Therefore, it’s so important to get as far as possible from distractions as possible 

It is best to find the quietest place in your house, even if it’s not your own room; it is also important that you are comfortable with your environment, so that your studying isn’t suddenly interrupted by a scratchy shirt, hard surface, or bad lighting. You can do this by wearing comfortable clothes, having calm background music, and sitting in a well-lit and cozy space. 

Turn off your phone or any electronic device that distracts you the most. Even if you get a single notification, it will tempt you to pick up your phone and then you will want to check your social media or other stuff for a moment, and then next thing you know, 3 hours have passed. Try to put your phone as far as away from you can, maybe even put it in silence, and you will definitely see the difference once you start studying.  

3) Try the Pomodoro Method  

If you are struggling with your time management or have a small attention span, then you should definitely use this method. The Pomodoro Method is a technique developed in the 1980’s by Francesco Cirillo for the main purpose of avoiding feeling overwhelmed when having a big task in front of you. What this does is divide the work and breaks it into intervals of usually 25 minutes with a break of five minutes, allowing you to work intensively and then rest a short while. 

The only thing you need is a timer to set it up for 25 minutes, and then for five minutes and so on. In those 25 minutes of intense work time, the idea is to work as much as you can and stop immediately after the timer ringspicking right back up again after your five-minute break is over. 

You can repeat this as many sets you’d like, as long as you are still applying the same rule; once you reach three or four sets, it is best to take a 30-minute break. You can even find timers on YouTube with a specific ambient of your desire, and it even tells you when to stop and when to keep working.  

4) Make a Study Schedule  

Time management is important, but it is also important to know when to study and how to distribute it across your day. This is where study schedules come in.  

By making a study schedule, you can set down all your goals for the day or the week, while also taking in mind your priorities such as health, sleep and food. Start first by buying a notebook or a journal, and then start planning out.  

Some things to take in consideration when doing your schedule is how much time you have throughout your day and how your mood changes. For example, if you feel less motivated during the afternoon, but feel more active at night, then try to study at night rather than forcing yourself to do it in times you are not motivated to do it.  

It is also important to know what works best for you and your schedule. Do you like studying twice a day for a shorter amount of time or just once for a longer amount of timeDo you have to work around other priorities like practice or an afterschool job? These are all questions you should ask yourself before planning out your schedule to help you figure out what is most likely to work. Breaks are also just as important as studying, so make sure you have balanced breaks with your study schedule.  

5) Space out your Studying  

Rather than studying all the material you need in a day or two, it is best to spread it out across the week, taking you the same amount of time and saving more energyYou will also have better recall on an exam if you have taken the time to study several days in a row, rather than cramming before an exam. 

For example, you need to read about 100 pages before Friday, so then start reading 20 pages each day starting Mondayinstead of reading the whole 100 pages the same day. 

Ultimately, if you put in the time and the work, you will be rewarded in a fabulous grade!