Top 15 Study Tips

Study isn’t just for the night before an assignment’s due or the night before an exam.

Here are our top tips for getting the most out of study.

1. Pick a place and time

2. Study every day

3. Plan your time

4. Discover your learning style

5. Review and revise

6. Take breaks

7. Ask for help

8. Stay motivated

9. App it up

10. Look after yourself

11. Turn lessons into stories

12. Put the Phone Away

13. Study with Others

14. Family and Friends Can Wait

15. Be Active in Class

1. Pick a Place and Time

Everyone has their own idea about the best place and time to study. Whether it’s your bedroom at night or the library after school, find a study space and a regular study time that works for you and stick with it.

  • Set up your study space – Your study space should be quiet, comfortable and distraction-free. It should make you feel happy and inspired. Decorate it with your favourite pictures or objects. If you want to listen to music or burn incense, pick a space that lets you do that.
  • Find your best time – Some people work better in the morning. Others work better at night. Work out which time suits you and plan to study then. Don’t study much later than your usual bedtime – pushing yourself late at night can make you too tired to study properly.

2. Study Every Day

If you study a little bit every day you’ll be continually reviewing things in your mind. This helps you understand things. It also helps you avoid the stress of last-minute cramming.

Early in the year an hour or two a night might be enough to stay on top of things. Later in the year you might need to study more each day.

If you’re finding it hard to find time to study, cut back on some (but not all!) of your other activities. Prioritizing study might mean spending less time online, or it might mean cutting back on shifts at work, or giving weekend sport a miss for a while.

3. Plan your time

It helps to have some plans in motion so you can make the most of your study time.

  • Set alarms – Set alarms to remind you about your study plans. A regular reminder keeps you honest and your plans on track.
  • Use a wall planner – Stick a calendar or wall planner up so you can see it whenever you’re studying. Mark it up with important dates, like exams and assignment due dates. Use it to block out your regular study timetable too.
  • Make to-do lists – Lists break tasks down into manageable chunks. At the start of the week, make a list of the things that you need to have done by the end of the week. Make a to-do list at the start of each study session too, so that you’re clear about what you need to be doing with your time.
  • Set time limits – Before you start your study session, have a look at your to-do list and give yourself a set time to spend on each task. If you don’t get something done in the set time, consider whether it’s the best use of your time to keep going with it, or to start working on something else.

4. Discover your learning style

Most of us have a preferred way of learning. Get to know the learning style you’re most comfortable with and study in the ways you learn best.

Note that these styles are just a way to think about different studying techniques – they’re not hard and fast rules that say you should only study in one way. Try each of these out and see which ways you prefer.

  • Auditory learners prefer to learn by listening. Try reading your notes aloud and discussing them with other people. You might like to record key points and play them back.
  • Visual learners prefer to learn by seeing. Try using colours in your notes and draw diagrams to help represent key points. You could try to remember some ideas as images.
  • Tactile/kinesthetic learners prefer to learn by doing. Try using techniques like role-playing or building models to revise key points.

5. Review and revise

At least once a week you should go back over the things you’ve studied in class. Thinking things over can help you to understand the concepts and help you remember when you need them the most.

  • Quiz yourself – Get a friend or family member to quiz you on key concepts. Offer to help your friends with their work too. Quizzes are great ways to get confident about what you know and find out what you still need to learn.
  • Make your own study materials – Think up some practice exam questions or create your own flash cards to help you study. This way you learn it all twice: once when you make the study materials and once when you use them to revise.

6. Take Breaks

It’s important to take breaks while you’re studying, especially if you’re feeling tired or frustrated. Working too long on a task can actually decrease your performance.

When you take a break, make sure you get away from your desk or study space. A bit of physical activity – even just a walk around the block – can sometimes help you to look at a problem in a different way and could even help you to solve it.

7. Ask for help

If you’re stuck on something, or something just doesn’t seem to make sense, you can always ask for help. Talk to your teachers or lecturers about the things you don’t understand. Talk to your friends and fellow students too.

8. Stay motivated

When you’re studying it helps to keep in mind your reasons for doing all this hard work, like a course or career you’re working towards. It can help to have something in your study space to remind you of your goals.

You could also decorate your study space with inspirational quotes or photos of people you admire and family members you want to make proud of you.

9. App it up

There are heaps of apps out there for helping students with all aspects of study. Have a chat with your friends and teachers/lecturers to see which apps they recommend. Find out apps, software, learning materials useful for studying.

Embrace new technologies! Revision doesn’t have to be just a pen and paper activity anymore. There are loads of useful apps and online tools that can help you, from quizzes to prompts.

10. Look after yourself

You’ll study better if you take care of yourself. Make sure you eat well and get enough sleep and physical exercise. Don’t reward yourself with too many sugary or fatty snacks or push yourself to study late into the night. It’s also a good idea to make sure you drink lots of water when you’re studying.

11. Turn lessons into stories

Everybody likes to read or listen to a good story, and with good reason – not only do stories entertain us, they help us to understand and memorise key details too. You can apply this to your studies by weaving important details or facts into a story – the more outlandish and ridiculous you can make it, the better (since you’ll be more likely to remember a particularly crazy story).

12. Put the Phone Away

Random dings, buzzes and tweets from your cell phone can derail your concentration, especially since they are hard to ignore. Make sure your cell phone is off, on “do not disturb” or in another room so you can fully concentrate on your study materials.

13. Study with Others

Another way to keep your studying mind fresh is to change up your habits. What better way to do that than by joining a study group? Interfacing with classmates can make the material more memorable and motivating. But notice how we didn’t say “Study with Friends”? That’s because your best friend may not be your best study partner if she’s constantly texting her boyfriend in between flashcards.

Find someone who’s invested in their academics as much as you are; someone who has good study habits and who will add to your learning, not become another distraction.

14. Family and Friends Can Wait

Speaking of family and friends…Even though you love them, you know they can be a distraction too. Ask them not to contact you during this time unless it’s an emergency. If they know this time is important to you, they’ll be more likely to respect your wishes for undisturbed study time.

15. Be Active in Class

Just remember that being another warm body in class isn’t enough. Start and stay engaged in your learning. Depending on the type of class and the professor, your participation will vary. Find a way to stay involved and absorb as much information as you possibly can. And if you need it, schedule a conference with your teacher for one-on-one time to ask questions that you maybe felt dumb asking in class. Most teachers are happy to work with students individually if they ask for help.

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