Keeping it Reel

10 Ways to Improve Your Study Habits

Whether you are preparing for a final exam or just an upcoming quiz, studying can be tough to manage. It seems like every time you open your book, you get a text or a Facebook notification, and everytime you open your laptop… well, how can you be expected to get anything done with Youtube just a click away?

Even when you manage to get going, how do you KEEP going? Scratch that—how do you even know what to study in the first place?

We get it. Studying can be difficult, annoying, tedious—choose a negative adjective—but the necessity for it isn’t going anywhere. So, you might as well learn how to do it right, do it well, and enjoy it. Check out these ten tips for improving your study habits so you can perform better and work less.

Before Studying

1. Actually do the class reading

I know, I know. It is a lot of reading, but if you want to raise your grades and you want to make studying easier, you need to make sure you do any reading assigned to you. You don’t want to get to the test and think: ‘I have no idea what this is.”

Open your book each night, read a few pages, take some notes, and you’ll find that you know a lot more come test time.


2. Relate the course material to real life

When you head home from school each day, reflect on what you have learned and how it applies to daily life. As you go about your day, try to relate your course material to things happening around you. For example, you might be playing catch and remember that the speed of an object falling freely will increase by 9.8 meters per second squared—a lesson from your physics class. Or you might be playing peek-a-boo with your baby cousin and remember from your psychology class that to your cousin out of sight is actually out of mind!


3. Plan to study at the right time

You should never plan to study at a time when you know you will have little to no energy. You will end up reading a few pages of your textbook and falling asleep—or worse; you’ll study for an hour or two only to realize that you didn’t absorb any of the information. To avoid this, make sure that your study schedule reflects your levels of energy and motivation. Study during times of the day when you are focused and ready to work. This way, you’ll get the most out of your study time and you’ll be able to spend more time on other things.


4. Prioritize

Teachers never leave their students completely unprepared for a test or quiz. They will usually have a study session, hand out a review packet, do an in-class review, or inform their students of the test material in some other way. Regardless of how the information is giving to you, you should make sure to prioritize learning particular pieces of information over others.

If a teacher emphasizes an equation, a definition, an idea, anything, take note of it and plan to give it more attention than the general class material. You can spend hours studying and not receive the grade you want if you study the wrong information.



While Studying

5. Take breaks

The people who study the longest aren’t the ones who benefit the most. The people who study the smartest are. So when you begin studying, plan to take study breaks. Thirty minutes on, ten minutes off. Sixty minutes on, twenty minutes off. Fifty-two minutes on, seventeen minutes off. Your brain needs time to digest information and recharge. Make sure it gets it. You’ll feel better, and you’ll study harder.


6. Set Rewards

If you lack the motivation to sit down and study, setting rewards for yourself is a great way to boost your drive. Tell yourself that if you study for an hour, you can watch thirty minutes of your favorite Netflix series (just don’t end up binge watching it). Or set a goal of studying five hours during the week and treat yourself to something nice on the weekend if you get it done.

If you need a little help with this, see if your parent will make a deal with you. That way, they are in charge of the reward and will hold you to your actions.


7. Work in a group

Working in a group is an excellent way to study up on course material while also having fun. The odds are that other people in your class will need to study for the big test too, so why not work together?  You will remember different things and be able to help each other learn different information. If you are studying with your friends, you won’t be worried about missing out on anything fun.

WARNING: It can be harder to stay on track when working in groups. Assign someone to keep the group focused or you may not end up studying at all.


After Studying

8. Review what you have studied

Now that you are a little more knowledgeable about the course material, it is time to review what you have learned. Now you might be thinking: ‘isn’t this studying?’ Yes and no. Reviewing what you have studied is a way of confirming whether or not you actually learned the material.

You should make a list of what you know for sure and what you are struggling with. The next time you study, you will know exactly what to focus on.


9. Teach it to someone

One of the best ways to commit something to memory is to teach it. This is because to teach something you have to understand it fully. When you learn something for yourself, you may only be recalling information which is different than understanding how to use it or why it is important.

If you can, take some time to teach another student what you have learned. You could volunteer to tutor your fellow students or just study in a group and help those who need it.


10. Approach your teacher with any questions you have

When you have learned all you can on your own, it is time to use the most valuable resource you have—your teacher. Your teacher will be able to answer any questions you have on the material and will most likely give you hints and insights that will help you on your test. Don’t be afraid to ask a question no matter how simple you think it is. It is better to ask than to get to the test and not know.

Here is a quiz you don’t have to study for!

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