5 Study Tips That Will Help You Become a Stronger Student


Studying is one of those things that no one really teaches you how to do, yet, as a student, you often (and unfortunately) end up doing a whole lot of it.

Thinking back to my own school years, my study style and preferences certainly changed a lot from high school to college as I learned new techniques, became more comfortable with utilizing study groups, and got a better grasp on how to organize and prioritize things that needed to get done.

By the time I graduated from college, I truly felt that I had my study routine nailed down to a T. While that didn't mean that I aced each and every single class that I took, it did mean that I performed a lot better than I had in my earlier school days where I would get average grades due to mediocre study efforts.

So, since I want you to achieve success in all of the studying (and subsequently, the tests and exams) that you have coming your way, keep reading to learn my top 5 study tips and tricks to becoming a stronger student.

My Top 5 Study Tips

  • #1: Set goals before you start.

    At the beginning of each and every study session, you should sit down and write or type out what you want to accomplish. Your goal should be one that's not too lofty but also one that's not too easy to hit: somewhere right in the middle. 

    Once I have set a goal for myself on what I'd like to learn or complete, I'll document it on a piece of paper that I keep either taped to my laptop or in my study area. That way, I can always refer back to it and hold myself accountable for what I said I would do.

    Personally, I always found it helpful to create two separate goals, one target goal, and one reach goal. The target goal is one that I am confident I can hit. The reach goal is one that I may or may not be able to hit, depending on how the study session is going, how motivated I'm feeling, and how well I feel that I'm grasping the material. The last thing you want is to cram too much into one session and leave feeling like you haven't accomplished anything. 

  • #2: Read first, take notes later.

    This is one of those study tips that I wish I had learned earlier! In both high school and college, it's not uncommon to get assigned a certain number of chapters or pages to read before the next class. What I used to do was sit down with my textbook and, as I "read", I would take notes on my computer or highlight the bolded terms as I went. 

    If you're sitting here reading this and wondering what's wrong with this technique, let me explain. 

    There is a big difference between learning/ internalizing information and simply memorizing some definitions or concepts. When you employ the technique of taking notes as you read information for the first time, there is a pretty high chance that you aren't giving yourself the opportunity to truly understand what you're reading. 

    Going back to the tip, I find that one of the most helpful ways to make my study sessions productive is to first read through the material without any interruptions. No notes, no highlighter, nothing. Then, once you feel like you have a grasp on what is being explained, you can go back through and take notes (I prefer handwritten because it helps you to process the material on a deeper cognitive level) and continue on with your session.

  • #3: Know when to take a break, and when not to.

    Every person has their own opinions on how long is a good amount of time to study for in one session. I have friends who will only sit down to study for multiple hours at a time, and I have other friends who take breaks religiously every 25 minutes, following the Pomodoro Technique.  

    Personally, I have always found it helpful to either study in chunks (of anywhere between 45 minutes to 1 hour) or to study with a specific goal in mind. For example, if I have to read three chapters in my marketing textbook and answer questions for each, I might aim to take a 5-10 minute break after I finish the reading and questions for each chapter.

    This way, I am holding myself accountable for getting all of the work done and ensuring that I don't just sit in the library for wayyy too long and end up not finishing what I planned to do.

  • #4: Review your mistakes before moving on.

    This is another one of those study tips that you might not realize is important until it's the night before your first midterm and you're trying to cram two months of information into your brain. 

    Unfortunately, lots of high schools and college curriculums are set up to encourage you to cover a lot of content in a short period of time. This often means that you will rarely have any designated time between chapters or units to go over the things that you don't understand or have trouble with, which can lead to less than positive situations when you sit down for your exams. 

    So, when you're studying, try to make it an activity that not only looks forward to the material you have yet to cover, but also makes sure you're taking the time to go back to study and relearn previous units and concepts that you struggled with. By giving yourself a solid base knowledge for what you're learning, you will be in a better position to learn the more complicated and advanced material that comes later, and to ace those tests.

  • #5: Leverage online study tools and online/in-person study groups.

    Last, but certainly not least...

    I cannot put enough emphasis on the amazingness that is STUDY TOOLS and STUDY GROUPS! I know that everyone has different study styles and preferences, but these resources were ones that I grew to love and heavily rely on throughout my high school and college years. 

    To get an initial grasp on terms and concepts, I religiously used Quizlet, its flashcards, and testing features to go over the material until I had a strong foundation. 

    Beyond that, I made a strong effort to form study groups for each of my classes so that I would have people I could make study guides with and review the material with before quizzes and exams. Study groups can be especially helpful if you're the type of person who finds talking out information to be helpful since that's one thing you can't quite do as well on your own!


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