Student Studying

16 Ways to Study Smarter

  1. Attend classes
    • You’ll be spending your study time reviewing what you need to know because your professor has already identified important points, rather than teaching yourself what you hope you need to know.

2. Know your instructor

  • Find out your professor’s testing format and expectations. Refer to the syllabus to be sure you are on track. Meet your professor during his/her office hours and introduce yourself. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
  • Review returned work and identify where, how and why you did not meet expectations.

3. Schedule regular study times

  • The most effective way to learn anything is to rehearse it regularly.
  • Create routines and habits to avoid procrastination.

4. Be realistic

  • It is better to plan one hour of study time and do it rather than plan two hours and not follow through.

5. Study short and often

  • Don’t try to overload your brain. Six two-hour study periods a week are more effective than three four-hour ones. Frequent repetition is the key to building your memory. Leaving a long time between study periods might lead to forgetting a good portion of the material you already studied.

6. Take regular breaks

  • Take a 10-minute break for every hour of study. This will refresh your mind for the next hour of study.

7. Start study sessions on time

  • Train yourself to use every minute of your scheduled study time. It is amazing how quickly 10 minutes here and there can add up.

8. Study when you are wide awake

  • The majority of people work most efficiently during daylight hours. One hour during the day is worth 1.5 hours at night. You accomplish more when you are alert.

9. Set a specific goal for each subject you study

  • You’ll accomplish more, faster if you set a specific goal for each study session. Instead of sitting down to study, start studying with the goal of completing the outline for your paper or reviewing 25 terms and reading the first 15 pages of the next chapter.

10. Reward yourself

  • When you complete one of the major goals you set for yourself, give yourself a reward: take a walk, watch a TV show, talk with a friend.

11. Start assignments as soon as they are given

  • Spreading out your workload will avoid a log jam at the end of the semester. A little work on an assignment each week will allow you time to give attention to its quality and will help you avoid cramming and all-nighters.

12. Study your most difficult subjects first

  • You are most alert when you first sit down to study. You’ll feel better getting the worst out of the way and you won’t be tempted to spend all your time on your easier or favorite subjects.

13. Review your notes regularly

  • By reviewing often you can retain up to 80 percent of the course material in your long-term memory.
  • Try this schedule below:
    • Review your lecture notes the same day they were taken
    • Review them at the end of the week as though you were being tested on them
    • Review them one week later
    • Review them two to three weeks later
    • Review them monthly

14. Vary your work

  • Alternate between reading, taking notes and doing homework during your study sessions. The variety of activities and subjects will help with processing the information more effectively.

15. Problem solve

  • Spend a good portion of time working on problems for the classes requiring problem solving: math, statistics, chemistry and physics. Much of the testing content will be presented in problem form, so you’ll be preparing yourself for the exam.

16. Keep on top of it

  • Letting work pile up can leave you overwhelmed. Identify what needs to be done as soon as possible and keep life manageable.