How to Study More Effectively and Develop Skills

By Ananya Aggarwal

Studying is incredibly important to academic success. To do well, it’s not enough to just study hard. You need to study smart. Here are nine tips to make your studying more effective.

1. Quiz yourself

Refine your ability to retain and recall learned information by testing your own knowledge through either self-made quizzes or simple strategies such as using flashcards or writing concepts down. Attempting to retrieve new information you have learned helps to solidify it in your memory.

2. Space out your studying

Studies have shown that spacing out studying leads to better performance on tests. Students who space out their chapter quizzes and take them multiple times perform better on exams.

3. Exercise before studying

This could be doing any type of physical activity that will help to increase your energy levels as it will lead to endorphins being released. This will get your heart pumping and help you to study later. Studies have shown that exercise helps the brain get ready to perform mental tasks and makes retaining information easier.

4. Learn content with the intention of teaching it

This helps to organize the information in our brain in a more logical way. It also helps us understand the main points and ignore irrelevant facts. It will cause you to engage with material in a more effective way.

5. Be aware of how you study best and what you are trying to achieve

If you are aware of your own strengths and weaknesses you can change your studying approaches to best fit them. If you are able to critically analyze how you think it can change how you approach tasks and the strategies you use to problem solve. If you reflect on your progress you will be more motivated to reach your goals and more confident during exams.

6. Mix things up

Drill yourself on different concepts and do not focus on just one thing. Mix up your practice and space different concepts apart. You will see how concepts can differ or fit together. It might make studying more difficult at first, but this is actually a good thing.

7. Stick to a regular routine and get good sleep before an exam

Getting a good night’s sleep before an exam is obvious. But what is not is to be sure to have a consistent sleep schedule before an exam which means sticking to a regular routine even a month before it. It comes down to you making sleep a high priority. That may require changing your habits such as limiting your use of phones and other screens.

8. Zone in on what you are doing and stop trying to multitask

Find a quiet and clean workspace to study, without distractions such as our phone or people so you can take the time to understand and apply what you have learned. Multitasking has been proven to slow you down because it creates interference that blocks learning, and ruins your ability to think deeply about what you’re learning. When you multitask your brain has to switch over from doing on.

9. Always ask “Why?”

This encourages you to apply the new facts with things you already know. This improves your memory for the new fact by giving you more ways to find it. This will force you to ask why a fact is true.