When you sit down to study, how do you transfer that massive amount of information from the books and notes in front of you to a reliable spot in your mind? You need to develop good study habits. At first, it'll take a good deal of conscious effort to change your studying ways, but after a while, it'll become second nature, and studying will be easier to do.
Part One of Four:
Preparing to StudyEdit
1Manage your time. Make a weekly schedule and devote a certain amount of time per day to studying. This will also improve your grades. That amount will vary depending on whether you're in high school or college, and also varies by field of study. Make sure you stick to your schedule as much as possible but don't be afraid to go off of plan sometimes to study more for the most recent upcoming exam. Make sure this study plan is realistic and not impossible. Don't forget to schedule in everything, from eating, dressing, and commuting, to labs and scheduled classes.
- You need to balance school, work, and extra-curricular activities. If you are really struggling with your classes, you may want to give up the afterschool job or an extra-curricular activity until your grades come up. You need to prioritize your time. Remember: your education is the most important thing because it is the foundation of your future success. 
- For college classes, you should base the hours you study per class on how difficult the class is and how many credit hours the class is worth. For example, if you have a 3 hour physics class that is really hard, you want to study 9 hours a week (3 hrs x 3 for hard difficulty). If you have a literature course that is worth 3 hours and is kinda hard, you may want to study 6 hours a week (3 hrs x 2 for medium difficulty).
2Pace yourself. Find the best speed for you to study and adjust accordingly. Some concepts or classes will come to you more naturally, so you can study those more quickly. Other things may take you twice as long. Take the time you need and study at the pace you feel comfortable.
- If you study more slowly, remember that you will need more time to study.
3Get enough sleep. Make enough time in your schedule to get enough sleep. Get a good night's sleep every night and you'll be making the best of your study time. This is important as you lead up to the test, and especially important right before you take the test. Studies have shown that sleep positively impacts test taking by improving memory and attentiveness. Staying up all night studying may sound like a good idea, but skip the all-night cram session. If you study throughout the weeks, you won't need to cram anyway. Getting a good night's sleep will help you perform better.
- If you end up a little sleep deprived despite your best efforts, take a short nap before studying. Limit your nap to 15-30 minutes. After you wake, do some physical activity (like you would do during a break) right before you start.
4Clear your mind of anything that doesn't have to do with the topic you're studying. If you’ve got a lot on your mind, take a moment to write yourself some notes about what you're thinking about and how you feel before you start studying. This will help to clear your mind and focus all your thoughts on your work.
5Eliminate electronic distractions. One of the worst distractions for studying is electronic devices. They are hooked up to social media, you receive texts through your phone, and your laptop is hooked to the internet. Silence your cell phone or keep it in your bag so it's not there to distract you if someone calls or texts you. If you can, don't open your laptop or connect it to the internet.
- If you are easily distracted by social networking sites such as YouTube, Facebook, or others, download one of the available applications to instantly block some of the distracting sites on your computer. When you are done with your work, you can unblock access to all the sites as before.
Part Two of Four:
Setting Up Your Study SpaceEdit
1Find a good study spot. Gain control of your study space. You should feel comfortable so that studying is more enjoyable. If you hate sitting at a table in the library, then find somewhere much more pleasant, like your sofa or a beanbag chair on your floor. Try studying in comfortable clothes, like a cozy sweatshirt or yoga pants. The place where you study should be free from distractions and relatively quiet.
- Don't choose a place so comfortable that you risk falling asleep. You want to be comfortable, not ready to fall asleep. A bed isn't a very good study spot when you're tired.
- Traffic outside your window and quiet library conversations are fine white noise, but interrupting siblings and music blasting in the next room are not. You may want to go somewhere away from people who may provide distractions.
2Choose background music carefully. Some people prefer silence while they study, others prefer music in the background. Music can be beneficial to your studying by helping you be calm, elevating your mood, and motivating you. If you listen to music, stick to instrumental music, which is music that has no words like classical, movie scores, trance, or baroque.
- If it doesn't distract you, listen to familiar music with words. Turn off anything that distracts you from your studying. You may be able to listen to rock music with words but not pop. Figure out what works for you.
- Make sure to keep the music at a moderate to low volume. Loud music can distract you while quiet music can help you while studying.
- Skip the radio. The commercials and the DJ's voice can bring you out of your study zone.
3Listen to background sounds. Background sounds can help you "get in the zone" and focus on your studies without getting distracted. Natural sounds such as waterfalls, rain, thunder, and jungle sounds can give enough white noise to keep you focused and block out other sounds. There are many places online to find these kinds of sounds, including Youtube.
4Keep the television turned off. Having the television on while you study is generally a bad idea. It can distract you a lot and make you focus on the TV show or movie instead of the book. Plus, voices are extremely distracting because it engages the language center of your brain.
5Snack smart. Eat healthy, nutritional foods while you study instead of foods filled with sugar and fat. Go for energy boosting foods, like fruit, or foods to make you feel full, like vegetables and nuts. If you need something sweet, eat dark chocolate. Drink water to keep you hydrated, and drink tea if you need a caffeine boost.
- Avoid foods with high amounts of sugar and carbs, like instant noodles, chips, and candy. Don't drink energy drinks and sugary sodas; they contain high amounts of sugar which will cause you to crash. If you drink coffee, skip the sugar heavy drinks.
- Have your snacks prepared when you begin a study session so you don't get hungry and go rummaging for food.
Part Three of Four:
Using Effective Study TechniquesEdit
1Use SQ3R. SQ3R is a study method that involves active reading to help you comprehend and start learning the material. The method gets you to preview the material and actively read so you are more prepared when you read a chapter or article.
- Start with Survey, which means to glance through the chapter to look for tables, figures, headings, and any bolded words.
- Then Question by making each heading into a question.
- Read the chapter while trying to answer the questions you made from the section headings.
- Recite the answers to the questions verbally and any important information you remember from the chapter.
- Review the chapter to make sure you include all the main ideas. Then think about why this is important.
2Use the THIEVES strategy. When you are beginning to study a new chapter, it will make the information it contains much more meaningful and easier to learn if you preview the chapter using THIEVES.
- Start with the title. What does the title tell you about the selection/article/chapter? What do you already know about the topic? What should you think about while reading? This will help you frame your reading.
- Scan the "headings" and subheadings. What do these headings and subheadings tell you about what you will be reading? Turn each heading and subheading into a question to help guide your reading.
- Move to the introduction. What does the introduction tell you about the reading?
- Read the first sentence of every paragraph. These are generally topic sentences and help you think about what the paragraphs will be about.
- Look at the visuals and vocabulary. This includes tables, graphs, and charts. More importantly, look at the bolded, italicized, and underlined words, words or paragraphs of a different color, and numerical lists.
- Read the end of chapter questions. What concepts should you know by the time you finish reading the chapter? Keep these questions in mind as you read.
- Look at the chapter summary to get a good idea of what the chapter is about before going on to read the chapter as a whole.
3Highlight important details. Use a highlighter or underline the most important points in the body of the text, so that you can spot them more easily when you review the material. Don't highlight everything - that defeats the purpose. Instead, only highlight the most important phrases and words. It also helps to make notes in pencil in the margin in your own words to summarize or comment on important points.
- You can also read just these portions in order to quickly review the material you have learned while it is still fresh in your memory, and help the main points to sink in.
- If the textbook belongs to the school, then you can use highlighted sticky notes, or a regular sticky note beside the sentence or paragraph. Jot your notes on a sticky note and paste it beside the paragraph.
- It's also a good way to periodically review in this manner to keep the main points of what you have already learned fresh in your mind if you need to remember a large amount of material for a longer period, like for a final examination, for a comprehensive exam in your major, for a graduate oral, or for entry into a profession.
4Summarize or outline the material. One good way to study is to write the material in your notes and in the textbook in your own words. That way you can think about it in your own terms instead of textbook language. Incorporate your summaries into your notes, if there is a connection. You can also make an outline. Organize it by main ideas and only the most important subpoints.
- If you have enough privacy, it also helps to recite your summaries aloud in order to involve more senses. If you are an aural learner, or learn better when verbalizing it, then this method could help you.
- If you're having trouble summarizing the material so that it sticks in your head, try teaching it to someone else. Pretend you're teaching it to someone who doesn't know anything about the topic, or create a wikiHow page about it! For example, How to Memorize the Canadian Territories & Provinces was made as a study guide for an 8th grade student.
- When making summaries, use different colors. The brain remembers information more easily when it is associated with color.
5Make flash cards. This is usually done with index cards. Place a question, term, or idea on one side and have the other side contain the answer. These are convenient because you can carry them around with you and study them when you are waiting for the bus, for class to start, or have a few down moments.
- You can also download computer programs that cut down on space and the cost of index cards. You can also just use a regular piece of paper folded (vertically) in half. Put the questions on the side you can see when the paper is folded; unfold it to see the answers inside. Keep quizzing yourself until you get all the answers right reliably. Remember: "Repetition is the mother of skill."
- You can also turn your notes into flash cards using the Cornell note-taking system, which involves grouping your notes around keywords that you can quiz yourself on later by covering the notes and trying to remember what you wrote based on seeing only the keyword.
6Make associations. The most effective way to retain information is to tie it to existing information that's already lodged in your mind. Using memory techniques can help you remember difficult or large amounts of information.
- Take advantage of your learning style. Think about what you already learn and remember easily--song lyrics? choreography? pictures? Work that into your study habits. If you're having trouble memorizing a concept, write a catchy jingle about it (or write lyrics to the tune of your favorite song); choreograph a representative dance; draw a comic. The sillier and more outrageous, the better; most people tend to remember silly things more than they remember boring things.
- Use mnemonics (memory aids). Rearrange the information is a sequence that's meaningful to you. For example, if one wants to remember the notes of the treble clef lines in music, remember the mnemonic Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge = E, G, B, D, F. It's much easier to remember a sentence than a series of random letters. You can also build a memory palace or Roman room to memorize lists like the thirteen original colonies in America, in chronological order. If the list is short, link the items together using an image in your mind.
- Organize the information with a mind map. The end result of mapping should be a web-like structure of words and ideas that are somehow related in the writer's mind.
- Use visualization skills. Construct a movie in your mind that illustrates the concept you're trying to remember, and play it several times over. Imagine every little detail. Use your senses--how does it smell? look? feel? sound? taste?
7Break things into smaller parts. One way to study is to break things into smaller sections. This helps you learn the information bit by bit instead of trying to understand everything at once. You can group things by topic, keywords, or any other method that makes sense to you. The key is to lessen how much information you learn at one time so you can focus on learning that material before moving on.
8Make a study sheet. Try to condense the information you will need into one sheet, or two if absolutely necessary. Bring it around with you and look at it whenever you have downtime during the days leading up to the test. Take your notes and the chapters and organize it into related topics and pull out the most important concepts.
- If you type it up onto the computer, you can get a lot more control over your layout by changing font sizes, margin spaces, or bullet lists. This can help if you are a visual learner.
Part Four of Four:
Studying More EfficientlyEdit
1Take breaks. If you are studying for a few hours at a time, take 5-minute breaks every half hour or so. This helps your joints by moving them around after sitting for a long while; it also helps your mind relax, which can help you more effectively remember the material. This also helps keep you from losing focus.
- Do something physically active to get your blood flowing and make you more alert. Do a few jumping jacks, run around your house, play with the dog, do some squats, or whatever it takes. Do just enough to get yourself pumped, but not worn out.
- Try integrating standing into your studying. This may mean walking around the table as you recite the information to yourself or standing against the wall as you read your notes.
2Use a keyword to refocus yourself. Find a keyword related to what you are studying, and whenever you lose concentration, feel distracted, or your mind wanders to something else, start saying that keyword repeatedly in your mind until you come back to the topic at hand. The keyword in this technique is not a single, fixed word but keeps changing according to your study or work. There are no rules to select the keyword and whichever word the person feels that it will bring back his concentration can be used as a keyword.
- For example, when you are reading an article about the guitar, the keyword guitar can be used. While reading, whenever you feel distracted or not able to understand or concentrate, start saying the keyword guitar, guitar, guitar, guitar, guitar until your mind comes back to the article and then you can continue your reading.
3Take good notes in class. When in class, make sure you take the best notes you can. This doesn't mean going for neatness or writing everything in complete sentences. You want to catch all the important information. Sometimes, you may write down a term the teacher says, then go home and copy the definition out of your textbook. Try to write down as much as you can.
- Taking good notes in class will force you to stay alert and pay attention to everything that is going on in the class. It'll also help keep you from falling asleep.
- Use abbreviations. This helps you so that you can quickly jot down words without spelling anything out. Try coming up with your own abbreviation system, or use common ones like b/t for between, bc for because, wo for without, and cd for could.
- Ask questions in class as they pop into your brain, or make a contribution to the class discussion. Another way to question or make a connection is to jot it in the margin of your notes. You can look the question up when you get home, or you can piece together the connection when you are studying that day.
4Rewrite your notes at home. When you take notes, focus on recording the information over understanding or neatness. Rewrite your notes as soon after the class as possible, while the material is fresh in your mind so that you can fill in any gaps completely from memory. The process of rewriting your notes is a more active approach to studying by making you actively engage your mind with the information. You can easily zone out if you're just reading. Writing them makes you think about the information.
- That doesn't mean you shouldn't try to understand or organize your notes at all; just don't waste time doing something in class that you can figure out or neaten up at home. Consider your in-class notes a "rough draft."
- You may find it easier to keep two notebooks--one for your "rough draft" notes, and another for your rewritten notes.
- Some people type their notes, but others find that handwriting enhances their ability to remember the notes.
- The more paraphrasing you do, the better. Same goes for drawing. If you're studying anatomy, for example, "re-draw" the system you're studying from memory.
5Make things interesting. Logical arguments will not give you motivation to study. Thinking, "if I study hard, I will get into a good university and get a good job," will not interest you. Find something interesting in what you study. Try to find the beauty of every subject, and most importantly, try to link it with the events of your life and things that interest you.
- This linking may be conscious, like performing chemical reactions, physical experiments, or manual mathematics calculations in order to prove a formula, or unconscious, like going to the park, looking at the leaves, and thinking, "Hmm, let me review the parts of the leaf we learned in bio class last week."
- Use your creativity to make stuff up. Try making stories to go along with the information you are studying. For example, try to write a story with all subjects starting with S, all objects starting with O, and no verbs containing V. Try creating a connected story with vocabulary words, historical figures, or other keywords.
6Study hard subjects first. Start with the most difficult subjects or concepts at the beginning of your study session. That way you have enough time to study them and you are more energetic and alert. Save the easier stuff for later.
- Learn the most important facts first. Don't just read the material from beginning to end. Stop to memorize each new fact as you come to it. New information is acquired much more easily when you can relate it to material that you already know. Don't spend a lot of time studying things that won't be on the test. Focus all your energy on the important information.
7Study the important vocabulary. Look for vocabulary lists or words in bold in the chapter. Find out if your textbook has a vocabulary section, a glossary, or a list of terms and make sure that you understand these completely. You don't have to memorize them, but whenever there is an important concept in a particular field, there is usually a special term to refer to it. Learn these terms, and be able to use them easily, and you will have gone a long way towards mastering the subject itself.
8Make a study group. Get 3-4 friends or classmates together and have everyone bring over their flash cards. Pass them around and quiz each other. If anyone is unclear on a concept, take turns explaining them to each other. Better yet, turn your study session into a game like Trivial Pursuit.
- Divide concepts among the members and have each member teach or explain the concept to the rest of the group.
- Divide lectures among the group and have each group summarize the key concepts. They can present it to the group or create an outline or 1-page summary for the rest of the group.
- Develop a weekly study group. Spend each week covering a new topic. That way you study throughout the semester instead of just at the end.
- Make sure they are people who are actually interested in studying.
Sample Study SchedulesEdit
Do you have any tips on memorizing every lesson?Answered by wikiHow Contributor
- Pay attention in class. Sit near the front and avoid getting distracted. Try to follow each lesson carefully, and learn in class. Take quick notes every class, and make sure that they are short and to the point. At the end of the class, read back over your notes to see if they all make sense, and try to memorise and learn them.
What are some tips for avoiding distractions while studying?Answered by wikiHow Contributor
- Put all electronics in one room away from your study area. Make the study area comfortable and peaceful. Have snacks to hand. Ensure that all the textbooks and notes are within reach. Turn off your phone so that you cannot hear it ringing or pinging. Take care that any view you have isn't causing you to stare out the window instead of concentrate.
How can I find a good place to study?Answered by wikiHow Contributor
- A desk in your bedroom is often a good place to study. Make sure that you have good lighting, a comfy chair and a bit of peace and quiet. Otherwise, the school library or local library is another good place to study, or if your school has 'after-school study' sessions sign up for those.
How can I get myself in the mood for studying?Answered by wikiHow Contributor
- Think about how happy your parents and teacher will be with you because of studying. Print inspirational quotes on paper and make them tiny like 4 by 4 perimeter then place them in you study book so when you reach that place read them and keep studying. You can also award yourself by giving yourself a piece of candy or five-minute break every time you memorize something properly.
The article says to turn off all devices, but also to play background music. Which one should I do?Answered by wikiHow Contributor
- It depends on if you see the device as a distraction, or if music helps you concentrate. If music and the device will distract you, keep it off. If music helps you study, play it. You can also take small breaks to listen to music if you get stressed out by studying.
What is the best way to go over a large amount of notes in one day?Answered by wikiHow Contributor
- Split up your notes into relevant topics, or subheadings, to stop the amount you have to complete being so overwhelming. Turn off electronics and get rid of any distractions that will prevent you from working to your maximum potential. If you can, take short breaks between study sessions to relax and refresh.
What are some tips I can use to stop procrastinating and get to studying?Answered by wikiHow Contributor
- Find sources of motivation. Unless you don't feel the need or pressure to review the topic you learned that day itself, you will procrastinate. Always choose the best option. Sacrifice your sleep, peace and relaxation for two days and not perform well, or study little by little every day and relax on the last day and perform well. Which one will you choose?
What should I do if I become sleepy when I sit at my study table?Answered by wikiHow Contributor
- Try changing your surroundings - go somewhere that is not so comfortable. Temperature can also play a big part in keeping you awake. If coldness makes you sleepy, study somewhere warm, and vice versa.
How do I prevent myself from getting distracted by my cell phone?Answered by wikiHow Contributor
- You can put it on Do Not Disturb. Swipe up and press the moon button. Do Not Disturb silences texts and calls. If you go on social media, block it, then once you are done studying unblock it. Before studying, you can even turn off your phone entirely. Another option is to put your phone in a different room from where you're studying, or to go study at a library (or another quiet location) and leave your phone at home.
Is there a way I can make studying more interesting?Answered by wikiHow Contributor
- Check out fun apps such as Quizlet, where you can make flashcards, quizzes, memory games, and mini tests, all on your phone. It helps to take a break from the boring textbook and notes for a while. Use colourful pens and highlighters when you're studying. Draw little pictures or diagrams to help. Mindmaps can be really helpful, and make studying so much more interesting. Make sure to use lots of colour and pictures in mindmaps when you're doing them. See further: How to Have Fun While Studying.
- Rather than just memorizing what you've learned, you should also make sure you understand it enough that you can explain it to a person who knows nothing of the subject.
- Studying with a partner who is as serious about the subject as you can be a good motivator to work harder. Organize the study session into parts, review notes, outline the chapter, and discuss concepts. (Try to teach it to each other so that you are sure you both get it.)
- Don't procrastinate- start studying early to avoid stress. Get used to not procrastinating. This is a bad habit. You'll be happy that you studied immediately instead of procrastinating in the end.
- Most textbooks have a chapter review at the end of each chapter. You should take advantages of them and it's a good way of quizzing yourself and some teachers use those exact questions on a test.
- Make sure you understand the concept you're studying about. Otherwise, it may be more difficult to understand what you are studying.
- When taking notes at school, make them neat and colorful, so that when you get home to study them it is a little bit more fun.
- Organise your space and have anything you need by your side so you won't have to get up or waste your time to search for it.
- Switch off your mobile phones while studying.
- When you study, you should have some background noises. If it is too quiet, it will be hard to learn and you will probably space out. If it seems stressful when you study, take a deep breathe in, then breathe out, because you're probably not breathing and holding your air in.
- Some people learn best in more than one way, so it may be helpful to combine methods. For example, if you are a visual learner and auditory learner, you can watch videos on the subject you are studying. This can also make studying a bit more interesting. If something really grabs your attention, it is more likely to stick in your mind.
- Always study for knowledge, not just for getting high marks , because if you have knowledge of something you can score good in that.
- It can be helpful to take a 5-minute break if you're having a hard time focusing. Stretch, listen to your favorite song, or take a walk to refresh your mood.
- If you cannot study because you are just too tense, or something is worrying you, it may be necessary to gain control of your emotions before you are able to successfully study on a regular basis. If you are not able to do this on your own, you may need to consult a school counselor.
- Watch out for inclinations to procrastinate. For example, are you reading this article instead of studying? All your efforts will not lead to success, and if you procrastinate, you'll end up blaming your tools.
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