Effective Study Habits - Study the Way You Learn


Try a New Approach to Studying

 Written by: Lisa Phelps for Student Choice

Congratulations! Your midterms are probably over by now - perhaps your first big hurdle of the new school year. And by now you should be feeling pretty well established at school. New classes, new friends, new challenges.

But if those midterm grades weren’t exactly what you’d hoped for, it’s probably a good time to re-examine how you’re studying. That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to spend more hours studying, it just means you have to learn how to use those hours more effectively.


Quick Study Tips

Here are some quick tips on how to study better, some of which you may already be doing. A refresher is always a good idea:

  • Pick a specific time and place to study. The routine gives structure to your studying and helps your brain settle in.
  • Start with your most difficult tasks Don’t do the really hard stuff when you’re more tired.
  • Get involved with a study group. The more minds, the better.
  • Take regular breaks - at least once an hour. Go for a walk, get some water or chat with a friend.


Change the Scenery

If you’ve been studying in your dorm room, surrounded by temptations - computer games, TV, social media, friends, food, etc… - it’s time to pick a new place to study. The library, a study room, any place that’s free from things trying to lure you away from your books. Take note: be sure to bring everything you’ll need to study with you. Having to trek back to your room for your calculator just wastes time and energy.


Get Involved

While you’re in class, participate in the class discussion. The more involved you are, the more focused you’ll be on what’s being said. Ask questions. Instead of writing long, detailed notes, highlight important passages in your book or make notes in the margins. This will save time and keep you from getting bogged down with note-taking.


Get Some Help

If you really feel like you’re struggling, ask for help. This is often the hardest thing for students to do. Don’t be shy or too proud - ask the professor, the TA or others in the class. Don’t wait and get so lost that it’s impossible to get caught up.


Study How you Learn

Another possibility? Maybe you’re not sure how you learn best. Check out this chart to see which kind of learner you think you are and what studying methods might work best for you:

Learning Type

How You Learn

What to Use

Visual Seeing Use flashcards, charts & diagrams; highlight and underline while reading.
Auditory Listening/Verbalizing Record lectures; read material out loud, use word associations.
Read/Write Reading/Writing Take good notes; use bulleted lists, write questions about the material and answer them.
Kinesthetic Hands-on Study with others; doodle while studying, use flashcards.


Try out some of these ideas and see if your grades improve by the time finals roll around!


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