If you're worried about your grades or academic success, you can work on improving your study s****s. Studying harder can help improve grades and test scores. Create a study schedule, use good studying strategies, and focus on working hard in class. If you study effectively, you won't have to spend every waking moment studying to do better in school.

[Edit]Creating a Study Ritual

  1. Create a good study space. The first step to studying harder is to create a study space for yourself. Studying in the same space each day is effective because your mind will learn to associate a particular space with work. It'll be easier to get into the flow of studying when entering your study space.

    • Students who spend time struggling to find a space to study often waste valuable time. Having a space you go every day to study is helpful.[1]
    • Choose a study space that is free of distractions. Find a space away from television and other noises. You should not study in bed or on the couch. Choose a place with a desk where you can sit upright to work.[2]
    • Make sure the space is set up for what you need. If you need to prepare a class project with lots of small pieces that must be arranged, a large, uncluttered space with a worktable will be best. If you just need to read your textbook, a cozy chair and a cup of tea may be just fine.

  2. Stick to a study schedule. Once you've found a great space to study, create a study schedule for yourself. Having a regular study sessions will help you avoid procrastination and stick to your goals as a students. You should start planning your study schedule as you get your course syllabus -- that way, nothing will sneak up on you.

    • You should strive to prioritize studying. Place study time ahead of extracurricular or social activities. Try to study shortly after class or school each day.[3]
    • Schedule study sessions at roughly the same time each day. Having a regular schedule can help you stick to studying on a regular basis. Put these sessions into your calendar, just as you would a dentist appointment or soccer practice.[4]
    • Start slow. At first, keep your study sessions between 30 and 50 minutes. After you've gotten used to this duration, push yourself to study for longer periods. However, stop to take short breaks occasionally. Studying for hours on end can cause stress. Take 10 minute breaks as you study.[5] Don't go longer than 2 hours without a break.

  3. Have specific goals for each study schedule. Studying without direction is not an effective way to learn and retain information. Go into each study session with specific goals in mind to try and make the most out of your study session.

    • Keep your overall academic goal in mind. Branching off of that goal, break it down into manageable chunks and focus on each chunk per session.[6]
    • For example, say you have to memorize 100 vocabulary words for your Spanish final. Aim to memorize 20 words per session over the course of 5 study sessions. Make sure to review old words at the beginning of each new study session to make sure the information stays fresh in your mind.[7]

[Edit]Practicing Good Study Habits

  1. Test yourself. A vital part of studying is repetition. Test yourself on difficult material during each study session. Make flashcards with vocabulary words, dates, and other facts. Use these to test your knowledge. If you have a math exam, do practice tests in your math book. If your teacher or professor provides practice exams, take as many as possible.

    • Try to make your own practice tests. Review the types of question your teacher asked on quizzes and try to replicate them in your own words. Make a test for yourself, containing 10 to 20 questions, and then complete the test.
    • If your teacher provides practice tests to help you study, take them home and do them on your own time.
    • Start well ahead of time and bring in your practice test to show your teacher. Ask her something like, "I've gone through my notes and made this practice exam to help me study for the test next week. Could you tell me if it's on the right track?" Your teacher isn't likely to tell you whether or not specific things will be on the test, but she will probably be happy to tell you whether you're studying the right areas. And your hard work and preparation are sure to impress!

  2. Start with the hardest subjects. The most difficult subjects require the most mental energy. Start with this work first. After completing harder materials, studying easier subjects will feel a lot less stressful.[8]
  3. Use study groups effectively. Study groups can be a great way to maximize your studying experience. However, keep in mind that you need to use study groups effectively in order for them to have the best effect.

    • You should structure study groups as you would an individual study session. Choose which materials to focus on and have set timeframes and breaks. It's easy to get distracted if you're working with groups of people. A schedule can help you stay on task.[9]
    • Work with people who you know are hard workers. Even the best planned study groups can fall apart if you choose to work with people who are distracting and procrastinate.

  4. Seek out help when you need it. Remember, there's no shame in asking for help if you need it. If you are continually struggling with a particular subject despite diligent studying, seek out help from another student, a tutor, a teacher, or a parent. If you're a college student, there might be free tutoring centers on campus dedicated to helping students with a particular subject like writing, language, or math.[10]
  5. Take breaks and give yourself rewards. As studying is seen as a chore, allowing yourself breaks and rewards can help motivate you to study harder. Take breaks every hour or so to stretch your legs, watch television, surf the internet, or do some light reading. Provide rewards at the end of study sessions to motivate yourself to work harder. For example, if you study 3 days in a row treat yourself by ordering take out.[11]

[Edit]Studying Smarter

  1. Prepare your body and mind before studying. If you go straight from school to studying, you may feel burnt out and struggle to concentrate. Taking half an hour to prepare your mind and body for a study session can help you study more effectively.

    • Go for a short walk before beginning to study. Stretching by walking can help your body loosen up and clear your mind in preparation of studying.[12]
    • If you're hungry, eat before studying but stick to a light snack or a small meal. Eating a heavy meal before studying can result in sleepiness. This can make it difficult to concentrate on studying.[13]

  2. Study with the right mindset. The mindset you have going into studying can affect the effectiveness of your study session. Work on fostering a positive mindset going into each study session.

    • Think positively when you study. Remind yourself that you are building new s****s and abilities. Do not get discouraged if you struggle with something. Remind yourself you're studying because you need to improve so it's okay if you don't understand some material.[14]
    • Do not engage in catastrophic or absolute thinking. Catastrophic thoughts include things like, "If I don't get this now, I never will." Absolute thoughts are things like, "I always do poorly on these exams." Instead, try to be realistic. Think to yourself, "I'm struggling with this information at the moment, but if I'm persistent I'm sure it will come to me."[15]
    • Do not compare yourself to others. You're focused on doing well on this assignment for yourself. Other people's success or failure should not matter.[16]

  3. Use memory games. Memory games, always known as mnemonic devices, are a means of remembering information by creating associations. They can be extremely helpful when it comes to smart studying.

    • Many people remember subjects by stringing words together to form sentences, the first letter of each word signifying part of a topic that requires memorization. For example, the sentence "Kings play cards on fat green stools" can be used to help remember the taxonomy ranking for animals: kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus, species.[17]
    • Make sure you use mnemonic devices that are easy to remember. If you're creating your own mnemonic device, pick words and sentences that have personal meaning to you and that you will easily remember later.[18]

  4. Rewrite your notes. If you have notes, rewrite them. Rewriting the notes you have, changing the wording slightly, helps you actively engage with the material. You're not just repeating information but trying to explain it over and over again. This can help you process information and more easily remember it later on.[19]

    • Don't just copy out the material over and over again. Instead, try to condense it to the most basic points. Then, try to condense it again, until you have gotten to the most essential points.

[Edit]Taking Advantage of Class Time

  1. Take good notes. Creating the proper resources for studying can help you. While you're in class, try to take good notes. These can serve as a valuable resource later on when you're studying.

    • Organize your notes by date and subject. Write the date on the top corner of the page at the beginning of class. Then, write headings and subheadings regarding the subject being taught. If you're searching for notes on a particular subject, it'll be easier to find later.[20]
    • Use your best handwriting. You want to make sure you can read your notes later on.[21]
    • Compare notes with other classmates. If you missed one class session or missed a few words here and there when taking notes, another classmate can help you fill in what you missed.[22]

  2. Read actively. When reading material for class, make sure you read actively. How you read can affect how well you retain information later on.

    • Pay attention to chapter titles and subheadings. These often offer clues as to the main point of a text. It indicates what material you should pay closest attention to while reading.[23]
    • You should also reread the first sentence of each paragraph once. This sentence usually offers a summary of key information you'll need. Pay attention to concluding sections as well, as they summarize key materials.[24]
    • If permitted, underline passages and write notes in margins summarizing key points. This can help you find important information later when studying.[25]

  3. Ask questions. If you're confused about anything in class, ask questions. Usually, teachers will allow time for questions after class. You can also ask to stop by a students office hours to ask about topics that confuse you.[26]

    • Do yourself a favor and make it a habit to visit your teacher's office hours starting at the beginning of the semester. Waiting to ask questions until the day before the test makes it seem like you haven't been preparing. Making a habit of dropping in once a week or so encourages your teacher to see you as a student who works hard and prepares in advance -- she'll be more likely to want to help you.


[Edit]Quick Summary