Because it is very difficult to develop good study habits, don't worry if you have trouble sticking to your study plans. Many students find it difficult to find the time and energy to study well, so you are not alone. Fortunately, studying is a skill that improves with practice, and therefore you should not give up. You can do it!
Method 1 of 4: Plan Your Study Sessions
Step 1. Make a daily study schedule
Don't try to study everything in one day but instead plan to study a little every day. To begin, choose the time of day when you feel most focused and then determine the subjects that you will study each day. Keep your study schedule on your agenda or in a place where you can see it every day.
- Everyone feels more energetic at different times of the day. You may find that you learn best early in the morning, although you might also like to study right after school or before you go to sleep. Do what works best for you.
- In case you participate in sports or activities, take them into account when planning your studies. Imagine that you have sports training every day after school. You may find that it is best to study for one hour each night before bed and one hour each morning before going to school to fit in with your sports schedule.
Step 2. Alternate subjects so as not to exhaust yourself
Try not to study a subject for too long, as you will likely get bored after a while. Unfortunately, this can make it harder for you to remember what you have studied. Instead, set limits for the amount of time you will focus on each subject and then move on to something else.
- For example, you might decide to study math and English on Monday afternoons. If you have 2 hours to study, you could study Math for 45 minutes, take a 15 minute break, and then study English for 45 minutes. You could spend the last 15 minutes doing a self-exam or review.
- Do the subject that interests you least first so that you are more excited to change the subject.
Step 3. Organize your study materials so that it is easy for you to find what you need
You probably have a lot to do and therefore you should spend your time wisely. Keep all your papers, notebooks, texts and writing supplies in a specific place so you don't waste precious study time searching for them. This will allow you to quickly grab what you need and get started.
- For example, you could store your pencils, pens, highlighters, and erasers in a pencil pocket in your backpack. In case you also have a desk at home, you could have a mug with these things on it. Try using colorful pens for the notes you write for yourself to make it more fun.
- If your instructor sends sheets and readings in digital files, save them in a Google Drive that you can access from any device. This will allow you to always have what you need.
- You could poke holes in sheets, readings, and other paper items with a hole punch so that you can keep them in a filing cabinet. As another option, you could save them in a folder. Choose a file cabinet or folder with a picture that you like. You could even decorate it.
- Store books or notebooks in your backpack or next to your study space.
Step 4. Set up your study space
While it's great that you have a desk to study, a table will work great too. Make sure there is good lighting in the space and get rid of clutter or distractions that could interrupt your concentration. Place the materials you need to study (for example, pens, highlighters, and a notebook) nearby so they are close at hand.
- There is no problem with changing your study location if it is more convenient for you. For example, you might like to study in the library or at a coffee shop on occasion.
- Play music while you study to make it more fun. Make a playlist of songs that inspire you but don't distract you. You could try instrumental music if you are easily distracted, although listening to whatever you want is fine.
Step 5. Eliminate distractions so you can stay focused on your studies
It will be easier for you to focus if you have no distractions. Ask people around you not to disturb you while you study. Also, turn off the TV and mute your phone so you won't be tempted to check it.
- If there is clutter near your study location, you may need to remove it if it distracts you.
- Try using a productivity app or website that can block social media and other distracting apps or websites during your study time.
Step 6. Avoid burning your lashes for exams, as it probably won't work
Like most people, it will take a few days to truly absorb the material. So studying hard the night before an exam probably won't work. You will likely forget most of what you study by burning your lashes. Stick to your established study schedule instead so that you can learn a little at a time.
- You probably have friends who boast that burning their lashes works for them. However, you don't know what actually happens behind the scenes. Ignore what others say and do what is best for you.
- Try planning something fun and relaxing the night before the test (for example, a bubble bath or watching your favorite movie with a friend). This will give you something you are excited about that could motivate you to stick to your study schedule.
Method 2 of 4: Read the text and your notes
Step 1. Review your notes at the end of each school day so that everything is fresh
You may need to reread your notes several times before they start to stick in your mind. Take a few minutes a day to review what you have learned in all your classes. It doesn't have to be a big block of time.
Find a few minutes of free time (for example, when you are waiting for the bus, sitting on the way home, or waiting for your extracurricular events to begin)
Step 2. Focus on key concepts and not on minor details
It's easy to get overwhelmed when studying, as there is so much information to learn. You don't need to memorize your notes and textbook to do well in class. Instead, study the main points that your instructor has made in class, and then determine how the minor details and examples in your notes or texts help you better understand the main points.
- In English class, you could start with a story theme and then look for ways the author used literary devices to support that theme.
- In Math, you could focus on the formulas you are learning and how to use them. Later, you can determine how the specific math problems your teacher gave you help you practice.
- In History, you could focus on the social and historical factors that led to a war and not on the specific dates and people.
Step 3. Read key information aloud to help you memorize it
Reading aloud can help you remember something better, so you can use this strategy for the important points. Go to a place where you will not disturb anyone, and then slowly read your notes or the text to yourself to see if it helps you remember.
You could also try reading aloud when you're having trouble understanding something
Step 4. Look for connections between what you are learning and what you already know
At times, it may seem that what you learn in class has nothing to do with your real life. However, this is rarely true. Making connections between what you are learning and what you already know can help you gain a deeper understanding of the material and may help you remember it better. Try brainstorming connections between what you are studying and something you have experienced.
- For example, you could have used math to determine the area of your walls when buying new paint.
- Similarly, you could think about how characters in a story you've read relate to people you meet in real life.
Step 5. Rewrite your notes with additional information to create a study guide
Creating a study guide helps you review your material and gives you something to review in future study sessions. To get started, write your notes in a blank document and then add your current notes using your textbook and online resources. Also, answer questions in the textbook or that occur to you while studying.
- This is a good way to study because it requires you to take an extra step beyond reading your notes and textbook. Reading, thinking, and writing are essential ingredients for an efficient study session.
- You may prefer to write your notes by hand. Have a set of colored pens or markers just for this. Rewriting your notes will be more fun if you use special tools.
Step 6. Use online tutorials in case you have difficulties with the material
You may not understand all the subjects immediately, which is perfectly normal. Fortunately, you can get study guides and video tutorials online that can help you study better. Get help studying as soon as you start to struggle so that you can get the help you need.
For example, the Khan Academy has many video tutorials that you can watch for free. You can also find videos on YouTube
Method 3 of 4: Enhance Your Learning
Step 1. Make flashcards for the information you need to memorize
Flashcards can be used for most subjects, and they can be an excellent tool for testing yourself. Use flashcards to learn vocabulary, mathematical formulas, dates and historical figures, scientific data and processes, etc. You can make your own cards or print ones you get online. Then review them to test your knowledge.
- If you make the cards yourself, this is very beneficial because you will have to write down all the information that you are learning when making the cards.
- You can find premade flashcards on many topics on the Quizlet website.
Step 2. Create a mind map to organize the information you learn
Mind maps can help you make connections between what you learn. To start, draw a circle and write your topic inside it. Then draw radii in the opposite direction from the center circle and draw circles at the end of each radius. Inside these circles, write the main points you have learned about the topic so far. Keep branching out each circle you draw with new facts and details about the topic.
Try looking up examples of mind maps online to see how other people have used this technique to study
Step 3. Challenge yourself to review what you have studied
At the end of each study session, set aside 15-20 minutes to do a self-test on the material. Take a mock exam if you can, but you can also review your flashcards or cover up parts of your notes to see if you can remember the information. This can help you retain more of what you have studied and helps you identify the material that you need to study again.
- Ask a friend or family member to test you if you can. Ask him to ask you questions about the material and check your answers.
- Take a practice test with questions from your study guide or sample tests online. This will help you identify the areas that you need to go over again, if applicable.
- In case you are wrong, go over the correct answers.
Step 4. Teach the information to others as a way to help deepen your understanding
Explaining something to another person helps you retain the information better. Give a classmate, friend, or relative a short class on what you're currently studying, and then ask if they have any questions on the topic. Do your best to answer their questions.
- In case he asks you a question that you cannot answer, find out the answer to fill that gap in the information.
- If you are sharing it with a classmate, take turns "teaching" each other. This will allow you to get double the information.
Step 5. Incorporate activities that fit your learning style
Determine the learning style that is best for you. Visually learners absorb more information when they can see it, auditory learners absorb information by listening, and kinesthetic learners interact more with movement. Customize your study sessions using your learning style.
- If you are a visually learner, you could highlight your notes or text. You could also incorporate a documentary or slide show into your studies. You may also want to draw a mind map so that you can visually represent what you think.
- If you are an aural learner, you could try singing your notes, reading aloud, or listening to your audiobook textbook.
- If you are a kinesthetic learner, try interpreting your notes or pacing back and forth while reading or listening to an audiobook. It may also help to physically manipulate flashcards or draw a mind map.
Step 6. Organize or join a study group to learn from each other
Study groups help everyone learn better because they can share different ideas and explain the material to each other. Ask your classmates to form a study group with you, and then schedule meetings at least once a week. Do your best to stay focused so that you can get the most out of your study sessions.
- Ask each member of the study group when they are available so that you can choose the perfect time for the group. For example, they could arrange to meet in the library every Tuesday after school.
- In case everyone is busy with extracurricular activities, you could schedule a study session at the library or a local coffee shop every Saturday at noon.
- It is okay for them to meet more than once a week if their schedules allow it.
Method 4 of 4: Stay Motivated to Study
Step 1. Take a 10-15 minute break every hour you study
You should use your time wisely and therefore you may not consider breaks to be a good idea, but trying to focus on your studies for a long time can cause fatigue. Instead, schedule breaks in your study sessions so that you can release some stress. Upon returning, you will be refreshed and ready to pick up where you left off.
- If you find yourself easily distracted, you could try the Pomodoro technique instead. Set a timer for 25 minutes and try to study for that long. Take a 2-3 minute break and then start the next session. Take 4 study blocks in total with short breaks between each. After the fourth block, stop studying for the day or take a longer 15-minute break before starting another study block.
- Use your breaks to do something that energizes you (for example, eat a snack or go for a short walk). Avoid turning on the TV or a video game, as it could distract you.
Step 2. Be active during your study breaks as a way to improve your concentration
Cardiovascular activity increases blood flow, and this helps your brain function better. Also, being active may help improve memory. Take a walk, do jumping jacks, or dance to your favorite song during your study breaks.
Choose an exercise that you like so that your study breaks are fun
Step 3. Eat healthy snacks as a way to energize your mind
Snacking while you study can help keep you focused and may help you study longer. Just be sure to choose healthy snacks over junk food. Keep the snacks near your study space or go for them when you take a break from studying. Here are some snacks that can help keep you focused while you study:
- nut and seed mixes
- carrots and hummus
- bitter chocolate
- greek yogurt
- apple slices and peanut butter
Step 4. Get 8-10 hours of sleep a day to be well rested
Adolescents between the ages of 14 and 17 need at least 8 hours of sleep a day for good health. In case you lack sleep, studying will be a chore. You won't learn the same amount of information when you're sleepy as after you've had a good night's rest.
In case you are 18 years old and over, you need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep a day, while children between 6 and 13 years old need between 9 and 11 hours of sleep
What is the best time to study?
Try to dedicate yourself to studying the time of day that is best for you, whatever it is. It is different for everyone, but for most people, it is better earlier in the day. For example, you may need to set your alarm an hour in advance and study before work or school. However, you may also do well if you can set aside an hour for lunch.
How can I motivate myself to study?
Think about the stakes if you are doing well in what you are studying. It could just be a good grade or passing a class, but it could also be entering a graduate program or landing a job. This should be an excellent motivation to study.
How can I improve my memory for study?
Many tests have more to do with reading and logic than with memorization. In these cases, you really only need to take practice tests to feel comfortable with the format. For other types of tests, it is best to practice over and over again so that answering the questions becomes almost like muscle memory.
- Be patient with yourself in case you are trying to form new study habits. It may take time to get used to studying.
- Ask for help if you have trouble understanding the material.
- Reward yourself after a good study session by doing something you enjoy (for example, texting a friend, drawing, playing a video game, or reading a book).