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5 Tips for Effective Studying

Updated on April 3, 2014

Tips to gain the maximum effective studying hours without letting any of those precious minutes go to waste.

Studying can be a mountain for anyone, especially in college where the work takes several days to cover. Working full time and studying after hours is another situation where time should be used effectively. Luckily there are ways to ensure that you can put in the hours you need without any distractions.

1. Plan and Allocate Time to Your Different Subjects

Time is one of the most important factors in exam preparation. That is why you must plan your study hours and on which days you are going to study which subjects. A good idea would be to allocate at least the 2 days before your exam to study that specific subject. If there is time, it is a good idea to take one day off after a few difficult papers.

2. Use a Designated Study Area

This is very important as it will help you to concentrate on your work and takes away any distractions. Your study area could include any learning commons, and most university libraries have areas for students to study. It is important that your study area should only contain your study work. This usually means no media like computers, televisions, game consoles or anything that could tempt you to leave your work for a moment. If you need a computer for studying, be sure to disable the internet. It might even be a good idea to print out the work so as to minimize your time on the computer.

3. Get a Study Partner

A study partner can be a great motivator to study. It doesn't have to be someone who is studying for the same test as you are. A study partner doesn't necessarily mean it has to be a friend that studies with you. Sometimes friends themselves could be a distraction from your work. It is better to have one of your classmates as a study partner. You could also have more than one study partner, but no more than 3.

4. Start Early in the Morning

Getting up early to study might not work for everyone, but at least give it a shot. You will find that after a few hours in the morning, you will get to lunch time feeling a lot of pressure lifted. Studying effectively in the morning could add 3 hours of studying to your day. Try and go to bed early so you could get up in the morning to start early. Be sure to have enough time for about 8 hours of sleep. Another way to stay sharp is to take a 15 minute break for every hour you study. Do not go and study 4 hours before taking an hour break. Distribute the breaks, i.e. study an hour then take 15 minutes off before starting again. Try walking a bit during your breaks.

5. Make Use of Summaries and Past Papers

During the course of the semester make notes and compile summaries. That way you won't need time to summarize your work first before memorizing it. If you want to wait until the end of classes before exams start to summarize your work, bear in mind that it could take longer than actually learning the work. You might not have enough time so it's a better idea to summarize the work you do in class on a weekly basis. It's important to know that certain subjects require you to prepare differently to others. For example, Economics requires a lot of summaries, key points and helpful charts or diagrams. Mathematics on the other hand is better learned from doing exercises and comparing answers to memo's. If there are past exam papers available be sure to go through them. It might give you some insight as to how they ask the questions and many questions in exams come from past papers. If you have the memo you could see how marks are allocated.


What distracts you the most from your studies?

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    • stiggies profile image

      Ian Stiglingh 5 years ago from Cape Town


    • profile image

      sticks2 5 years ago

      This is a great usefull article.

    • JASCO4EDUCATION profile image

      JASCO4EDUCATION 5 years ago

      I also think that it is key to use all of the resources available such as the internet and other textbooks.

    • stiggies profile image

      Ian Stiglingh 5 years ago from Cape Town

      Yes a good idea to use every opportunity, especially in college when time is always a factor. A problem with public transport could be noise, but using music (through a MP3 player or iPod) as a way to focus on your work can help.

    • thoughtabout profile image

      thoughtabout 5 years ago from Somerset, NJ

      I went through all these when I prepared for test in the college. I think most people are distracted with internet and text messages during the study time. Also if you are commuting by bus and able sit, you can turn this to an opportunity to study.