20 Effective Study Hacks

Our parents have always encouraged us to study hard for tests in school.  We know we need to study to be prepared; others tell us good luck on our studies.  But, have you ever examined your study process? Do you habitually schedule study time every week or do you just read all your course material over and over prior to an exam and hope for the best? Fortunately, we have numerous ways to study available and can choose the practices that work best for us.

  1. Examine past tests for possible information that may come up again. Make sure you know the answers.
  2. Join a study group, or create your own. There is power in numbers and more brains with varying methods of answering questions.
  3. Schedule blocks of time in your weekly schedule for study.
  4. Take care to eat healthy meals and snacks for optimal study energy. Drink plenty of water, and keep caffeine and sugar to a minimum since it only leads to jitters and energy slumps later, and eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables with nuts and nut butters for healthy protein.  Add a multi-vitamin to cover every nutritional base.
  5. Find your perfect study spot. Some people require complete quiet, so a home office is ideal.  Other people study best with background noise, so a coffee shop makes an ideal place to learn.
  6. Take regular study breaks so your concentration remains strong. Stretching or going for a drink of water or a short walk will re-energize you physically and give your mental capacities a break to keep going.
  7. Write flash cards with mock questions for practice and effective learning.
  8. Play soft music and have energizing essential oils diffusing nearby. Engaging more of your senses during the study process can help you retain information more efficiently.
  9. If you have a great memory, try using poems, songs, or acronyms to memorize the course work.
  10. Rewrite notes to discover areas you may have missed earlier and ask the teacher to fill in. You can also share your study partners’ notes and rewrite them for further clarity.
  11. Consider making a Power Point presentation or writing a lesson as if you were teaching the information to someone else. Visuals will help solidify material in your mind.
  12. Avoid negative thinking and projecting disastrous results in your test-taking. Instead, talk to yourself positively all along the way, post inspiring quotes in your study space, and boost your study-mates’ confidence as well by reassuring them you are all going to ace your exams.  Positivity only breeds more of the same.
  13. Turn the sound off on your phone while studying and leave the computer off if you can. Eliminating distractions helps you focus on the task at hand.
  14. Review old assignments and make corrections so as not to repeat the same mistakes again.
  15. Use additional visual aids to learn information. Draw flow charts or diagrams to illustrate and illuminate points.
  16. Explain in detail specific ideas to friends or family members; it will help highlight areas that require further reading.
  17. Make certain you have study items with you. Pack spare pens, pencils, sticky notes, extra paper, and any other things that may help you instead of scrambling for missing items last minute.
  18. Schedule study to coincide with your energy levels. If you’re at your optimal mentally in the evenings, then schedule study at night.  Avoid heavy writing study when your energy is low.
  19. Practice active listening in class and take lecture notes in your own words throughout to retain information.
  20. Ask questions on things you missed on incomplete notes to fill in the gaps.

Examine your study habits and see if you can fine tune them.  Perhaps there is a better way than drinking a pot of coffee and cramming two days before a major exam.  Ask friends for their study tips and experiment.  Getting stuck in a habitual study rut could be hurting your grades.  Increase your chances of success by planning ahead and hit the books with confidence.