Study Skills

Study Skills

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How to Study Better


1. Get a good night's sleep. Being tired is a distraction.

2. Eat properly. Protein is the proper nutrient to keep carb-addicts from falling asleep. Add vitamins via salad fixings and you can become alert for the work ahead. If you really need to, drink an energy drink before studying.

3. Get in shape. If you are not fit, start getting fit, by just walking, at first, and then continue into strength-building, aerobics and flexibility exercises, such as yoga and Pilates. This should be done as suggested, at least 3 times a week, minimum of 30 minutes, but preferably 30-60 minutes a day of alternate physical concentration. After every 30 minutes of mental concentration, get up and do something physical like a few minutes of jumping rope, or wall ball.

4. Find a comfortable place to study make sure you've eaten, gone to the bathroom, and done anything else you need to do. However, if you are fatigued, be aware of a too comfortable an environment, or you may fall asleep.

5. Get rid of the distractions and get yourself immersed in the subject at hand. Have a deadline. If you don't have one, make one. Set goals for yourself and create rewards for yourself if you meet your goals.


Everyone has a different way to study and some tips include highlighting, outlining, making flashcards, taking notes according to categories, and then memorizing those notes and categories, all depending on the subject matter. Review the material through the notes you have made, reading over that which you have forgotten. Taking good notes is essential if you want to get high grade. You can't rely on your memory.

Studying with a partner who is as serious about the subject as you can be a good motivator to work harder. Organize the study session into parts, review notes, outline the chapter, and discuss concepts. (Try to teach it to each other so that you are sure you both get it.)

Try to break formulas and concepts into mnemonics to help you remember them. For example if one wants to remember the notes of the treble clef lines in music, remember the mnemonic Every Good Boy Does Fine= E, G, B, D, F.

Where a chapter or subject lends itself to 4-6 different categories of information, write out a 3x5 index card with questions on one side and answers on the other. Put one question from each category on one side of the card and the corresponding answer on the other side. Then invite some friends from the class over to play History Trivial Pursuit. Same rules, your index cards.

Use graphic organizers (GOs) to organize the information that you want to study. Use the concept map, cause and effect diagrams, event organizers depending on what content you want to study. Check out and how to use them.

Music is okay, but keep it at a low volume. No hard metal music. You might have to experiment to find the level of noise that you can tolerate while you study and still focus.

Your attitude greatly helps the outcome of your studying: if you're mad at the world, you won't really care much about biology, and likewise, if you're so excited you can't breathe, you are not going to want to sit down and read about the Mesopotamian Era. Think about that and try to regulate your moods when it's time to hit the books (e.g. don't sign on to instant messaging to talk with your friends about that cute new guy ten minutes before you have to study the table of elements).

Study difficult material from a variety of sources. If the explanation in one book doesn't make sense to you another authors approach to explaining the topic may work.

After some time, your study habits will become a habit, and studying will be more enjoyable and easier to do (as anything in life). So set the study or practice time to suit your goals.

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Donah Shine

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