How to Study Effectively:
Tips for Creating Good Study Habits

Learning how to study effectively can save you time, relieve stress, raise your GPA, and help you become a more efficient learner. Below are some tips for creating good study habits, learning to use the right techniques, and preparing yourself for study outside of "study time".

Best Study Techniques

Read the Text - Every class is circumstantial, but reading the text is usually one of the better study techniques. While it's understandable that reading the textbook cover to cover is extremely time consuming, more times than not an instructor will base his tests and homework off of the readings for the week.

Flashcards - The use of flashcards is only helpful on subjects where memorization is emphasized. Classes that require a lot of case studies, troubleshooting, or critical thinking are not suitable for flash card use. However, when using flash cards to memorize key terms, terminology, codes, etc., this is one of the best study techniques to use.

Study Partner - Learning how to study effectively is difficult. Many times using a study partner is beneficial to both of you, especially if you are studying the same material. When you learn with someone else, you create a sense of dual accomplishment. Try to schedule your classes with friends, and if that's not possible, ask others in your class to meet up at the library for short study sessions.

Creating Quizzes - A website I've recently started using is ProProfs. At Proprofs, you can create your own quizzes online, take them as many times as you like, and even share them with friends/classmates via email, Facebook, Twitter, or blog. The only downside to creating your own quiz is that it takes some time typing in all the questions. By the way, it's also free - create and take as many quizzes as you want.

Learning Outside the Classroom - Sometimes learning how to study effectively means going outside the assigned material. Some professors truly have no idea how to teach a class. In those times, your favorite Internet search engine can be a lifesaver. If there is a certain subject where the lecture/book isn't cutting it, someone else on the Net might teach it better.

Forming Good Study Habits

Time of Day - Are you utilizing the best time of day to start studying? The best time to study is when you are most energetic - when your brain is most willing to take in boring information. You might feel really great at 1:00 in the morning, but the minute you sit down and crack open a book your eyes will likely start to glaze over.

Waiting Until the Last Minute - Your memory can only handle so much information at one time. In fact, the only time your brain filters what's worth memorizing is when you sleep. So, good study habits are ones that are spread out on multiple days. Don't wait until the last day to start studying, otherwise you are putting a cap on how much you learn.

Excel in Homework - Hopefully your homework directly correlates with the rest of your coursework. If this is the case, it would be best to fully understand and try to ace every homework assignment. Doing so will help you grasp the material and ultimately make it easier for you when you start studying for those exams. Even if your homework doesn't hold much weight with your class grade, take it seriously.

Peace and Quiet - Sure, everyone is different, however I find it hard to believe that some people study better while listening to music. How would it even be possible to do both at the same time? If you're one of these people, try skipping the music for a day of studying. If you feel you truly need some sort of noise, try putting on some white noise (something without language or a musical beat).

Study Location - An extension of peace and quiet, but "study location" deserves its own category. Get away from conversations you might overhear. Get away from distractions that might sway you away from your work every 10 minutes. Go to the library, the basement, or some other solitary area where you can concentrate on your studying. This is one of the best study tips anyone can suggest.

Outside Factors

Physical Health - Maybe the problem isn't that you don't know how to study effectively, maybe it's a bit more complicated. If you're always feeling drained, depressed, unmotivated, or just plain lazy, you might want to think a bit on your lifestyle.

Many people claim they do not need that much sleep; however, it has been scientifically proven that the optimal amount sleep to get every night is 8 hours. Don't go out the night before getting up for class at 7 am...

Also, look at your dietary factors. Are you drinking too much alcohol? How many sugary sodas do you consume each day? Does your diet consist of pizza, ramen noodle, and nachos? These things may be making an impact on your energy level, therefore affecting your study habits.

Learning Disorders - If all else fails, lay down the pride and analyze your abilities. Are you easily distracted? Do you find it hard to comprehend your readings? One of the most common learning disorders is ADHD, which can greatly cripple quality study time. Contrary to popular belief, you do not grow out of ADHD, and if it is affecting your studies, then you should talk to your doctor about the possibilities of medication.

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