Our Top Tips to Study Smarter, Not Harder

Nov 20, 2019

Davis, MacyAs a member of Phi Kappa Phi, developing great study skills along the way was surely a part of your success. Members of our Link community shared their advice for studying and we’ve compiled their top tips here.

Find study partners. From the first day in class, connect with peers to support each other along the way. Classmates can help by quizzing each other, comparing notes, and dividing up tasks. Bonus for you: When you explain concepts to someone else, it reinforces your own understanding.

Perfect your note-taking skills. Many students benefit from handwriting notes in class and rewriting or typing them later. This provides instant review and gives you a chance to organize the material and fill in gaps while it’s still fresh. Add in color coding – of your notes or your book highlights – and you’ll tap into your brain’s visual learning.

Create an ideal environment. Get comfortable. Have a snack. Choose some soft music. Put away your phone. Identify and remove distractions so you can give 100% to the task at hand. Having the right surroundings while you work will do wonders to improve your focus.

Say it out loud. When we talk, we get the double benefit of speaking the words and hearing the words at the same time. Read your notes out loud or pretend you’re the one giving the lecture. This method helps embed the information in your brain’s long-term memory.

Master time management. Set a routine and stick to it. Block off study time and don’t procrastinate. Go to class and review the material daily. Got a commute? Use the time to listen to audiobooks or recorded lectures. Proper time management helps you accomplish more and lowers your stress.

Take advantage of technology. The web is a treasure trove of academic support. Use apps like Quizlet to create your own personalized tests. Search YouTube to find your own personal tutor right at home. Channels like Khan Academy and Crash Course can explain difficult concepts when you’re in a bind.

Give yourself a break. Set a timer and walk away. Whether it’s to walk the dog or grab a snack, your brain will perform better with an occasional reboot. Breaks can increase your performance and help retain information.

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