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The Most Effective Studying Techniques for College Students

effective studying techniques

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  • Many college students have issues with staying concentrated for the long exam periods and are struggling to find an efficient way to prepare for their exams.

    The whole process can be very tiring and sometimes you feel like you are not even properly taking in everything that you’re reading.

    Don’t worry though. These 9 effective, yet very simple studying techniques will help you ace your exams like a pro.

    Make a Study Schedule

    First, you need to create a study schedule. The best way to do so is by setting aside a few hours each day for studying. Then, you need to try keeping the same schedule and stick to it every day.

    Even though the time it takes you to finish studying will vary daily, try to keep it at least similar every day. On a daily basis, about two hours of continuous studying should be enough. Going to classes regularly is just 50% of the work. The rest is done at home.

    Equipping Your Study Area with All the Materials You Need

    Your desk area should be properly equipped for a study session. You will need pencils, erasers, pens, paper clips, a dictionary, a stapler, snacks, and water. For some assignments, you may even need a calculator.

    Having all the necessary equipment within the reach of your hand will help you study without any interruptions.  Don’t answer your calls unless it’s urgent. You can let your answering machine do the job for you.

    Don’t Rely on Inspiration for Motivation

    One mistake you absolutely shouldn’t do is to wait for the inspiration to hit you in order to start studying. You need to start preparing for your exams on time. Start early so that you can part your lessons into mini sections you can do daily for an extended period of time.

    Use a Well-Kept Notebook to Improve Your Grades

    Believe it or not, there is a definite correlation between having a sense of order and having high grades. Being able to quickly find materials as soon as you need them is crucial.

    That is why you should separate different sections of your notebook for each subject you have. Also, try to keep track of your deadlines and exams on a calendar that you can incorporate in your notebook.

    Gathering all of this information and putting it in one place can help you stay organized and on top of your assignments. This is a great example of good time management.

    Study in an Adequate Environment

    Choosing the right environment for studying is very important, especially if staying concentrated is your problem.

    Your studying area should be a quiet and pleasant place. It should also be free from any distractions.

    Also, you will study better if you study in the same area every day.

    The environment you study should be calming. If your preferred area is your desk, then you should try to incorporate as many soothing features as possible. For instance, the presence of nature is always good for both your health and concentration.

    That’s why you should buy flowers online and decorate your studying desk with greenery. This will allow a higher airflow and provide you would plenty of oxygen to get your brain working more efficiently.

    Make Use of “Trade Secrets”

    Flashcards can be a great study tool. On the front of the card write an important phrase or term. Then use the back of the card to write down its definition.

    Carry your flashcards wherever you go. That way you can pull them out whenever you have time and revise the knowledge. You can do this while standing in line at the store, sitting on the bus, or stuck in the traffic. It’s quick and easy, and it will quickly refresh your memory of what you are studying.

    Take Good Notes as Insurance Against Forgetting

    Learn how to take effective notes during your lectures. It’s important that you write down all of the important points and several additional comments your professor makes. This way, it will be much easier for you to remember what you covered that day in class.

    Good notes are essential for that quick review before the exam. Otherwise, you will have to go over the whole assignment, read it again, and prepare from scratch which will take longer to finish.

    In most cases, you will have to read between 100 and 300 pages of material. However, if you have your notes, you won’t be having this kind of problem.

    Overlearning Material Enhances Memory

    This might come as a surprise, but overlearning will actually help you remember the study material better. Experts claim that after you reach the point where you can say "I know this material," you should keep studying for about one-fourth of the time you spent studying it.

    One classic example of this type of learning is the alphabet because you learn it through constant recitation. Try to learn the material multiple times in various different ways by touching, writing, hearing, and saying it.

    other valuable tips:

    Review the Material Frequently

    Lastly, try to review the material as many times as possible. If you don’t review your material regularly, you have a risk of forgetting about 80% of what you’ve learned.

    The first review should occur shortly after you have studied the material for the first time. By reviewing it so early you create a safeguard against forgetting it quickly. It helps you remember it for a longer time too.

    Additionally, doing your reviews frequently will alleviate your pre-exam anxiety. This way you will be confident in your own knowledge and be sure that you are 100% ready to nail the exam.


    All things considered, studying for the exams properly requires a lot of discipline and patience. You need to give yourself enough time and space. Make sure you are studying in a healthy environment and read to actually understand the material, and not just remember it to reproduce it the way it is.

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