Skip to main section

9 Studying Tips That'll Help You Through Your Degree

Having a personal studying technique can help you pursue your degree more confidently.

Everyone has their own learning style, which means when it comes to studying, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. Figuring out which study style helps you best understand and retain information for that upcoming exam can take some experimentation. Check out these tips to home in on studying techniques that work best for you.

1. Vary study locations

Changing up where you study keeps things fresh, helps you focus and improves retention. Instead of spending hours in one place, move around to different rooms. If you usually study at home, try going to a café or the library. Laurie Lee, senior student services coach, suggests finding a calm and peaceful setting to help you focus better. If weather permits, an outdoor space, like a patio, may offer a serene change. Lee says that finding inspiration in your surroundings may have a positive outcome on being able to maintain focus. A change in the norm could spark a new outlook on things.

2. Take periodic breaks

Instead of studying for a long block of time, split it into shorter sessions with frequent breaks in between to refresh and refocus. Try studying for 60-90 minutes then taking short 10–25 minute study breaks. This can help you optimize your attention and absorb information more effectively. Taking breaks can also help to temporarily relax your focus, allowing you to return to your work feeling more refreshed and with renewed energy. Instead of jumping on social media during a study break, try decompressing with some meditation or music.

3. Eat healthy snacks

There’s a reason some healthy meals and snacks are called “brain food.” What you eat can affect your memory and concentration. Topping the list are omega-3 fatty acids. Research suggests that healthy fats build brain and nerve cells and are essential for learning and memory. Salmon and certain nuts are a great source of omega-3s. And here’s some good news: dark chocolate comes with a few brain-boosting benefits. So you can feel good when you reach for that sweet treat. Maintaining a healthy diet (including snacks) can help you stay sharp, while also giving you the energy you need to hit the books.

4. Take a walk

It’s common knowledge that exercise has a variety of health benefits. But it turns out, studies show, that regular exercise can improve recall and memory, too. So next time you have a big exam, be sure to make some time for exercise. Doing something as simple as taking a walk may be good for your body – and your mind.

5. Get a good night’s sleep

Sleep is necessary for good physical health, but it’s also important for processing information. When you sleep, your brain preserves key memories and discards excess information. This is called memory consolidation. Memory consolidation is especially important when you’re learning new things. Sleeping well after studying can help you consolidate and retain this new information. A good night’s sleep can not only make you feel better, but it can make you learn better, too.

6. Write it down 

Using paper may seem archaic in this digital age, but a study has shown that writing on physical paper can lead to improved memory. Researchers believe the spatial and tactile information that comes with writing is what prompts this improvement. Incorporate physical writing into your studying techniques and see if this tactic is effective for your learning.

7. Recopy your notes

You should take notes during classes and as you’re studying, but actually rewriting these notes afterward reinforces the information in your mind. Rather than typing your notes, write them by hand, which forces you to focus more closely on what you’re learning. And if you used shorthand the first time, write everything out so it’s clearer when you reread your notes.

8. Leverage technology 

Although things like social media and email can definitely create digital distractions, technology may also actually help you maintain your focus. There are several downloadable apps with this very goal. For example, Forest offers a visual incentive to stay off any websites on your blocked list, and Freedom helps you block distractions on all your devices simultaneously. Additionally, you can create limitations through your phone settings with Screen Time for Apple users and Digital Wellbeing for Android. Next time you have some studying to do, see if you can make technology helpful in the battle against distractions.

9. Turn on a playlist

Many people say that listening to music helps them study better. And research supports this, suggesting that music may be good for focus and concentration. A study shows that students who listened to classical music during a lecture performed better on a quiz than those who didn’t. However, other research shows that music with lyrics may cause distraction. Why not see what some classical music does for you during your next study session?

Studying looks different for every student. Try new things to see what works best for you. Once you find what works, reaching your academic goals may feel a bit more seamless and enjoyable.

Looking for support to help you pursue your degree more confidently? Learn more about your Strayer support system.


Category: Motivation & Inspiration

Published Date: NOVEMBER 2, 2023