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8 STUDY TIPS FOR STUDENTS In High School, University, or College

by Helena Nikitopoulos

Contributing Writer, KBI Inspire Magazine

Four-Year English Bachelor’s Graduate from Western University, Helena Nikitopoulos offers study tips to students who struggle finding that perfect study schedule or routine.

"Teachers are there to help you, they are there to make sure you feel comfortable with the study material. If you feel embarrassed asking your teacher or professor questions, remember that many other students might have the same questions as you. It shows bravery and initiative to ask questions."

As someone who has had a learning disability for the majority of her life, studying did not always come easy. I often struggled knowing where to start if I had an upcoming test or even a small quiz to study for. Over the years, however, I learned how to organize myself in a way that made studying less overwhelming and more enjoyable. Whether that was finding a cute café to work in or finding an accountability partner, studying gradually turned into a moment (or several moments) of satisfaction and productivity. If you also struggle with knowing where or how to start studying, try the eight study tips listed below!
 

 

1. Find a fun study playlist. My personal favourites are: Mood Booster or Epic Drops. If you can’t focus when there are words in the song, try Classical Piano Music. If you like upbeat music with no words, try Work Focus - EDM. If white noise or people talking in the background helps you, try Coffee Shop Background Noise for Studying.
 

2. Try switching up your study space. If you are constantly in your room studying, your room no longer becomes your safe haven from school, but it constantly reminds you that Karl Marx was a communist or that y= mx+b (or whatever they teach you in math these days). Instead, study on campus or if you don’t have a campus to study on, study at a local café or a library and use the busy background noise as white noise for your studying.

3. Work with other people around you! If your friend(s) is busy, go to a semi-busy space by yourself. If there are other people working or studying just like you, it may motivate you to get things done. I always think: if they can do it so can I. 

4. Make sure your notes are easily accessible: try to number off your pages to keep them in order. You can also try colour coding your notes so that they align with each unit or each subject. If there are 4 units you need to study for, make every unit a different colour. If there are terms that you need to review more, write or underline them in red so you can come back to them. Use sticky notes as bookmarks to section off your notes. You will never want to return to your notes if they are difficult to understand so if typing out your notes will make it easier to read, go for it. At the end of the day, everyone organizes themselves differently. What matters most is that you can understand and access your notes easily. 

 

5. Always plan out your study schedule. If your test is on four units and starts November 12, start studying for it October 28 so you can dedicate October 30 - November 1 to unit one, November 2-4 to unit two, November 5-7 to unit three, November 8-10 to unit four, and use November 10-11 as a review session for all of the units. Suddenly four units becomes four chunks, each block dedicated to one unit. Thus, when you space and plan things out, studying becomes less overbearing and more doable. 

 

6. Prioritize. If unit 3 is the hardest unit, start with reviewing that unit and then move on to the others. This goes for social activities as well. For example, if there is a huge party coming up on the weekend, decide if studying for your unit test will benefit you more in the long run. Perhaps you can use going to the party as your reward for getting units one and two done that week. Always choose what will make you less stressed in the long run. In addition, set a timer for 30 minutes. Focus for those 30 minutes and then when the timer goes off, give yourself a break (e.g., watch a video of a cute animal or listen to a talk show like Family Feud). 

 

7. Always ask questions and seek help. Teachers are there to help you, they are there to make sure you feel comfortable with the study material. If you feel embarrassed asking your teacher or professor questions, remember that many other students might have the same questions as you. It shows bravery and initiative to ask questions (while also preparing you for your upcoming test). Moreover, studies have shown, such as Samoza, Sugay, Arellano, and Custodio’s study, An Evaluation of the Effect of Various Voice Qualities on Memory Retention, that students are more likely to recall class material by remembering their professor’s voice on the test. Thus, by paying attention in class and visiting office hours, on one time with your professor will help you remember critical information for your test.  

 

8. If you are a visual learner (or even if you aren’t), watch a YouTube or Khan Academy video explaining concepts that you struggle with. Lessons are often taught using a white board or a visual form of some kind. In addition, there are badges or awards you can win that will help motivate you to complete more lessons!