teens banner

Study Skills

How to Study

Are you having a hard time getting yourself to study? Read on for tips and tricks on making studying easier for yourself. Most of these tips come from How to Study for Success, so if you want to learn more, feel free to check out that title.

Pay attention in class

It’s a lot harder to study for a test if you have to start from scratch. Paying attention in class is your first step to preparing for assignments and tests later, and goes hand in hand with the next tip, making good notes in class. Listen to what your teacher says, and how they say it. Don’t spend all your energy on writing down everything that they say. And listen for hints that what they are about to say is very important – and will possibly be covered on the next test. If they say something like:

·         Don’t forget that…

·         The important thing to remember is…

·         Pay attention to…

Pay attention to what your teacher says.

Also, pay attention to discussions that are going on in class – sometimes, your teacher will clarify a concept for you, or make some more hints about what will be covered on an upcoming test. If there are discussions going on in class, try to participate, either by asking questions or by commenting on something someone has said. Sometimes actively participating in a discussion will help you recall information later, or will help you to understand concepts better.

Make good notes in class

You won’t be able to go back to class to listen to lectures you might have missed, so it’s important to write everything down the first time around. But that doesn’t mean you should write down every single word your teacher says. If you’re too busy writing trivial details, you may miss some important information. If you’re taking the time to write something down, try to make sure that it’s not something that is repeated in your textbook or in a handout, because that’s a waste of your time.

You’ll probably be using these notes to review from later. If you write them in your own words from the very beginning, they’ll be easier for you to read and understand later.

Organize your study space

Having a good place to work will make it much easier for you to do your homework. When setting up your work space, make sure it’s well lit and does not have too many distractions. Try to keep the clutter to a minimum – having loose papers and such around will not help you keep track of where your assignments are and when they have to be handed in.

When we say avoid distractions, we mean that you probably don’t want to set up your study space in front of the television, or the computer. Consider turning your phone off, or putting it on silent, and not checking it for at least half an hour or so (or maybe until your assignment is done).

Once you’ve got the perfect place for you to do your work, it’s time to get to it.

Do your homework

Most students will do their homework because they have to, because they know that their parents or teachers are going to ask to see their homework and make sure that it’s done. That’s a fine reason for doing your homework – but not the best one. Why do you think your teacher assigned you homework in the first place? It’s probably because they want you to really understand what it is you’re learning about, and that sometimes means working from home.

When you’re working on a project, you should start off by looking at the assignment sheet over again, and make notes on what you need to do and what order you need to do them in. If you just start by diving into the assignment, you might feel overwhelmed and need to start over. If you don’t understand what is being asked of you, review your class notes or your textbook to refresh your memory of what you have already learned.

When you have homework or an assignment due, make your life a little bit easier and start preparing ahead of time. The day you get an assignment, spend ten minutes trying to decide how long you think your assignment will take you, and then look and see if this assignment overlaps with other assignments.

Summarize your notes

If you have been taking good notes in class, you’ll probably have a lot of reading to do before a test. It will be easier to read over your notes if you try to condense them into a few pages of important things to remember. Look at your notes for each day, and pick out the important parts that you think you will be quizzed on. Just reading your notes over again will help you to refresh your memory, which is step one for studying for a test.

You can also do this by typing your notes up. It might take a long time to type up your notes, but if you do, they’ll be much easier for you to read (and find).

Additional resources

If you’re looking for other tips on learning how to study, we have many books in the library on this topic. Check out the books on this booklist, and feel free to place them on hold so you can come and pick them up.

Study Skills

Works Cited

How to Study for Success. Hoboken: John Wiley and Sons, 2004. Print.