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How to Study: Proven Techniques and Strategies

College
by Bold Org Editorial Team
January 25, 2024
10 min read
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In order to obtain the best grades in school to support your future endeavors, we encourage you to learn the nuances of how to study. Solidifying a proper game plan could be the reason behind your success and getting you to an A-level performer.

A stellar transcript will often lead to greater opportunities, so it is to your benefit to work hard to achieve it. While the question pertaining to something as simple as studying might feel easy, there are many things that are often overlooked. 

Recognizing the significant role that academic performance plays in shaping future opportunities, we at Bold.org have dedicated ourselves to supporting students in their educational journeys. The insights we share in this article are rooted in an awareness of the unique challenges and goals students encounter as they discover the study techniques that work best for them.

Whether you are a student in high school or college preparing for exams or someone simply interested in acquiring new knowledge for the fun of it, this article will equip you with valuable techniques needed to maximize your learning ability.

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Recognizing Your Learning Style

Before we flesh out specific study techniques, you must first understand your unique learning style to figure out which one would be the most applicable. Acknowledging how you process information can significantly enhance your studying experience.

In fact, individuals with different preferences in terms of learning are encouraged to tailor their methods accordingly to boost retention and comprehension.

Recognizing Your Learning Style

The Importance of Knowing Your Learning Style

By recognizing your dominant learning style, you can adapt your study techniques to align with your strengths. Distinguishing between whether or not you are a visual learner, auditory learner, or kinesthetic learner will help you optimize those study sessions.

Knowing your learning style can perhaps help you master learning and work around any challenges you may face during your academic journey. For example, visual learners might have a tough time understanding concepts presented solely through lectures.

Even though the instructor might be among the best, in order to fill the gap, these students would benefit from additional exposure. By incorporating visual aids such as charts, diagrams, and notes into your study routine, you can enhance your understanding and retention of the material.

Different Types of Learning Styles

To provide the best study tips, here are the different learning styles and the learning techniques associated with each:

  • Visual Learners: Visual learners adapt best through the utilization of charts, diagrams, and color-coded class notes, as they can provide an alternative to retaining the information. Visual learners often benefit from creating mind maps or flowcharts to visually combine complex concepts with each other.
  • Auditory Learners: As an auditory learner, there is more emphasis on listening over the other senses. Reading aloud, discussing concepts with others, or listening to educational podcasts can be highly beneficial. Similarly, auditory learners may also record lectures or class discussions, which is useful for listening to them later to solidify their understanding.
  • Kinesthetic Learners: If you're a kinesthetic learner, having hands-on activities like creating models can greatly improve your comprehension. On the other hand, kinesthetic learners may also benefit from engaging in physical activities while studying, such as pacing or using a stress ball.

Remember, everyone has a unique blend of learning styles, and it's possible to have preferences from more than one category. For example, some course material might require various approaches and study methods. Experiment with different study skills and find what works best for you. Understanding your learning style is the first step towards becoming a more effective and efficient learner.

Different Types of Learning Styles

Creating a Study Schedule

Upon discovering your learning style, you will need to establish a study routine that works for you. A well-structured session helps you stay organized, discourages procrastination, and ensures consistency when working towards your goals.

Tips for Designing an Effective Study Schedule

Here are some study habits to help you create a timeline that maximizes your learning potential:

  1. Identify the peak learning hours: Recognize the time of day you feel most attentive and motivated to study and dedicate this time towards your tougher courses. This will ensure that you study effectively.
  2. Break it down: Instead of doing everything all at once, look into dividing your study sessions into shorter, fully concentrated chunks with several breaks in between. Studies reinforce that a shorter study session across time leads to better retention compared to one that is intensely long.
  3. Prioritize and set realistic goals: Focus your immediate attention on the most critical topics or tasks and allocate sufficient time for them. Set achievable goals that align with your overall study objectives.
  4. Stay flexible: Allow for some flexibility in your schedule to accommodate unexpected events or additional study needs. Adapting to changes ensures a more sustainable and less stressful study routine.

Organizing a study schedule moves beyond simply allocating time for studying; you must also focus on creating an environment that promotes focus and concentration. Find a quiet and engaging study space that will minimize any distractions coming in the way of your work.

calendar for studying

Another crucial aspect of creating a study schedule is setting aside time for self-care. Fulfilling the demands of your entire course load can be a lot, but neglecting your physical and mental well-being can hinder your progress. Make sure to include time in your schedule for exercise, relaxation, and socializing. Taking care of yourself will not only recharge your energy but also improve your overall study performance.

Lastly, you should aim to tweak your study schedule regularly. As you progress through the semester, you may find that certain subjects require more time or that your peak learning hours have shifted. By regularly evaluating and adjusting this schedule, you can ensure that it reflects your evolving needs.

Choosing the Right Study Environment

The environment where you facilitate your own learning also plays a significant role in your focus and productivity. By carefully assessing the aspects that make a productive study environment, you will create an atmosphere conducive to learning and optimize your study sessions.

Noise Level

One of the first things to consider is the noise level and distinguishing which is optimal for you. Different individuals have different preferences when it comes to studying in silence or with some background noise.

Some thrive in libraries, whereas others prefer complete silence or find comfort in the gentle hum of a coffee shop or the quiet buzz of a study room more stimulating. Experiment with different noise levels to find what works best for you.

Comfort

Comfort is another often overlooked factor to consider when selecting a study environment. It's critical to pick a space that allows you to sit comfortably for a great deal of time. Look for ergonomic chairs that will provide sufficient support to your back and neck. A supportive desk that allows for proper posture is also essential.

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Creating a Distraction-Free Study Environment

In order to get the most out of your studying, you need to create a game plan to avoid focusing on side distractions. Here are a few strategies that will eliminate hindrances to your study strategies.

  • Turn off electronic distractions: Either shut off or silence your phone, close unnecessary browser tabs, and even go as far as to use apps or browser extensions that block social media and other distractions. This will give you the opportunity to stay focused on your studies without the constant temptation to check your phone or browse the internet.
  • Inform others: Communicate your need for uninterrupted study time to family members or roommates so that you know to steer clear during that time. Keep them informed about your study schedule and the importance of respecting your boundaries. By establishing these clear expectations, you can decrease interruptions and create a more focused environment.
  • Organize your study materials: Keep your study area organized by managing your books, notes, and stationery across the space tidily. A clean environment promotes clarity and will encourage stronger work. To make the most of your space, invest in storage solutions such as shelves, drawers, or organizers to keep everything in its place.
Creating a Distraction-Free Study Environment

Effective Study Techniques

Here are a few study methods that have helped others retain information that may be useful in their respective learning styles. Let's explore three widely recognized techniques:

The Pomodoro Technique

The Pomodoro Technique involves studying for a declared amount of time, which is typically between 25 to 30 minutes, followed by a short break (around 5 minutes). After successfully completing four study sessions, you may take a more extended break (15-30 minutes). This study method helps combat burnout, enhances focus, and enhances productivity by allowing you to break up the course material between breaks.

The Feynman Technique

The Feynman Technique, derived after the renowned physicist Richard Feynman, highlights the concept of "learning by teaching." This technique largely focuses on explaining concepts in simple, easy-to-understand terms as if you were teaching it to someone else. By doing so, you identify gray areas in your knowledge, enabling you to fill those gaps and reinforce your understanding.

The SQ3R Method

The SQ3R Method (Survey, Question, Read, Recite, Review) is most effective when studying textbooks and other written material. Begin by surveying the chapter or text to get a general overview. Next, generate questions based on headings or subsections. Then, read the material attentively, making note of key points. After reading, recite or summarize the information aloud in your own words.

Maintaining Motivation While Studying

As the year treads on, it can be challenging to stay on top of your high school and/or college classes. However, with a few strategies, you can boost your motivation and achieve your goals.

Setting Achievable Study Goals

Break down your long-term objectives into smaller, actionable steps. Celebrate each milestone you reach, and use these achievements to propel yourself forward.

Using Rewards to Boost Motivation

Rewards can be powerful motivators to keep you engaged and focused. After accomplishing a study goal, treat yourself to something that provides you happiness, whether that be a favorite snack, a leisure activity, or spending time with friends. These rewards serve as positive reinforcement and help maintain your motivation.

Using Rewards to Boost Motivation

Dealing with Study Stress

Stress is an inevitable part of the study process, but learning helpful tips on how to mitigate it is essential for your overall well-being and academic success. Allowing stress to consume you can have detrimental impacts on any person.

Recognizing Signs of Study Stress

The most common signs of stress related to school include difficulty concentrating, mood swings, sleep disturbances, feelings of overwhelm, and decreased motivation. You should keep an eye out for these signs so that they can be addressed promptly.

Techniques for Managing Study Stress

To manage study stress, consider implementing the following techniques:

  • Conduct daily breathing exercises or meditation to promote relaxation and reduce anxiety.
  • Engage in regular physical activity to elevate mood and reduce stress.
  • Take regular breaks during study sessions to prevent burnout and give your mind time to recharge.
  • Participate in hobbies and activities you enjoy to release stress and enhance overall well-being.

The Importance of Regular Review

It is impossible to memorize everything you have learned in the first interaction with it. Reviewing previously learned material helps reinforce your understanding and strengthens memory recall. Revisiting information at increasing intervals over time enhances retention compared to cramming the night before.

Effective Revision Techniques

Implement the following revision techniques to optimize your study sessions:

  • Writing concise notes and organized summaries of key concepts in all of the material.
  • Utilize flashcards or mnemonic devices to aid memorization.
  • Use practice quizzes or self-testing material to further solidify your understanding and identify areas of improvement.
utilizing technology

Utilizing Technology in Studying

With today's reliance on technology, there are multiple platforms that offer a plethora of tools and resources to enhance your studying experience.

Helpful Study Apps and Tools

Here are a few popular study apps and tools to boost your productivity and organization:

  • Evernote: A versatile note-taking app that allows you to organize your notes, create to-do lists, and save web pages for later reference.
  • Anki: A powerful flashcard app that uses spaced repetition to optimize memorization and long-term retention.
  • Forest: An app that helps you stay focused by encouraging you to put down your phone and resist distractions.

Online Study Resources

Furthermore, take advantage of the abundance of online study resources available. Websites such as Khan Academy, Coursera, and YouTube offer a wide range of educational videos and lectures, allowing you to access high-quality content from the comfort of your own home.

study-techniques-for-exam

Frequently Asked Questions About How to Study

How many hours should I study each day?

The ideal number of study hours can vary greatly from person to person based on factors like individual learning style, the complexity of the material, and personal commitments. However, it's often suggested that quality study time is more important than the quantity of hours spent.

What should I do if I am struggling with a subject?

If you find yourself struggling with a particular subject, do not feel afraid to ask your professor or teacher assistant for help. Courses are intended to challenge you, so do not shy away from taking advantage of the opportunities offered to you.

What should I do if I find a particular study method ineffective for me?

Do not be afraid to try new things and other methods. Learning which study method works for you takes some trial and error. As stated before, you might find that certain courses elicit different forms of thinking and learning as a result. Similarly, you might grow out of a style of learning, which is also acceptable. 

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