Tips on Studying Smart

If you have come across this article, then it is either you were desperate to ace/pass an exam, or you are someone who thought – “hey, this can be helpful in the future”. Well, that puts a lot of pressure on me. I better give some good advice.


Everyone has surely experienced something they needed to study for, be it a report, a quiz or a major exam. I guess nobody wants to fail a test. Well, I myself have been through a lot of studying in my life. In fact when I was still in grade school, I was always excited to study – I read the preface of the book (That was hilarious). On the contrary as time went by, I learned the whole gist of study habits which aided me to accomplish and be productive as much as possible when studying. I want to share some of these tips and habits, and I hope this may assist you in every way possible. These are the tips and tricks to study Smarter rather than Longer. Here we go!

1. Study in advance

All the tips listed below will be nothing if this can’t be accomplished. Always try to anticipate when the exam will be happening, the type of exam, and the difficulty level of the exam you will be taking. This is an effective method to really absorb and understand the topic you are studying. On the other hand – this can help boost your confidence while answering, since you have a long duration of preparation. Confidence is everything.

2. Small short chunks

The more, the merrier?” – Well not in studying. Try to avoid studying four or more hours straight. Don’t worry, I am also much guilty on this habit. Research shows that study sessions are most effective in “small short chunks”. Instead of cramming 10 hours nonstop, it is more effective to spread out on a 20-30 minutes study session over a few weeks. Our brain can better absorb short and repeated session than a long bulky one. This may not be true to the habits of everyone, but hey! It’s evidenced based practice.

3. No Overnighters

These are for the “crammers”. Try to avoid studying overnight – this is not effective. After prolonged nocturnal sessions – reasoning and memory will surely be affected. Instead, try to set a time during the day when to study and do this throughout the week. Thus this tip can also be combined to the tip above – “small short chunk”.

4. Set Specific goals

We all have experienced when we tend to clump a pile of book and try our best to read as much book as we can. Well, this might not be that very effective. Try to list specific and concise goals when studying for that specific day. In congruence to my Nursing career, I call this “daily plan of activities”. Try to list down every specific action on a specific time frame. For example – from 1pm to 2pm “I’m going to read chapter one”. This is really helpful to maximize and track your time when studying.

Daily plan of Activities
sample “Daily plan of Activities”

5. No Music

Some of us have gotten used to studying while listening to a favourite track on our mp3’s or phones. Yet unfortunately “Spotify pips”, according to recent studies – this can be detrimental to focus. In contrast, individuals who studies on a quiet surrounding have better outcomes. So the next time you see someone studying with an earphone on their ears – always think, your studying the better way.

6. Flash cards

Not everything you read will retain instantly. Its very useful to have an index card, or based on my personal experience –use a small booklet. You can specifically write everything you still don’t know something you need to memorize. These flash cards or booklets are very handy and convenient. When you are commuting or doing nothing as of the moment, you can pop it open from your pocket and read. A good and productive way to maximize time.

7. Sacred place

We all have a sacred and sweet place when we study. It can be our own room, the living room, dining table, a sweet shop, Starbucks? Try to study where you are comfortable being at. A place where everything you needed for studying is ready and set to go. “I need Caramel Frappuccino to study” – Starbucks pips.

8. Practice makes Perfect… but nobody’s…Pra..c..

Practice, practice and practice. This is one of the most effective ways to be ready and answer the tests well. This boost your confidence and familiarity towards the topic being learned and studied. On the other hand, it will harness your time management when answering which lessens anxiety because it will give you more time to review your paper before passing.

9 . Put away your phone

Really? Should I still continue? Put away your phone, and stop multi-tasking. You can always do that at the end of your study session. Treat it as a reward, that you will be able to use your phone or laptop after you have finished studying.


That was it! I hope it had enlightened you in any way possible, and may it help everyone as they start flipping the pages of their book/ e-books.
Education has been a very important part of our live. Students are fighting a battle everyday at school. A particular person told me once – “Strive and work hard today, so tomorrow you won’t have to – rather than slacking today, and tomorrow you’ll be working hard”



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