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Study smart

student studying in the Thomas Riley building

Ramp up your study skills with these tips from the pros in Academic Coaching.   

Plan your study sessions

Make studying a priority! Look at your calendar and schedule specific study sessions for each subject.

Consider, when do you need to be in your study area to work on school assignments? When are your classes? What time of day do you work best?

Creating a schedule and following a routine can help you feel more productive, more in control and more accountable. Plus, it helps set boundaries around your time and reduce distractions. This is especially important when learning remotely.

Set goals

Make a list of study goals and check them off as you complete them. This is not only a great way to organize yourself but can help increase motivation as you complete tasks. Consider making a daily to-do list with your top three to five tasks.

🗓 Activate your study skills | Thursday, Sept. 9, 3 pm | Register now

Organize your study space

Your physical environment can make or break your study sessions, so be intentional about it. Choose a spot free that’s free of distractions and comfortable (but not too comfy!). Make sure you have the proper technology and equipment. Try to separate your study area from the space you use for relaxation.

Create an environment that helps you focus:

Look for natural light


Add some ambient noise instead of music

You can also try music without lyrics check out a study playlist on Spotify or YouTube.


Designate a single study spot


Maybe include a plant or even a pet


Eliminate distractions

Try to eliminate as many noisy distractions as possible. Turn off the TV, put your phone on silent, close the window and consider using ear plugs or noise-cancelling headphones. 

Preview and review daily

You wouldn’t jump into a soccer match without warming up, right? Treat your brain the same way. Each day before class, spend 30 minutes previewing new material. Skim your textbook and preview PowerPoint slides and videos. Then, after class, spend 30 minutes reviewing. Read over your notes, clean them up, complete assigned readings and clarify anything you’re unsure of.

Pro tip: Aim to review within 24 hours after class.

This cycle of preview and review is one of the best proven methods for storing information in your long-term memory.

Take regular study breaks and change it up

Capitalize on how the brain processes information — study in short sessions and schedule breaks throughout. Divide each hour of study into three 20-minute blocks and dedicate the last few minutes of each block to getting a drink, having a snack or stretching. 

Plus, mixing up your study subjects helps you be more attentive. Try using a timer to keep yourself on track.


Sleep well and get moving

It pays to prioritize sleep. Did you know that sleep is a factor in learning? Being sleep deprived not only limits your ability to learn new information but also makes it hard to recall information you already know. Stay well rested and — even better — add in some regular exercise each day too. This will help you stay alert, maintain motivation and reduce stress.

Review your learning objectives

Check your course outline for a learning objective refresh — they’re basically a road map for your course. Learning objectives can give you a good idea of where to focus your time and provide direction on what to study. You can even turn them into questions, as a way to test yourself on course content.

Study actively — don’t just read through your notes

Make additional notes, create flash cards, take practice tests, study with a group online. Active studying helps you remember content better.

✔️ Get more helpful advice on how to study smart — connect with a coach!

👉 Next up — ace that test. Write exams like a pro with these expert tips.

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