Study Tips

Building good study habits will help you thrive in class and help you achieve the grade you deserve. The below tips will help you make your studying more effective and less stressful.

  1. Don't cram

You never want to reach a point where you are studying the night before an exam, cramming months of material into one highly stressful study session. Stress negatively affects memory and then your ability to learn and perform well on the test. Studying smaller amounts over the course of several days is a much more beneficial study method.

2. Eliminate distractions

While you're studying, silence your phone or leave it in another room. Turn off notifications on your computer if you're using it to study. Try to study somewhere relatively quiet with minimal distractions. Don't multi-task while studying, you retain less information if your focus is split.


Despite our best intentions, many of us end up with last-minute cram sessions or studying for hours at a time. It is important to recognize brain fatigue and do your best to combat it while studying. Give yourself the breaks you need. Study for 30 to 45 minutes at a time and then take a five minute break, during which make sure to physically leave your study space. Switching what class you are studying for or even what topic you are focusing on can also help fight brain fatigue by allowing your brain to focus on new material.

4. Re-reading is not studying

Re-reading textbooks and/or class readings is not an efficient or helpful way to study. Instead of simply re-reading the textbook, make study guides, outlines, and flashcards while reading. Cover up definitions and quiz yourself. Think about what topics and questions will likely be asked on the test and try to think up responses. In order to understand concepts and to remember them on the tests, you have to actively engage with your studying, not just passively re-read material.

5. practice, practice, practice!

One of the best ways to study is to do practice problems or tests. Often, your professors will post practice materials before major tests, but many can be found with a quick Google search. You can also make your own tests with tools such as Quizlet. Always try to find practice tests and problems with answer keys available, but don't cheat. The most useful part of taking these tests is seeing what you struggle with during the test and grading yourself afterwards to see what you missed.

6. teach someone else the material

One of the best ways to check your understanding of a topic is to try to explain it to someone else. Encourage them to ask questions. Often you will discover that you need to go back and review a concept or that you'd never made a connection between topics before that your "student" pointed out. Even explaining a concept to a pet will help you practice putting the concept in your own words and will help you remember it better.

7. study for the test

Most professors like to be clear about what they will expect from you on a test. Often they will post the format (number of questions, type of questions, how much time you'll have) and what units will be on the test. They might even post practice materials or outlines for the test itself. If you're preparing for an essay, they will likely provide a rubric for you to review. Make sure you look through this information as it will help guide your studying. You want to avoid as many surprises as you can on the test.

Check out our Online Study Tools page for additional tools to help your studying.