The best and worse ways to study

The Do's and Dont's

When it comes to college studying doesn’t need to be difficult. Most college students share the same struggles of finding productive studying habits. While not all methods work for everyone, using the process of trial and error will help you figure out what works best for you.

From one college student to another, the following advice can help you simplify your study routines by raising productivity, sharpening focus, enhancing attention, and reducing distractions. Once you are able to get into a routine of your own, studying will become that much easier and you won’t have to stress as much.

Studying is difficult. I am here to share with you what has helped me and what has hurt me. I hope any part of this can help you figure out what is good for you.

Do: Sort your notes

Because you won’t have to search through many locations, grouping your study materials by subject or chapter will save you time and frustration. Use different colored highlighters, folders, or sticky notes to color-code distinct areas of your notes into subtopics.

For me using different colors for everything helped me remember what I had written down or put together because I remembered what I associated the colors with. As silly and cliche as this sounds, sorting my notes and having a system was the best option for me.

Don’t: Cram

The need to learn rapidly makes cramming the night before an exam ineffective since it raises stress levels. Additionally, stress makes it more difficult for you to focus and remember information, If you try to cram for an exam the night before that will cause you to lose important sleep for the night before and cause you to forget everything you just studied.

The first midterm I studied for, I felt it came out of nowhere so when I noticed the night before that I didn’t study as much as I should have I rushed to look at everything from the book we were using. Needless to say, cramming did not work for me as I did not get the grade I wanted for the midterm.

Do: Change the setting

When deciding where I was going to stay on campus this year, I wanted to get away from the one-room dorm. I always found myself distracted by the things I had kept in my room. I had decided to move into Merrill because they offered two rooms together and described it as having a spot for a living area and a work area and I have not found myself distracted in that separate room away from everything.

Changing your study environment is crucial since it enhances learning and productivity. According to, switching up where you study will make it easier for your brain to retain the same material. As a result, your brain will perceive the information as worthwhile and valuable. You can improve your ability to remember information over the long run by changing where you study. The various associations of a study setting will assist in keeping the material fresh, enabling you to recall it throughout tests. Your brain associates information with the environment in which you are learning.

Don’t: Stay up too late

In my freshmen year, I assumed that if I stayed up late it wouldn’t affect me going into classes even if they were later in the day. By the end of the first semester I learned how wrong I was. Having a separate sleep and study schedule is key once you are able to learn to stick to it. I did that for my second semester and it worked wonders.

You may think that you can easily stay up all night studying, but getting at least seven to eight hours of sleep is more beneficial. explains that if you do not get a substantial amount of sleep the night before a test, it will be harder to concentrate and focus during the exam.

Do: Participate in study sessions and office hours

I have made it a habit since my first year of high school to reach out to all of my teachers and introduce myself, that way as the semester goes on if you keep a relationship with them it will be easier to ask them for help.

Your professor will see that you are a focused, diligent student if you come to office hours with questions. The more frequently you show up for your professors’ office hours, the more motivated they’ll be to support your academic success. If you are struggling all semester and you don’t ask for help it might be too late. Establish a good relationship with your professor as soon as possible.

Don’t: Mindless Study

Even while you may believe that reading your notes and looking at flashcards is sufficient preparation, until you frankly ask yourself what you don’t know, you may not remember the material.

I have started to make practice quizzes for myself and that helped show me what I knew and what I needed to study more.

Do: Handwritten Notes

When I was younger I was always told that if I wrote by hand while I was making study materials for myself it would help me later on when it came to studying for tests and exams because handwriting encourages the internalization of concepts and improves memory, it leads to greater quality learning than typing. As much as I use my laptop to use for notes I always make sure I have a notebook with me for the most important information to write down.

Use flashcards to jot down key terms and significant ideas; you can study with them anytime you have free time.

Don’t: Multitask

I used to be the master of multitasking when it came to studying… or so I thought. I had no problem watching a football game or listening to music while I was studying and always thought it was fine. There have been many times when I would find myself lost in all the extra stuff I was doing that I wouldn’t focus so much on my work and would forget a lot of the major information.

Attempting to handle several activities at once will reduce productivity and concentration. You can’t do your work to the best of your ability when you’re multitasking. A study from the American Psychological Association found that multitasking decreases productivity by 40%. Put your other work away and close any tabs on your computer that aren’t relevant and could distract you. Avoid attempting to complete other schoolwork while studying.