The Practice of Effective Studying

The practice of effective studying is a mystery to most. Sometimes, what works for other students just doesn’t work for you! However, there are a few lesser-known things you can do to improve your grades, reduce stress, and get the most of your time that I’ve found work for me. I recommend giving them a try!

One of the most popular strategies you hear preached is to keep a study diary that will allow you to block in dates and times for your study endeavours. While this is effective, most students don’t know what to write in their journals and end up losing track! I’ve found that the most effective way to maintain a diary is to block the due dates of your biggest tasks first and work backward to figure out how much you need to do each day leading up to it. Not only will this help you manage your time, but it will also allow you to finish other smaller tasks while keeping your more important tasks up to date! If you’re studying for a language test like I was the last term, you might find it helpful to block in a week for each part of your test (for me, this was one week of listening study and one week of reading comprehension study!)

Now, this tip might be a little less popular---and incredibly daunting---but if you’re struggling with your studies, ask your teachers for help. Organize lunchtimes to go over content with them. Send them as many emails as you need if you’re still in the dark. Raise your hand in class or see the teacher after. Clarity on a task is sometimes all you need to get started or to refine your work! Your teacher is there to help you, and there’s no better way to get ahead!

My third tip is to make a revision book. This is especially helpful for maths and science classes. While in class, take notes on the subject in your normal textbook, and after class (or during, while the content is still fresh in your mind) write key topics down in your revision book. When the time comes to begin studying, you’ll have a comprehensive list of everything you learned in class!

Finally, have fun with your studies. It isn’t always possible to enjoy the content you’re learning---I know for a fact that maths and science aren’t yet my strong suits---but by using these tips, keeping a growth mindset (see: ‘Aren’t yet my strong suits’) and finding out what works for you, you’ll make your studies infinitely more enjoyable. It’s important to prioritize your mental health over a letter or a percentage on a page, but that can be incredibly difficult when the stress of exams and assignments sets in. From someone who popular study tips hardly ever work for, know that you are capable of everything and more; it only takes finding out how you work best!

Bea Callander - Emeritus Editor