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Studying Smart: 5 Tips to Study More Effectively

You need to study smart, not just study hard.”

Don’t just memorise facts, you need to understand it.”

Have you ever been told that you need to study smart? Or do you constantly wonder how are you going to catch up while lagging behind in your studies? You may be pondering over what studying smart actually means. Here, we explore 5 key points to help you study smart and to perform better.

  1. Asking questions

Are you unsure of a new concept you have just learned? Or perhaps, you struggle to even understand the entire chapter even though your teacher has finished teaching it. Do not be afraid to approach your teachers or peers who are stronger in the subject for help. Also, do make use of resources such as online study materials or books to help you understand better.

As Carl Sagan says, “There are naive questions, tedious questions, ill-phrased questions, questions put after inadequate self-criticism. But every question is a cry to understand the world. There is no such thing as a dumb question.” [1]

  1. Review and practicing

It is a week before your midterms and you have not been consistently revising the earlier topics. Have you ever found yourself in such a situation?

It would be more effective to have regular weekly revisions, instead of cramming all the information within a couple of days. This technique known as spaced repetition, helps to strengthen the neuronal pathways in your brain. What this means is that you will be able to retrieve information stored in your brain much faster. [2]

  1. Sleeping well

Sleeping does not merely refresh our body with the physical rest it needs. In fact, it is a time when our brain works hard to form new memories and declutter information processed over the day. Having sufficient good quality sleep would help you with better memory and attention for the following day.

  1. Connect the dots

When learning something new, connecting the new facts with things we know (eg. In the form of words, images or concepts) helps us to remember and understand them quickly and easily.

This is the reason why acronyms such as “Dear King Philip Came Over For Good Soup” helps us to remember the order of taxa in Science easily (Domain, Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species).

  1. It’s all about the process

Last but not least, grades are certainly important, but the process of learning is often neglected along the way. Having a desire to learn, to not be afraid of failures are ultimately goals (#lifegoals) that will help us remain positive and strong for the rest of our lives. Will you choose to allow a C grade to make you remain demoralized or will you pick yourself up, challenge yourself to be better?

At the end of the day, every student wants a good balance of good grades, time with family, friends, health and time to pursue their interest. Striking a balance between all of these may not be easy, but it is never too late to start adapting good habits and taking on a good attitude towards learning.


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