Do you spend most of your study hours reading a lesson over and over again, hoping something will just stick? If so, do you find yourself teetering on the edge of a burnout because your brain just can’t cope with all the incoming information? Well, if it is any consolation, you are not alone.

Truth be told, studying is hard, and the habits that worked for you in school might not serve you as well in college. This is entirely understandable because college is way more complicated and different. The classes at college are lengthier and each class brings with it more work.

So, navigating your college time, requires you to pick up some new and advanced study skills that ensures that you study smarter, not harder.

Here, are some ways you can incorporate smarter study skills to boost your academic performance.

  1. Learn to teach

As if you were a teacher, trying to explain something to a class full of students, explain whatever you read in your own words to an invisible audience. Saying the material aloud will help you in highlighting the areas where you are confused and require more information. Just like a teacher, you would proceed to explain with the help of examples and linking ideas. Incorporating this method has the added advantage for someone who is actually studying to be a teacher. Yes, a teacher is more than someone who comes to class to teach, and nowadays, with degrees like the C&I Masters in Leadership Degree you can fulfill your dreams of becoming a teacher that leads by example.

  1. Keep your notes organized

As simple as this advice sounds, it will drastically improve the quality of your study. Take detailed notes during classes that can be revised later for assignments and exams. It is preferable over rereading course material for test preparation, saving you hours in study time. Use numbered lists and bullet points to keep your note-taking process simple.

  1. Change your space (often)

Changing your location if you happen to find a certain material hard to absorb can help you with improving retention. Some ideal places for studying are as follows:

  • A coffee house
  • The garden
  • The public library
  • A recreation area
  • Your home office desk (if you have one)

Alternate between different locations to see which works for you.

  1. Give the Feynman Technique a whirl

Physicist Robert Feynman developed this organization-based learning method by connecting concepts that he wanted to know with the ones that he already knew. He developed a method of deconstructing and reconstructing ideas in a way that they could be explained to a five-year old. This is known as the Feynman system, and it has been used by students worldwide to learn complex topics.

  1. Collaborate with a study group. 

Why not socialize while you study? Get together with your friends, order a pizza and exchange ideas or put each other to the test. You might gain a new perspective on a subject or figure out a better way of approaching a task. Online groups can also help, though cyber-pizza isn’t as tasty.

  1. Rewrite the class notes 

You should bring out and organize the notes after each class. To organize, you’ll have to rewrite your notes. However, the aim should be to reduce the notes to the most essential information. Ideally, your rewritten notes should fit on one or two sheets of paper. During preparation for a test or exam, these sheets should be your primary study asset.

  1. Stick with prints

Tablets and other e-learning channels are easily accessible, however, studies show that traditional print materials still have an advantage when it comes to studying. Some researchers argue that embracing interactive habits such as clicking, pointing, and scrolling improves academic understanding, but more than 80% of students polled said they prefer a hard print to an electronic device when it comes to schoolwork and studying.

Additionally, when studying from a screen, students require more repetitions to learn the material than they do when studying from printed material. So ditch your laptops, phones, or other digital devices and stick to paper.

  1. Take good care of your body

When it comes to studying, we tend to overemphasize the mental aspect, neglecting the physical. Regular exercise can help you focus better and gives you more energy throughout the day. Many college students these days are sleep-deprived because of the overwhelming pressures of their studies, but a good night’s sleep should be prioritized for better concentration in the day.


The tips mentioned above can prepare you for much smarter studying in college. If you want to have more time on your hands to do the things you love, and still ace those exams, then these tips will help you. Learning how to study is a skill that can help you a lot to get ahead in life.

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