Nine effective study strategies

student studying in Waldo Library
Posted by Mckenzie Sharp on

We’ve all gone through the anxiety of studying for a test or quiz. Developing good study techniques will help you feel more prepared and reduce stress.  

Nine effective study strategies

1. Start early!  

Space out your content throughout the semester so you won’t feel overwhelmed when you study. Cramming the night before an exam is not ideal because it can lead to exhaustion and anxiety. Our tip: use a planner or a calendar app to keep track of when specific due dates and exams will be. Divide the work up over time so you feel less stressed and can double-check your work. 

2. Switch up your study environment 

Did you know that “switching up your study environment can increase recall performance?" ( Getting out of your dorm or apartment and into a new space can help you concentrate and get to work.  Remember:Waldo Library is open for students on weekdays and weekends.

3. Active Recall 

Increase your retention rate with active recall. This method helps you practice retrieving information stored in your brain. Ways to apply active recall can be either to teach someone what you have learned or quiz yourself.  Our tip: Create flashcards and check out a study room to quiz yourself or your classmates. 

4. Eliminate potential distractions 

Want to get work done, but keep getting distracted by TikTok? Try shutting your phone off temporarily or changing your environment to get away from your favorite ways to procrastinate. Our tip: Use Waldo Library’s individual study rooms or “Quiet Zone” areas located toward the back of the building on each floor. 

5. Make sure to take a break! 

Make sure to give your brain a break. Psychology Today (2020) advises learners to take five-minute breaks, noting that "constant attention to a particular thought or group of thoughts might just cause it to disappear from our awareness.”  This is known as the Pomodoro effect. Our tip: Use timed studying music videos on YouTube to pace yourself. Take a break and play a game in Waldo Library’s free VR lab

6. Use Virtual Reality 

Virtual reality can enhance studying through visual application. We recommend trying out Google Earth VR, creating art with Oculus Medium or creating parametrized functions and vector fields with Calcflow in Waldo Library's VR lab.

7. Sleep is especially important 

Get your beauty sleep! Psychology Today (2020) notes that “Studies have shown that sleep is essential for a few reasons — for one, the process of consolidating short-term memories to long-term ones happens in part during sleep.” 

8. Choose the right snacks 

Foods with a lot of sugar can give you a temporary boost of energy, but after you may feel more drained than before. Balance your snacks and meals by including protein, vegetables, fruits and nuts. Remember: Waldo Library’s Bookmark Café is located on the first floor and is open on Mondays through Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. 

9. Listen to instrumental music 

If you are someone who has headphones on all the time, listening to instrumental music can help focus the mind.