Study Smart not Hard is now a common phrase among college students but what does it really mean?
Although hard labor is highly commended, it appears that studying smart makes it simpler to accomplish the goal of studying hard. For them to receive good grades, students must work very hard in their studies.
Working intelligently is just as important as making an effort in one’s studies. While students who study diligently but inefficiently may only receive an average grade, those who invest their efforts wisely and appropriately have a higher likelihood of achieving success.
Actually, studying smartly calls for additional effort. As a result, learning wisely and studying hard cannot be easily separated. When people hear the word “smartness” at school, it typically connotes a meaning that implies being crafty and finding a means to pass your tests with little to no act of studying.
Why I Should Study Smart not Hard
Studying smart rather than studying hard has a number of advantages. Several of which include:
You become an excellent student
Studying smart requires some effort, and investing time learning the key concepts and topics will help you both prepare for exams and do well on them.
A student who consistently reviews the material covered in class for the day won’t need to do much studying during the exam period because he or she has been learning it well.
All that remains for you to do now is revise and look for additional material to assist widen your horizons. By doing this, you improve your academic performance. You may keep your motivation for learning high with clever studying.
You become creative
Developing more effective study strategies that enable you to quickly integrate and recall knowledge is a key component of studying smart. Being organized and planning your studies in a way that makes learning simple will help you become more creative.
When you study smart, you can solve problems that arise with ease and learn some fundamental life skills in the process. You strive to connect and relate the things you already know. Being creative when studying is necessary.
It helps the brain to become sharper
Your ability to process material, memorize details, and recall information will enhance with smart studying. When you study wisely, you break information down into smaller pieces. This helps train the brain to hold and store new information as it is received.
It helps you remember information easily
This is the key justification for why we always suggest that students study smartly. You have a better chance of remembering what you have studied if you study in a comfortable setting with few distractions, break up your study material into manageable chunks, use mnemonics, and use other effective studying techniques.
This is because the information will always stick with you and in your memory.
The memory becomes more adept at recalling information even when it has been a while.
It teaches you time management
You always use time wisely when you are a clever student. In order to study smart, keep in mind that you must study effectively, not excessively. Therefore, having good time management skills is a given if you are a student who studies effectively.
When you study smart, you will have a schedule that allows time for each study session. You should use the time allotted and try to avoid procrastination.
It boosts your confidence and self-esteem
How would you feel if you knew you have covered all the crucial material in a subject? You’ll have courage and confidence as you walk inside the examination room. Studying smart can increase your self-esteem and confidence in your abilities.
Because you can always see the results of your efforts, you like learning and give it your all with this.
It reduces anxiety about tests, exams, and deadlines
Because they have prepared themselves beforehand, students who study smart don’t become apprehensive and nervous while tests are approaching.
As a student, you should consistently put in at least 30 to 60 minutes of study time each day, as well as review or go over the material you have already learned. This will help you comprehend the subject matter better and get ready for exams.
You don’t need to cram when you study smart. A crammer is not a good learner, and cramming is a negative reading habit. Never only study to pass your exam; always study to learn.
See our article on How To Study For A Test, it will benefit you a lot!
How to Study Smart not Hard – Studying 101
For efficient study habits, there are several suggestions. You can efficiently and effectively learn the course information by incorporating these strategies into your usual study regimen. Find some that are effective for you by experimenting with them.
- Reading is not studying
- Understand the Study Cycle
- Spacing out is good
- It’s good to be intense
- Silence isn’t golden
- Problems are your friend
- Reconsider multitasking
- Switch up your setting
- Become a teacher
- Take control of your calendar
- Use downtime to your advantage
- Use all your resources
Reading is not studying
Reading passages or notes repeatedly without actively participating in them is not active reading. Just go over your notes again. Studying is more than just completing the assigned readings. It’s just reading for class, as the name suggests. Rereading causes forgetting to happen quickly.
Consider reading as a crucial component of pre-studying, but remember that acquiring knowledge involves involvement with the subject (Edwards, 2014). Making connections to lectures, creating examples, and controlling your own learning are all parts of the process of actively engaging with a text and developing meaning from it (Davis, 2007).
Active learning does not entail rote memorization, highlighting or underlining text, or repeated reading. Although they could keep you focused on the work at hand, these activities are not regarded as active study methods, and they have only a tenuous connection to better learning (Mackenzie, 1994).
Active learning suggestions include:
- Make a topical study guide. Create problems and queries, then fully flesh out your responses. Make a quiz of your own.
- Take up teaching. As if you were the instructor presenting the ideas to a class, read the facts out loud in your own words.
- Draw analogies from your personal experiences.
- Make diagrams or concept maps to help explain the subject.
- Create symbols to represent ideas.
- Determine the main concepts for non-technical classes (such as English, History, and Psychology) so you can compare, contrast, and reassess them.
- Work on the problems in technical classes, then go over the solutions and the reasoning behind them.
- Question, supporting data, and conclusion from the study: What is the instructor’s/question? author, What proof do they offer? What is the conclusion?
Planning ahead and being organized will enable you to actively study for your classes. Organize your materials before starting your active review by topic when preparing for an exam (Newport, 2007). On the syllabus, professors frequently list subtopics.
To help you organize your materials, use them as a guide. As an illustration, compile all the resources for one subject (such as PowerPoint notes, textbook notes, articles, assignments, etc.) and arrange them in a pile. A study by subjects, tagging each pile with the relevant topic.
Understand the Study Cycle
Frank Christ established the Study Cycle, which breaks down the various components of studying: previewing, attending class, reviewing, learning, and confirming your understanding. Although each stage may appear straightforward at first glance, students frequently attempt to cut corners and lose out on chances for effective learning.
A key opportunity to learn in multiple learning modes (reading, listening, and speaking) and to gain from repetition and distributed practice (see #3 below) that you’ll get from both reading ahead of time and attending class may be missed, for instance, if you skip a reading before class because the professor covers the same material in class.
You may prevent missing opportunities to learn effectively by being aware of the significance of each stage of this cycle.
Spacing out is good
Distributed practice, which involves spreading out your study time over a number of brief times over a number of days and weeks, is one of the most effective learning tactics (Newport, 2007).
The best method is to spend a modest amount of time studying for each lesson each day. Even while your overall study time will be the same (or less) than one or two all-nighters in the library, you will learn the material more thoroughly and remember it for a longer period of time, which will help you score an A on the final.
Not how long you study, but how you spend that time, is what matters. Long study sessions result in a lack of focus, which hinders learning and memory retention.
You need control over your schedule if you want to spread out your studies over multiple days and weeks. You can include consistent active studying periods for each class by keeping a list of daily chores to do. Make an effort to participate in each lesson each day.
Be explicit and reasonable when estimating the amount of time you will spend on each work; your list shouldn’t contain more items than you can feasibly finish in a single day.
For instance, you might work on a few arithmetic questions each day as opposed to doing them all in the hour before class. In history, you can actively study your course materials for 15 to 20 minutes each day.
As a result, even though your studying time will remain the same, you will be studying for all of your classes in quick bursts as opposed to just one. This will support concentration, task management, and information retention.
Spreading out your work not only promotes deeper learning but also prevents procrastination. You can deal with the unpleasant project for 30 minutes each day, rather than having to do it for four hours on Monday.
A dreaded project will probably be more tolerable and less likely to be postponed until the very last minute if you work on it for a shorter, more regular period of time. Last but not least, it’s recommended to create flashcards for any stuff you need to recall for class (names, dates, formulas) and review it throughout the day rather than doing it all at once (Wissman and Rawson, 2012).
It’s good to be intense
Not all learning is created equal. If you work hard at your studies, you will achieve more. Intensive study sessions are brief and will help you finish your work quickly and efficiently. Longer study sessions are less productive than shorter, more focused sessions.
In actuality, dividing up study time into several sessions is one of the most effective study techniques (Newport, 2007). Intensive study sessions can last for 30 or 45 minutes and incorporate active learning techniques. Self-testing is one active study technique that increases the quantity and effectiveness of learning.
On the other hand, planning to self-test for hours on end is probably going to make you lose focus.
Contrarily, you are much more likely to keep your interest and recall the information if you schedule a 45-minute break in between quizzes on the course subject. Additionally, the sessions will be shorter and more intensive, which will probably increase the pressure required to avoid procrastinating.
Silence isn’t golden
Know where you learn best. You might not feel comfortable in the silence of a library. It’s crucial to think about what kind of noisy environment suits you the best. It’s possible that background noise helps you focus more effectively.
While some people find it to be excessively distracting, others find that listening to classical music while studying helps them concentrate.
The argument is that the silence of a library might be much more distracting than the commotion of a gym. So, if you prefer to study in a quiet environment but find silence distracting, try the first or second levels of the library where there is more ambient noise.
Always keep in mind that active learning frequently involves speaking the material out loud.
Problems are your friend
For technical courses, solving problems repeatedly is crucial (e.g., math, economics). Know how to describe the steps in the difficulties and why they are effective.
Reading the book is typically less significant in technical courses than solving issues (Newport, 2007). Note down in full the practice problems that the instructor demonstrated in class. If you are unclear after a step, annotate it and ask for clarification. Record the query and response, at the very least (even if you miss the steps).
Make a long list of problems from the readings and lectures to use as practice for examinations. Work on the difficulties, then describe the solutions and the processes used (Carrier, 2003).
Numerous studies show that multitasking has a negative impact on outcomes and does not increase productivity (Junco, 2012).
You need to stop being distracted throughout your study sessions if you want to learn more effectively rather than working harder. If you let them, social media, web browsing, playing games, texting, and other activities will significantly reduce the intensity of your study hours.
There is little doubt in the research that multitasking, such as replying to texts while studying, lengthens the time required to acquire the content and degrades its quality (Junco, 2012).
You’ll be able to concentrate during your study sessions if the distractions are removed. Do not use your computer if you are not using it for your assignments. Utilize apps to assist you in establishing time restrictions for visiting particular locations during the day. Offset your phone. Take a social media break after a long period of studying, but be sure to schedule it well!
Switch up your setting
Discover multiple study locations on and around campus, and if you find that one of them is no longer productive for you, switch things up.
Decide where and when you learn best. Perhaps your concentration is not as clear at 10:00 PM as it is at 10:00 AM. Maybe you work better in the study lounge in your dorm or at a coffee shop with background noise. It’s possible that you doze off while studying in bed.
Several locations on and around campus can serve as productive study spaces for you. So you may discover the ideal study location wherever you are. It’s time to move to a different location if you find that your current location is too cozy and is no longer a nice place to study after some time.
Become a teacher
In your own words, as if you were the teacher, try to explain the subject. A study partner, a study group, or an individual can all accomplish this. Speaking the information out loud can enable you to identify any areas where you are unclear or require more explanation, as well as aid in memory retention.
Make links between topics as you are explaining the material through examples (just as a teacher does). Performing this with your notes in hand is acceptable and even encouraged. Initial explanations of the topic might need you to use your notes, but soon you’ll be able to impart it without them.
You can develop professor-like thinking by making a quiz for yourself. What is the purpose of your professor’s request? Self-testing is a very successful study method. You can revisit the questions and answers throughout the day and over several days by creating a study guide and carrying it with you.
You should only test yourself on the questions you are unfamiliar with. Talk out your responses. By doing so, you’ll be able to remember the material and correct yourself as necessary. When solving the sample problems in technical courses, be sure to describe how you arrived at the solution. Rework the issues that cause you trouble.
Take control of your calendar
You can achieve your goals by managing your time and your distractions.
You can finish your tasks and keep on top of your studies if you have control over your calendar. The steps listed below can help you take back control of your calendar:
- Make a habit of scheduling your week’s activities on the same day each week (perhaps Sunday evenings or Saturday mornings).
- Write down your desired outcomes for each lesson for the upcoming week as you go through each one.
- Calculate the number of hours you have left by taking a look at your calendar.
- Check to see whether you can cross things off your list in the time you have available. (You might wish to include how long is expected for each assignment to be completed.) Make necessary alterations.
- For instance, you might need to prioritize your readings if you discover that it will take you more time to finish your task than you have available. It is a luxury to finish all of the readings. Based on the material taught in class, you will need to choose your readings.
You must read each assignment from the preferred class resource and make notes on it (the one that is used a lot in the class). This could be the course text or reading that specifically covers the day’s subject. You can probably skim the additional readings.
- Schedule the times you intend to finish your duties in your calendar.
- Make a strategy for the following day before you go to sleep every night. Having a plan when you wake up will increase your productivity.
Use downtime to your advantage
Avoid “easy” weeks. This is a sign of an impending storm. Long undertakings might be started or completed during weeks with fewer hours worked. Utilize the extra time to start large projects or papers or to get a head start on assignments.
Even if you don’t have any assignments due, you should schedule a time to work on each class each week. It is actually best to complete some work for each of your classes each day. Spending 30 minutes per class per day for a total of three hours per week is more efficient than trying to pack it all into one large three-hour session.
Use the 30 minutes to get ahead or begin a lengthier project if you have finished all the work for a single lesson.
Check out: 15 Best study tips for Students
How to Study Effectively at Home
The home study offers its benefits because it’s a relaxing, stress-free setting. It might be challenging to study at home for a few reasons, including the numerous temptations that make it simple to put off starting and make it simple to get sidetracked once you do.
Procrastination and diversion can keep you from completing the tasks you need to complete at home. You’ll be distracted from your aim of studying for or finishing that assignment by doing things like watching TV, taking a sleep, browsing social media, or even cleaning your room.
Fortunately, there are a few strategies you can employ to increase your productivity. Here are 8 strategies to keep your attention and increase your productivity while studying at home.
Try active studying
Asking questions prior to, during, and after study, time is an easy way to engage in active learning. This not only gives your study session direction but also helps you stay on track and think about how to get better for your subsequent study session.
Before studying, consider the following questions:
- What will I discover shortly?
- What prior knowledge do I have on this topic?
While studying, consider the following questions:
- What role does this data play in a larger scheme?
- Do I really get what I just read?
- Can I summarize it?
- Do I need to jot down any crucial concepts or words? Why are these concepts and terms crucial?
Questions to consider after studying:
- What lessons can I use in my future studies?
- What should I review or study for the next time?
Get a good night’s sleep
Every school night, students of all ages should receive at least eight hours of sleep. The greatest method to make sure the brain is rested and prepared to digest all of the knowledge acquired throughout the day is to do this. Although it may be alluring to stay up late to study, getting enough rest is preferable.
The night before an exam, it’s especially crucial to get a full night’s sleep because it enhances your memory and alertness, which will help you perform better on the test.
Study at the right time
Each student experiences daily highs and lows unique to themselves. While some people prefer the morning, others are morning persons. Don’t try to push yourself to study when your mental capacity isn’t at its best; instead, make the most of the time of day when you feel most productive.
To ensure that you can process and remember the material you are learning, try to study when you are the most alert.
Have a designated study area
Create a space for studying that is a defined study zone, whether it is the kitchen table or the desk in your bedroom. Avoid studying in bed as much as possible (it can be far too simple to take a nap!). Keep your study area neat and organized above all else so you can spend more time learning (and less trying to find a pen that works).
Do not neglect to eat! To maintain peak performance, your body (as well as your brain) needs nutrition. In addition, a growling stomach makes it harder to concentrate. While studying, eat some healthy snacks, but make sure they are prepared beforehand so you don’t have to take too much time away from your work. More time away equals more chances to become preoccupied.
Get chores out of the way
To avoid interruptions or being sidetracked by an incomplete to-do list, complete daily tasks before beginning a study session. It is much simpler to concentrate on the task at hand once tasks are completed. Furthermore, instead of dreading the tasks that must be done, you can look forward to resting after your study session is over.
Create a timetable
When you have several courses to study, making a timetable is extremely helpful because it helps you manage your time and plans your breaks. To help you remember and frequently refer to your schedule, write it down. Set time constraints that are manageable for how much time you can spend studying each day, and divide your study session into manageable intervals.
Use a timer
Make sure you follow the schedule you made by using a timer to help you keep track of time. Setting a timer can help you stay on track to finish all the content you need to cover by keeping you committed to working until the alarm goes off and focused on the subject at hand. In particular, it keeps your break time productive and guilt-free (because you deserve it!).
How to Study Smart for Exam in Less Time
Change the way you concentrate
You must first establish a study space that promotes focus. This involves choosing a location apart from anything or anyone that will compete for your attention. That also means that you should turn off the vibrating feature on your phone.
You are responsible for the remaining steps. Only you can decide what works best for you. Some people can focus better during class, while others find that they can focus better after dinner. Some people need to take a study break every hour, while others need one every three hours. Simple: follow what has already been successful.
If you passed an exam after studying on the couch in the basement, go back and review there.
Change the way you procrastinate
As there are several ways to postpone, there are numerous causes as well. Perhaps you have no interest in the subject. Perhaps the workload is intimidating you. It’s not only you who does it.
Take it easy on yourself. It’s simpler to give in to procrastination if you view it as a serious personality fault. But it’s simpler to go to work if you conceive of it as a nasty habit that you occasionally engage in.
Change the way you read
You are a proficient reader, without a doubt, but try adding three different reading techniques. This saves you time because you won’t have to read through text that you simply need to know the gist of. study and reading come first. You deal with complex issues throughout this time, which require your comprehension and ingrained knowledge. Skimming comes next.
When you’re in a rush, you probably already do this. To grasp the text’s major ideas, you’re reading quickly. Last but not least, scanning is skimming text in order to locate particular words or ideas. When you can ignore the rest and use this strategy, you must have a clear idea of what you’re looking for.
Change the way you set goals
You don’t want to set yourself up for failure by making high commitments such as, “I’ll read this whole book today.” Setting a few more manageable, smaller goals will make you feel better about your progress.
When you feel like you are making progress, time passes more quickly. Be flexible when establishing goals as well. You may not always be able to accomplish what you had intended for because of unforeseen circumstances.
Change the way you pick your study group
Depending on how productive you want to be, study groups might be good or bad for you. A group’s insights can be tapped into, or you can develop new undesirable behaviors. Individuals that will inspire and uplift you are the type of people you want to study with. By encouraging you to complete your fair share of the job, a productive group may bring out the best in you.
How to Create a Study Guide for Students
One of the finest strategies to study for a test and get better test results is to make a study guide. According to a Stanford University study, using a systematic approach to studying helped college students increase their exam grades by an average of one-third of a letter grade.
The notes you took in class are simply one part of your study guide. It’s a private study tool made to meet your particular learning preferences and study habits.
Check out these suggestions to make a study guide that will help you comprehend the subject matter of your upcoming test more thoroughly and meaningfully.
Start by organizing your notes
Your study guide should be set up so that the content makes sense to you. Summaries sheets are the most popular kind of study aid. You’ll arrange your notes conceptually to make a summary sheet.
- Step 1: Create two columns on your paper, with the right column having much more room than the left.
- Step 2: Make a list of the key terms or topics from each chapter or lesson that will be addressed on the test on the right side of your paper. Give a summary or description of each item underneath. You can also use textual examples to assist you to recall the information.
- Step 3: Write cue questions that relate to the material on the right side of your page. After that, conceal the right side of the page and try to respond to the questions there.
It’s more likely that you’ll recall the knowledge later if you use the summary sheet technique, which compels you to evaluate your notes as you enter them into your study guide. You can find out which ideas and terms you need to review more thoroughly by testing yourself on the questions in the left column.
The most effective method will depend on the material you are studying. There are various other ways to set up a study guide. Making a chronology of events and organizing your notes chronologically, for instance, will help you comprehend the historical context of the content you are studying for a history exam.
Practice essay questions
You can prepare yourself for possible essay questions by practicing answers to them beforehand. That way, in case a similar question comes up on the exam, you’ll have a well-thought-out answer ready to go.
You can try to anticipate what these questions might be using past exams or quizzes, or you can copy the review questions from the textbook, which are often at the end of every chapter. While memorizing the material is one benefit of using a study guide, practicing essay questions will help you make sure you can apply your knowledge in a written response.
Make a vocabulary section
Include relevant terminology and meanings in a part of your study guide if the exam has a vocabulary component.
Knowing key phrases is still crucial because they may arise in the context of a question even if there isn’t a vocabulary portion on the test. Your instructor will be able to tell that you have a firm grasp of the exam topic if you feel more at ease using key terms in your essay responses when you are familiar with them.
Particularly if you learn best visually, concept maps are an excellent approach to mastering language. Drawing a shape around important keywords and then connecting those shapes with lines to show how they relate to other terms or concepts will result in a concept map.
Here, a picture might be helpful. Making a visual diagram of the connections between various vocabulary words will help you remember definitions and make significant connections between essential phrases and ideas.
Handwrite it – don’t type it
Although it might not seem important, you must compose your study guide by hand rather than on a computer. Writing by hand necessitates slowing down and giving thought to the information you are transcribing, despite the fact that typing anything up is frequently simpler and faster.
By doing this, you also have the added benefit of really learning what you need to learn while you’re writing your guide. Printing your study guide after typing it is advised if you must for any reason. You won’t be able to recall information when reading a document on a computer screen, and you’ll be more likely to be interrupted by emails or social media updates.
Make it personal
The ability to customize a study guide to your learning style is one of the main advantages. Visual, auditory, reading/writing, kinesthetic, and other learning styles are the most common among humans. Due to this, two students preparing for the same test may have completely dissimilar study materials.
For instance, developing a more conventional study guide, such as the summary sheet, and repeatedly reworking the content may be advantageous for reading and writing learners. In order to establish meaningful links between key concepts, color-coding and concept mapping will be more helpful to visual learners.
Studying hard and studying wisely are both excellent study techniques, but studying wisely is more productive because it keeps you healthy and yields the best outcomes. Students should start studying strategically since it helps them become better time managers.
Unless you are reading fiction, read-only to comprehend, to find meaning in, and to make sense of what you are reading. Studying is enjoyable, so if you want to succeed academically, you should make it a habit.
You must study properly and see learning as a part of who you are if you want to be a clever and successful student. When reading or studying becomes second nature to you, you become more receptive to learning, which will benefit you not only in school but also in general life.
Studying allows you to learn new things or improves your comprehension of what you currently know.
Learn How To Study Math: See the Best Study Tips For Students
FAQs on Study Smart not Hard
2019-2020 CEN Review Book and Study Guide.
2019 and 2020 Pharmacy Technician Certification Study Guide.
2017–2018 PTCB Exam Study Guide.
Study manual for WorkKeys Secrets.
2015 / 2016 ASVAB For Dummies.
Study manual for Accuplacer Secrets.
LSAT Study Guide.
Look for a link in the “Examinations” area of your course space to see if there is a study guide for the course you are taking. You will discover a study plan for each exam if your course contains numerous exams. For your forthcoming exam, make sure to consult the study guide. One resource that can aid in your thorough exam preparation is a study guide.
The first and biggest online resource for finding literary study guides is FreeBookNotes.com. The free book notes, study guides, chapter summaries, and analyses that are available for thousands of novels, plays, and poetry have all been painstakingly collected from the internet.
Make a comfortable study area. Making a study space for oneself is the first step in studying more effectively. It is beneficial to study in the same location every day since your brain will begin to associate that location with work. When you enter your study location, it will be simpler to get into the study mode.
- https://worldstudentforum.com – why I should study smart not hard
- https://learningcenter.unc.edu – how to study smart not hard – studying 101
- https://www.oxfordlearning.com – how to study effectively at home
- https://www.universitymagazine.ca – how to study smart for exam in less time
- https://www.herzing.edu – how to create a study guide for students
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