21 Unusual Study Tips That Work

Many people find it hard to study. They may lack the –

  • Motivation
  • Time
  • Focus

That they need to study.

We often hear the usual study tips –

  • Make a study plan and stick to it
  • Create a good study environment. A tidy, uncluttered desk, or a quiet space in a coffee shop or library – a place that suits you and your studying requirements.
  • Make sure you take regular breaks. It is not effective to study for hours and hours at a time. So taking regular breaks make it easier to focus and pay attention.
  • Don’t study all night. All that happens is that you spend hours studying something that you would get done far quicker if you weren’t tired. Being tired means that we do not study effectively
  • Turn off your emails, your phone, your social media and other distractions.
  • Eat and drink healthily.
  • Reward yourself. Set yourself small goals then reward yourself when you reach them. Such as “I will study for 50 minutes and then I’ll have a cup of tea.” Or “I’ll go for a ten minute walk.” Or “I can look at my social media for five minutes.” Make sure the reward is something that is rewarding for you though.

There we are. All useful study tips. And they are useful study tips, but they don’t work for everyone.  So what else can you try?


21 Unusual Study Tips

  1. Turn on your social media. Yes, that’s right, turn it on. If you look on social media, you will find that there are many students on there. Some film themselves studying. Other students can find this useful. If the online students sits down and studies for two hours, the students watching can find this a useful prompt to their own studying. It sounds a bit silly, but actually is very effective. It can motivate and encourage other students to study.
  2. Perhaps you could even film yourself studying. This could encourage you to hold yourself responsible for your studying. If you announce that you are going to study for an hour, then this should hopefully encourage you to study for that length of time.
  3. Or study online with friends or fellow students. This can also be helpful if you are struggling with something, as you can ask someone else.
  4. You can also find students who post their notes, good study tips and ideas on how to study. Follow them and try out their ideas. This doesn’t mean spending hours and hours scrolling and looking what others are doing. Allow yourself a few minutes. Have a look. Find something that you think might work or is useful and try it. Remember the plan, in the end, is to study, not to spend ages finding ways to study.
  5. If looking at your phone or tablet is simply not going to work for you. Turn them off. Or put them in another room. Or turn them to silent so they do not distract you.
  6. Make studying a bit more fun. Try to put facts to songs. Make up mnemonics (memory aids). For example, MERRING – movement, excretion, reproduction, respiration, irritability, nutrition and growth – the signs of life. Draw pictures, mind maps, etc. Things that make your notes a bit more interesting.
  7. Don’t study lying down or in bed. We go to bed to sleep. We lie down to sleep, so assuming those positions can make it harder for us to focus on our studies. Sit up. This makes it easier to pay attention. It can also lead to unintended naps or backache and headaches!
  8. If you start to get tired, stand up or change what you are doing. Go and make a drink. Fill up the dishwasher. Take your dog for a quick walk. By changing your situation and focus, it can help you to refocus when you go back to your studying. But don’t get distracted by the new task, give yourself a time limit. I’m going to play with the dog for five minutes or I’m doing to put three things in the dishwasher, then go back to my studying. This is not the same as a reward when you have studied for a certain amount of time. This is a refocus of your attention if you are struggling or tired.
  9. Deal with distractions. As you study, things might pop into your mind. For example, “I must book my dental appointment.” Or “We said we were going to the cinema on Friday, I must check what time the film starts.” When these distractions pop into your mind, don’t rush off to book your appointment or check the time, simply make a note to remind you to do it when you have finished studying. Perhaps have a “distraction” note book, where you can write down things that pop into your mind to remind you to do them later.
  10. If you struggle to get started, take time to prepare yourself. Decide when you are going to study. Say you plan to study at 7pm tonight. A few minutes before 7pm, get your study pack together, your notebook, tablet, pens, paper, computer or whatever you need.  Then take a moment or two to think exactly what you are going to study tonight and for how long. At 7pm, get started. By doing this, you are ensuring that you know exactly when you are studying, what you are studying and for how long.
  11. When you are getting your study pack ready, only include what you need to study for that time period. If you are going to study tonight for two hours and are going to look at the signs and symptoms of anxiety and techniques to deal with anxiety, then only get the notes ready or book or website for those topics. Don’t get every piece of information for the whole of the course ready, just what you need.
  12. Buy yourself a special pen or special notebook. Something that you really like and only use it when you are studying.
  13. Make a list of everything you want to study that day and cross it off as you do it.
  14. Tell friends and family that you are going to study. Perhaps put a note on the door to say “Do not disturb.”
  15. Make sure you are studying at the right temperature. It may sound a bit odd, but researchers at Cornell University found that people study best between 20 and 25 degrees centigrade.
  16. Listen to classical music while you study. Researchers at Northcentral University found that classical music activates both sides of the brain which is helpful for studying.
  17. Not everyone likes noise. If you find noise or music distracting, wear headphones.
  18. If you like chewing gum, chew it when you are studying. Research shows that it helps to keep us warm, but also increases the blood flow to your brain.
  19. Scents, such as rose, can help stimulate our focus, so a rose scented aroma can be really useful.
  20. Greenery can also help us to focus and pay attention. So try keeping plants or images of nature around your desk. Or perhaps even study outside if possible.
  21. Set an alarm for when you intend to finish studying. The alarm might go off and you might feel like doing more. Or you might simply have had enough, but when the alarm goes off, you know you have your own permission to stop.

Remember, the focus on all of these tips is to encourage you to study effectively. So try them, but if they don’t work, try something else.  Not everyone will want to film themselves studying or work online with someone else. Find out what is effective for YOU.


Now you know all these useful study tips, you might be thinking about studying more. If you are, why not have a look at our courses. We offer over 700 courses to get your studying teeth into.


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