7 Great Ways to Study Like a Pro

By Rachel Benson, Launch Academy Tutor Extraordinaire, Professional Writer, and Tulsa’s Premiere English Tutor

Let’s face it—studying is hard.  Even cleaning for me becomes an undeniable distraction.  If you’re having trouble focusing when you’re trying to study, here are 7 tricks you can try when your brain starts going kaput.


  1. Listen to music – You don’t want anything too loud or distracting, but music is a great way to help you focus on your studying.  Classical music especially is great, but if that’s not your sort of thing, try to find music without lyrics.  It’ll keep you from getting distracted and just singing along to the music instead of studying.  Some of my favorites are Lindsey Stirling and anything from Studio Ghibli.  Check them out and see what you think on your next study session!
  2. Turn off your phone and stay away from Facebook.  Study time is when you need to get down to business.  You can’t get focused if you’re constantly texting, playing games, or checking on Facebook and other social media sites.  Only use your internet for research or music and turn your phone off and put it someplace where it won’t be a temptation to look at.
  3. Work on the hard assignment that’s due first – If you avoid that big term paper that’s due tomorrow in order to write a chapter summary that’s due in three days, you’re going to be crazy stressed out when you try to finish that paper that night.  Do the hard stuff that’s due first, then do the easier stuff that’s due later.  If you have multiple hard assignments due on the same day, don’t procrastinate and space out when you do them by a couple of days.  You will feel so much lighter when the night before comes along and you only have one thing to do instead of three.
  4. Trick yourself into starting hard tasks.  If you feel so overwhelmed by a project or paper, just tell yourself that you’re only going to work on it for 15 minutes.  This will trick your brain out of its panic mode and get you into the studying flow.  Once you get started, everything will suddenly feel a lot more possible to get done and you can keep right on going.  Look into http://psychcentral.com/lib/top-10-most-effective-study-habits/000599 for more ideas on mentally getting ready to study.
  5. Reward yourself for studying hard.  After working hard for an hour or an hour and a half, take a 10-20 minute break.  Go walk around, watch an episode of Big Bang Theory, or just lay back and take a nap for a few minutes.  Just be sure to set an alarm so that you don’t forget to get back to studying!
  6. Keep organized notes.  As simple as this sounds, this will help your study habits like crazy!  Writing down notes during class that are readable and in your words is one of the best ways to study for tests and finish homework assignments.  Studying organized notes is often better than re-reading chapters for tests and can save you hours.  Write neatly, write it in your own words, and use bullets and numbering.  If you’re not sure how to write using numbering tools or would just like some extra ideas, look at http://www.wikihow.com/Take-Good-Notes-and-Organize-Them.
  7. Have a monthly planner to write down assignments.  This is a little different from a regular planner.  In a regular planner, you write down assignments the day they’re assigned.  In a month planner, you write down assignments the day they are due.  Most planners now come with a literal calendar set every four weeks or so for each month.  This is a perfect place to write down when tests are and when assignments are due for the month so that you can see exactly what’s coming up in the next couple of weeks.  If you have never used a planner at all, I highly suggest getting one and using it for your assignments.  It is a life saver and will make your life a lot easier in both high school and college.


If you’d like to know whether you have good or bad study habits, take this quiz and see how well you do at http://www.educationplanner.org/students/self-assessments/improving-study-habits.shtml.


Study hard!

-Rachel Benson


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