Being studious means being serious about and committed to learning. People who are studious still know how to have fun, but they make their studies a priority and stick to a thorough and comprehensive study plan. But being studious is about more than just studying a lot — it’s about getting into a mindset that allows you to be excited about gaining knowledge.
I. Getting into a Studious Mindset
- Learn to focus. People are becoming more and more dependent on technology these days, and it can make focusing on any one task for a long period time a bit more challenging. You may be used to checking your email or phone every 15 minutes, but if you’re really committed to being studious, then you have to work on having intense concentration for 30, 45, or even 60 minutes at a time. You can train your mind to focus more as you build up to a higher focus time if you’re committed to doing so.
- Learn to monitor yourself and be hyper aware of when your mind is drifting. If something else is bothering you, tell yourself that you’ll devote 15 solid minutes to it instead of letting it interfere with your thinking.
- Taking breaks is just as important as focusing. You’ll need to take a 10 minute break at least every hour so that your mind can refocus its energy.
2. Pay attention in class. One important part of being studious is paying attention in class. Learn to absorb everything your teacher is saying and to really understand the material. Work to avoid as many distractions as you can and to not get lost in side conversations with your friends. Read along with your teacher and make sure you don’t waste class time staring at the clock or studying for other classes. Make a point of being attentive and of not letting your mind wander; if it does wander, just take a note of it and bring it back.
- If you don’t understand something, don’t be reluctant to ask questions; being studious doesn’t mean knowing everything, but it does mean committing to your studies.
- If you can choose seats, then sitting close to your teacher can help you build a rapport with him and to pay more attention because you’ll feel more accountable.
3. Participate in class. People who are studious participate in class because they are active and engaged in the learning process. They answer questions when their teachers ask them, they raise their hands when they have questions, and they volunteer for activities when they are asked. You don’t have to answer every question and should give other students a chance, but you should actively and consistently be part of the class discussion.
- Participating in class also makes you feel more engaged and excited about the learning material. It can help you absorb the material and to do better in school.
4. Make studying a priority. Being studious doesn’t mean pushing all of your other interests aside. However, it does mean that you should make your studies a high priority in your life. When balancing your friends, your family time, and your extracurricular activities along with your studies, you should make sure not to neglect your studies, and to make sure that your social time doesn’t get in the way of your grades. Keeping a planner can help you make sure that you have time for studying along with your other obligations.
- Plug studies into your daily schedule. It’s important to make time for them almost every single day, so you don’t end up getting distracted with other clubs, hobbies, or social events.
- You need to learn when studying works best for you. Some people like to study right after school, when their studies are fresh in their mind, while others like to take a few hours off to relax.
5. Don’t expect perfection. Being studious doesn’t mean being the class valedictorian. It means making a serious and long commitment to your studies. If you expect yourself to be the most high-achieving student in your grade, then you’ll be setting a very high bar for yourself. While this can be a private goal, what’s most important is that you work on doing the best that you’re capable of so that you don’t end up feeling disappointed or inadequate or putting too much pressure on yourself.
- Being studious doesn’t mean being the highest achieving student in your school. It means studying to the best of your own abilities, and to always aim for improvement.
- If you expect yourself to never get a wrong answer, that can actually lead you to feel more frustrated and will make you less likely to succeed. If you get obsessed with the fact that you don’t know the answer to one of the questions on a test, then this will keep you from focusing on the rest of the questions.
6. Take notes in class. Taking notes in class will help you focus on the material, process the words your teacher is saying, and to stay active and engaged even if you’re feeling tired. You can even take notes with different pens, different highlighters, or post-its to mark particularly important passages. Find what works best to you and be committed to taking the most thorough and comprehensive notes possible if you want to be studious.
- If you really want to be studious, then you can work on putting your teacher’s lectures into your own words. That way, you’re not just jotting down everything he says, but you’re making an effort to really understand the material.
- Try review your notes every day so you can clarify anything you didn’t understand with the teacher the following day.
7. Get organized. People who are studious are usually well-organized so that they don’t waste any time looking for their notes, homework, or textbooks. If you’re disorganized, then you should work on having different binders for different subjects, spending a few minutes a day cleaning your desk or locker, and making sure that you’ve split up your work into different compartments so you can stay focus and not get overwhelmed. You may think that some people are just naturally more messy than others, but you can still work on developing the habits of an organized person if you want to be studious.
- If you spend just 15 minutes a day putting everything in its place, both in your bedroom and your locker or notebooks, then you’ll be able to maintain an organized lifestyle.
- Being neat is a part of being organized. Don’t throw any crumpled papers in your bag, and make sure to keep your personal, fun items away from your study items.
8. Don’t worry about other people. If you want to truly be studious, then you have to stop comparing yourself to other people. Don’t try to get the same grades as the girl sitting next to you in Algebra class, and don’t try to get the honor roll like your brother or best friend unless you think it’s a realistic goal. The most important thing is that you do the best that you can do instead of comparing yourself to other people. If you’re too focused on other people then you’ll never be happy with your own achievements and won’t be studying with a positive mindset.
- The best thing you can do if you know there’s someone in your class who is more knowledgeable than you is to suggest a study date so you can pick that person’s brain. Think of people with knowledge as assets, not threats.
II. Developing Strong Study Habits
1. Create an agenda. If you want to develop strong study habits, then one of the first things you should do is to create a plan for your next study session. If you just sit down with your textbooks without a clear idea of what to do, then you’re likely to feel overwhelmed, to spend too much time on less important things, or to get sidetracked. To make your study time as productive and as efficient as possible, you should block off your studying time into 15 to 30 minute increments, making a game plan for each block of time so you know exactly what to do.
- Having an an agenda also makes you feel more motivated. If you have a list of items to accomplish and check them off one by one, then you’ll feel more accomplished than if you were just to study for three hours without any real direction.
- Blocking off each item for a certain amount of time can also help keep you focused. You don’t want to stray by studying something not so important for too long and ignoring more essential concepts.
- You can also create an agenda for each week or month. If you have a big exam coming up, splitting up the material into week-long study sessions can make everything feel more manageable.
2. Create a studying plan that suits your learning style. Knowing your learning style can help you have a sense of how you learn best. Every person has a different learning style, and one method of studying, such as flashcards, may be great for one learner and terrible for another. Many people also fall into more than one category. Here are the different learning styles and some tips for how to study according to how you learn best:
- Visual. Visual learners learn best from using pictures, images, and spatial understanding. If you’re a visual learner, than charts and diagrams will be helpful to you, as will color-coding your notes based on subject matter. You can also use flow charts when taking notes to have a stronger visual image of the concepts.
- Auditory. These learners learn best through sound. You may learn best by recording lectures and repeating them back to yourself, talking to experts, or participating in class discussion.
- Physical/Kinesthetic. These types of learners learn best through using their bodies, their hands, and their senses of touch. Though it can be challenging to learn purely through this style, you can help yourself study by tracing words to reinforce learning, using the computer to test knowledge, and memorizing facts while walking.
3. Take breaks. Taking breaks is just as important as staying on task when it comes to developing strong study habits. No human is meant to spend eight hours straight in front of a computer, desk, or textbook, and it’s important to take those breaks so that you can regroup and gain more energy to study again. Make sure to take a 10-minute break every hour or hour and a half, or even more frequently if you really need one. Try to get some nourishment, sunshine, or exercise during your breaks.
- Don’t think that you’re being lazy by taking study breaks. In fact, this will actually make you work harder when you return.
4. Avoid distractions when you study. To make the most of your studying, you should try to avoid distractions as much as you can. Make a rule that you can only go on YouTube, Facebook, or your favorite celebrity gossip site during your study breaks, and turn your phone off during intense study sessions. Don’t sit next to people who are having loud, distracting conversations or who try to make small talk with you. Look around you and make sure there’s nothing that can take your mind off the task at hand.
- If you’re really addicted to your phone or Facebook, tell yourself that you’ll study for an hour before you check either. This will get you more motivated to study in the meantime, when you know there’s a “reward.”
5. Study in the right environment. There is no one right study environment for every person, and it’s your job to decide what works best for you. Some people prefer to study in an absolutely quiet space without any noise or people, such as their bedrooms, while others like the more vibrant coffee shop scene. Some people study best outdoors while others can only do their work in a library. You may be studying in the wrong environment without knowing it; try to find the best study space for yourself and you’ll see how much easier it is to be studious.
- If you normally only study in your bedroom and think it’s too quiet, try a coffee shop for a change. If you’re sick of the din of a coffee shop, try a library, where you may be inspired by many quiet, studious people.
6. Bring what you need to study. To make the most of your studying, you should make sure you come prepared. Wear clothes with lots of layers or bring a sweater so you don’t up getting uncomfortable because you’re too hot or too cold. Bring healthy snacks, such as peanut butter and celery, carrots, yogurt, almonds, or cashews so you have something to munch on that won’t give you a sugar high or make you feel tired. Come prepared with your notes, extra pens, a charged phone if you’ll need it later, and anything else you’ll need to keep yourself focused and ready to get down to business.
- If you’re really set on a study session, you don’t want it to get ruined because you’re uncomfortable. Having a solid plan for what to bring in advance can help you study with success.
7. Take advantage of your resources. If you want to be studious, then you should know to take advantage of all of the help at your disposal. This could mean talking to your teachers, friends, or librarians for extra help, using your school library, or reading the online resources and additional recommended reading materials for your courses. The more resources you use, the more likely you’ll be to succeed and to truly be studious.
- People who are studious are resourceful. When they’re not getting everything they need from a textbook, they turn to other people, other books, or other online resources for help.
III. Staying Motivated
1. Make small improvements. To stay motivated during your work to become studious, you shouldn’t think you’ve failed if you didn’t go from having a C-average in Calculus to an A-average. Instead, you should be proud of yourself from moving from a C to a B-minus, and so on. When it comes to being studious and feeling motivated to succeed, you should work in increments or get disappointed and lose steam.
- Chart your progress. When you see how much you’ve improved since the beginning of your commitment to be studious, you’ll be truly proud of yourself.
2. Find a way to be excited about the materials. Though not every subject in school will fascinate you, you should try to find something you care about in each and every class. Maybe English isn’t your favorite subject, but you’ve found that A Separate Peace or Catcher in the Rye is your new favorite novel; you don’t have to like everything in school, but you should still look for something that truly fascinates you and motivates you to keep working.
- If you find just a few things to care about in each class, you’ll be much more motivated to be studious. Remember that you’re not just studying to pass tests, but to truly acquire knowledge, and caring about what you’re learning can really help that.
3. Get a study buddy or study group. Though working with a partner or a group doesn’t work for everyone, you should consider mixing it up and working to be studious with others, sometimes. You can learn a lot from working with other people, and they can help keep you focused and on-track. You may also find that you learn more from a close friend than from a teacher, and that you gain mastery of a subject after trying to teach it to your friends. Consider this study technique the next time you hit the books.
- Some people are more social learners and they learn a lot better with others. If this is you, then you should try working with one friend first, and then opening your studies up to a study group.
- Just make sure that your study groups actually spend most of their time studying with occasional breaks; you don’t want to get sucked into a situation that keeps you from learning the material.
4. Reward yourself for your hard work. Being studious isn’t all about work, work, work. If you really want to make a lifelong goal of being studious, then you have to remember to take breaks, and to reward yourself for taking them. Every time you get your goal grade on a test, celebrate with ice cream or a night at the movies with your friends. Every time you study for three hours, reward yourself with your favorite trashy reality TV show. Find a way to motivate yourself to keep working and to reward yourself for all of the hard work you’ve put in along the way.
- Any amount of work should be rewarded. Don’t feel like you don’t deserve a reward because you didn’t get the grades you were hoping for.
5. Remember to have fun. Though you may think studious people never have fun, it’s actually very important to remember to relax and take a break every once in a while. If you’re only focused on your studies, then you’ll feel burned out and like you’re under a lot of pressure to keep up. Instead, reward yourself for studying by making time for your friends, your hobbies, or even some mindless activities like watching The Bachelor every once in a while. Taking breaks for fun will actually lead you to enjoy the learning experience more when you return to it, and will help you become studious.
- Don’t think of a studious person as someone who sits in a dark room with candlelight without taking a break to eat or drink or see the sun. People who are studious can have a good time, and in fact, they are better at their studies because they can relax and take a break.
- Making time for friends can help you be more well-balanced and will help you put less pressure on your studies. If you feel like all you have going for you is your studies, then you’ll be setting yourself up to be disappointed.
6. Think about the big picture. Another way to stay motivated is to remind yourself why you’re studying. It may not seem to have a meaning when you’re learning about the French Revolution or reading “The Raven,” but all of the little things you study can add up to make you a well-rounded, and interesting person. Getting stellar grades can also help you reach your ultimate education goals, whether you want to graduate college or get a PhD. Remind yourself that, while not every page you study will be fascinating, it will help lead to your future success.
- If you get too hung up on the details, or think too much about one test at a time, you’ll take yourself too seriously. It’s about committing to study in the long term, not about working hard for an individual test. If you look at it as a marathon and not a sprint, then you won’t be putting too much pressure on yourself and you’ll still be able to study in the process.