Study hacks and tips to help you survive the school year

Illustration of a person looking at a computer
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Studying, cramming, procrastinating and pulling all-nighters — you’ve gotta love them. Unfortunately, it’s that time of the year again. Here are some study hacks to keep you from failing all your classes. 

Teach what you’ve learned.

If you can teach it well, you understand it well. It may seem simple, but you can’t be a teacher without confidently knowing exactly what you’re teaching. Teach lessons to your friends in a group study session, or consider tutoring in a subject you want to improve even more in. 

Listen to the right music.

You’ve probably heard that listening to music while studying can help. However, music can also be a major distraction. Catchy lyrics will divert your attention from studying and leave you singing along in your room at 1 a.m. Instead, try out music without lyrics, like classical music. You may find it much more helpful. 


Your electronic devices are arguably the biggest distraction. Going old-school may seem hard at first, especially since you’ll have to resist the urge to check your social media. Even using the calculator on your phone can lead to a YouTube marathon or finding a new binge-worthy show on Netflix. But unplugging is crucial to a thorough study session. If this seems like too much of a challenge, there are even several apps, like Forest, to help you stay off your phone. 

Study in a new environment.

Some people recommend having a designated study space, and while that may be helpful, you should start out every year in a new setting to prompt your brain to start working again after a long break. Once you’ve chosen a new location, stick with that location throughout the semester. Whenever you’re at that location — whether it be the library, a coffee shop or a new corner in your room — your brain will begin to recognize that it’s time to study.

Rewrite your notes.

Repetitive writing is shown to help you absorb new information quickly. During lectures, it’s perfectly fine to type on a document to keep up with the pace of the lecture. But once you start studying, make sure to handwrite everything. Red ink is preferable, as it helps with memory. Plus, this practice repurposes the old unused notebooks you have lying around.

Read with purpose.

We’ve all read a page of text while blanking out the entire time. Skimming through the book won’t help you retain detailed information. Reading while asking yourself critical questions, though, allows you to gain more from the text. 

Get motivated.

A common downfall for most when attempting to study is procrastination. So start out each study session with quotes you enjoy that keep your perspective healthy, or cross out what you’ve accomplished off a list of things you need to do. And don’t forget to reward yourself at the end so you have something to look forward to. 

With the fall semester nearly here, these tips could help you succeed this year. Share them with your peers and see if they help them, too! In the meanwhile, happy studying!

Contact Vicky Bai at [email protected].