How to be effective at study

This is an article from Quora – How to be an Effective Student.

I like to give one or two simple things to focus on, and I’ll try to do that, but study is multi-layered.

Some time spent in planning will pay off. We’ll try to keep it simple, but it will make you much more effective.

So let’s look at the layers:


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  • Work out where you need to direct your energies.
  • Accept that every teacher thinks that you are only doing their subject and no others.
  • Not all subjects are created equal. Some just take more time and effort than others. Some are easier for you, some harder.
  • Some subjects have resources readily available, others don’t. This time will need to be factored in.
  • Accept that you could spend all your time on each subject, but you have to balance them.
  • Look at:
    • Difficulty of subject
    • How you are doing already and where you need to pick up your marks
    • Is there a subject you are confident of passing with a relatively smaller amount of work?
    • Size of the workload.
  • Then try to make a plan for how much time you need to spend on each subject to be effective.
  • Try to get to the point where all your subjects are ‘under control’ and you are heading for a Pass.
  • Passing all your subjects is your baseline goal.
  • If you can get there, time to try to excel at as many subjects as possible.


  • Line all your assessment up by due date
  • Work out how long each piece of assessment might take and add on a lot of time for contingencies
  • Work out when and how you are going to tackle your pieces of assessment.
  • Panicking? All students do. You will get there if you work hard.

  • Beware assessments due on the same date, or very close together. This often happens.
  • Make sure you have everything you need (like research and case studies) ready in time for the deadlines coming up.

So, do all you can to work out where your time is best spent, and when. That will help your effectiveness.


  • There are lots of tips and techniques, but for ONE THING TO REMEMBER — keep your focus on getting in and doing this.
  • There are books on procrastination and stuff like that, but if you can, just work hard.
  • Alternate focused sessions with short breaks.

Your time will be broken into:

  • Research and writing
  • Reading
  • Memorizing
  • Other areas – you know what they are
  • Alternate the above and try to work out your best times of day for the different activities.

Here are a few tips:

  • Research and writing
    • Get started no matter how hard it might look.
    • Starting is often the hardest part and you can go back and fix it if isn’t the best.
    • Ask for help and clarification from teachers and tutors. They will most likely be keen to help.
    • Start with a simple answer to the question, as if you were explaining it to a child. Never lose this clarity, but you can expand on it to make the final submission.
    • Keep reading the question to make sure you are answering it.
    • If you have lots of confusing information, try to take a birds’ eye view of it all. Remember the child and pick out the parts that are important to explain it simply.
  • Reading might best be done later before bed, or you can use it to break up periods of harder work.
    • Write down or flag important things — if you think they’ll be easy to find later, they may not be.
  • Memory
    • Study and read for understanding and putting parts together as a connected whole. This will help you get to grips with the topic.
    • Spend a little time, if you can spare it, reading about visual memory techniques, memory palaces and mnemonics. They make memorizing a lot easier.
    • Give yourself plenty of time.
      • Reviewing soon after the lesson is really effective.
      • Reading before the lesson is so effective too.
      • Going over the content well before the test is good too.
      • It will be a lot easier to memorize if you do as much as you can as early as you can.

There are more study tips here Ninja Study Tips