Top tips for successful studying

September 14th 2017

Top tips for successful studying

Studying is one of those aspects of school, college and work that we often approach or carry out in unhelpful ways. Below are some tips to help you learn how to study more effectively.

1.You’re attitude and approach make a huge difference!

The way we think about ourselves and a task can have a huge effect on how successful we will be. Keep in mind the point of studying is not just to pass an exam, but to learn. Studying can feel like a losing battle if we start off with negative ideas about ourselves and our capabilities. Instead try to find more balanced thoughts or remind yourself of other accomplishments and times you have succeeded. Your feelings and thoughts are very powerful so use them to your advantage.

2.Find the best environment for you!

An important aspect of successful studying is eliminating distractions. A study group with friends or fellow students can be helpful. It may be that you study best on your own, if so a quiet place like a library or coffee shop might be ideal. In most situations the internet/social media can be a huge distraction! If it is possible have your internet turned off, your phone turned off/on silent, and determine to set a length of time that you do not check your emails, social media, calls or texts.

3.Set reasonable and manageable goals.

We know through research that humans can only pay attention and absorb information for a certain period of time. If you push yourself beyond this point without taking a break it makes it really difficult to learn. Setting unmanageable goals can cause us to feel overwhelmed and avoid or procrastinate. Make a plan for your studying that feels achievable. You can also give yourself a reward when you finish to help further motivate you.

4. Keep in mind your own learning style.

For some people it may help to create an outline first, and fill the outline in as you study. Turning what you are learning into something personally meaningful for you or into a story is a good way to put it in your long term memory and give the content you are studying some meaning. Explain what you are learning to someone else, or use rhymes and acronyms to lock something in, find what works for you! Remember, learning is not just about memorizing, it is about understanding, so if you can work towards understanding a concept you are a lot more likely to really learn it.

5. Remember balance.

A lot of pressure can be placed on us when it comes to school, work, and college. We feel our best, and do our best when we are taking good care of ourselves. You will learn better when you get enough rest, eat well, exercise, have fun and connect with others. When you are planning study time leave enough time to attend to these other needs. This is the best and most healthy way to learn!

Sometimes we can feel overwhelmed or like we need some extra support. If you are feeling this way please talk to an adult you trust. There may also be a Jigsaw near you who can provide guidance and support for young people aged 12-25 who are experiencing difficulties. Check our website to find your nearest Jigsaw.

Alternatively, you can log on to and search for mental health support services near you or talk to your GP about supports in your local area.

by Violet Johnstone, Clinical Support Worker, Jigsaw Dublin City