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Top 10 tips on how to study smarter, not longer

Top 10 tips on how to study smarter, not longer

10. Make a plan — and stick to it

Many students know they should space out study periods, quiz themselves and practice other good skills. Yet many don’t actually do those things. Often, they fail to plan ahead.

Back when Rawson was a student, she used a paper calendar for her planning. She wrote in the date for each exam. “And then for four or five other days,” she recalls, “I wrote in time to study.”

Try to stick to a routine, too. Have a set time and place where you do schoolwork and studying. It may seem odd at first. But, Kornell assures you, “by the time week two rolls around, it becomes a normal thing.” And put your phone somewhere else while you work, adds Nebel.

Allow yourself short breaks. Set a timer for 25 minutes or so, suggests Sana. Study during that time, with no distractions. When the timer goes off, take a five or 10 minute break. Exercise. Check your phone. Maybe drink some water — whatever. Afterward, set the timer again.

“If you have a study plan, stick to it!” adds McDaniel. Recently, he and psychologist Gilles Einstein at Furman University in Greenville, S.C., looked at why students don’t use good study skills. Many students know what those skills are, they report. But often they don’t plan when they intend to put them in action. Even when students do make plans, something more enticing may come up. Studying has to become a priority, they say. The team published its report in Perspectives on Psychological Science on July 23.

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