50 Study Smart Tips For Success

It’s that time of year. It’s time to settle into a solid routine of learning and studying to ensure your success at the end of the year. It is what you do every day that counts.

Having worked with students worldwide, I see far more similarities between successful students than I see differences. Students tend to fall into four categories:

  • Avoidance: You know you are in this category when you get lost in the world of YouTube or Tik-Tok when you know you have work to do. Maybe you find yourself cooking, cleaning, tidying your room and going for a run rather than study.
  • Anxious: This is when your tummy feels sick each time you think about study or exams. You are worried about failing, concerned about not meeting expectations and get defensive when others try to help or support your learning.
  • Aware but don’t care: Here is when you know what you have to achieve and put your study off until tomorrow. Maybe you have enough credits or will not get credits for an assignment, so you think, why bother?
  • Achiever: If you are in this category, you balance life and study and have a goal and a plan to achieve success. You feel like you are learning, growing and improving each week. You are happy, have energy and are getting the grades you desire. Most importantly, you know which behaviours are assisting you to be successful and repeat these steps repeatedly.

Can you pinpoint which category you spend much of your time? Is there a gap between where you are and where you would like to be? I call this the learning gap. It is likely that no-one has taught you how to study.

Studying is different from doing homework. Homework is completing the assignments teachers have set, following their guidelines and handing it in for marking and feedback. Studying is learning the information you DON’T know to pass a test or exam. These are very different processes. Passing an exam has very little to do with intelligence and is more about strategy and technique.

Here are 50 Study Smart Tips.

Memory & Recall

1.   Study for 20 minutes and take a 5-minute break
2.   During a study break, always leave your study room for a short break
3.   Go over your most important information first
4.   Revise your key information at the end of a study cycle
5.   Summarise your notes from class each day and read the following day
6.   Review your notes one day after learning them, then one week, one month and every six months
7.   Break your content into small manageable chunks
8.   Learn only 3 or 4 pieces of information at a time
9.   Make important information stand out
10. Make up mnemonics to remember, e.g., ROY G BIV (the order of the rainbow colours)
11. Create real-life examples
12. Link what you are learning to the information you already know

Engage your Learning Senses

13. Talk about what you are learning to others
14. Teach your information to others
15. Move around while learning
16. Listen to audio recordings when walking or running
17. Watch videos of other teachers teaching the same information
18. Use aromatherapy oils to stimulate memory, calmness and alertness
19. Place essential information above eye level
20. Make up raps, rhymes, funny stories about what you want to recall
21. Make flashcards of key information

Study Environment

22. Have everything you need within reach before you start to study
23. Study at your best thinking time: morning, afternoon or evening
24. Avoid studying the one hour after school
25. Natural or low lighting is best for learning
26. Study to music without words
27. Learning with Baroque music has been shown to enhance memory
28. Plain popcorn is a great study snack food


29. Use colour to make your notes look interesting and more exciting to read
30. Avoid copying directly from the book, screen or teachers’ words
31. Write notes in your own words
32. Summarise the information with keywords and diagrams
33. Highlight important information
34. Frame key ideas and concepts
35. Draw pictures to help you recall the information (your brain remembers images before words)
36. Learn how to create mind maps
37. Write important information in red (red is the first colour your brain sees)

Time Management

38. Learn the information you DON’T know. Avoid wasting time on going over what you already know.
39. Create a weekly & monthly study plan
40. Plan what you want to learn each session
41. Avoid multi-tasking as your brain can only focus on one task 


42. Keep yourself hydrated with clean, pure water
43. Eat breakfast to give your brain learning fuel
44. Eat brain foods daily. These include nuts, broccoli, banana, blueberries, tomatoes & wholegrain bread.
45. Daily exercise helps improve blood flow which helps with thinking
46. Give yourself positive encouragement
47. Sleep 8-10 hours a night for maximum energy & alertness

Success Strategies

48. Set goals and achieve them step by step
49. Visualise your success daily
50. Remain positive and focus on a successful outcome

Download Karen’s FREE Study Smart Printable Poster here: https://tinyurl.com/studysmartposter


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Published on Thursday, April 1st, 2021, under Study Skills

Karen Tui Boyes is a champion for Life Long Learning across nations, industries and organisations. Winner of the NZ Educator of the Year 2017 and 2014 and the NZ Speaker of the Year award in 2013 & 2019, Karen is a sought after speaker who continually gets rave reviews from audiences around the world. Her dynamic style and highly informative content—which turns the latest educational research into easy-to-implement strategies and techniques — sets her apart from others in her field.

One Response to “50 Study Smart Tips For Success”

  1. Sonia says:

    Thank you Karen
    This is a wonderful resource which I will definitely
    pass to my teen son who is a let’s put off until tomorrow student.
    The work you are doing to promote study skills is awesome.

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