How to Study Smart, Not Hard6 min read

You could be pouring all your brainpower into prepping for that one course that’s always a royal pain to get over.

You could even be sacrificing your leisure hours just to get done with an organic chemistry final. You could be doing all that and still not be getting positive results.

And that is where studying hard, or too much, is such a momentum killer. As the wise Padme, Natalie Portman, puts it, “I don’t love studying. I hate studying. I like learning. Learning is beautiful.”  

And that is where all the difference lies. Venture out on a short journey with us and let’s understand just what Queen Amidala of Naboo is talking about.

Effectiveness is Key

There’s always more to study. Concepts keep coming and there are always sub-parts to everything.

You could burn the midnight oil countless times to read through an entire book thinking this is just how you ace your exam. Sadly, that isn’t quite how it works.

Simply reading and rereading texts or notes does not constitute active participation of your mind in learning the concepts. It is basically a review of your notes.

Going through your class notes at a pace where you’re just reading them isn’t the same as learning them.

Some may think that doing multiple runs on the same topic would eventually hammer it into your brain. But here’s, the thing: Rereading causes forgetfulness.

Albeit reading can be considered to be a vital aspect of studying, absorbing knowledge requires active participation in the content.

The process of generating meaning from material that entails drawing connections to lectures, forming examples, and managing your learning is known as active engagement. And that’s exactly what you want.

How to Study Smart, Not Hard

Get Creative

Learning doesn’t have to be completely devoid of color. It wouldn’t even be called learning if that was the case. You’re putting in your efforts and time to learn so make it a worthwhile process.

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1. The Internet is Your Friend:

YouTube is chock full of resources that can help give you an edge over your study process.

There are tons of students and teachers alike uploading lectures and guides by the day to make sure you get a good grasp of your course.

And with a fast internet service like CenturyLink high-speed internet, you can watch these videos and read through guides without any possibility of lag.

2. Go Shopping:

Go to your favorite bookstore. Get stuff that’ll help make learning fun for you. This can be anything from fancy flashcards to colorful notebooks.

Remember, the more you invest in making learning an activity that helps ease your mind, the more it’ll give back to you. Thus, more information is retained.

Make yourself comfortable too. Buy a nice, plush chair to sit in or a beautifully varnished wooden table that makes you want to study. It’s all about appealing to the mind.

3. Personalize your Gear

This can be interpreted in multiple ways. Get some lapel pins that adhere to your tastes. Maybe even some patches you can slap onto your bag.

Decorate your gear with stickers, patches, and lapel pins. Make it more you. So that when you want to get back to studying, you feel good picking up your bag that’s peppered with pins from your favorite fandom.

Or your water bottle has stickers of your university adorning it. Or even your laptop could have some motivational quotes on the inside reminding you just why you need this. It’s all up to you. And it’s all for you.

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4. Turn Facts into Songs

Compose a sing-a-long! There are no limits to learning. It’s all about how you get the information to stick in your head.

Just as how professors help you learn through mnemonics, like “Please Excuse My Aunt Sally” for Parenthesis, Exponent, Multiplication, Division, Addition, and Subtraction, the same way you could use Bruno Mars! “I’d Catch A Grenade For You” could pass as a mnemonic for Ingestion, Churning, Alimentary Canal, Grinding, Food-Yeet.

And lo and behold, you have the entire digestion process of the human body laid out in a lyric.

Space Out Your Day

It’s important to have control over your schedule to stretch out your studying across brief amounts of time throughout the day. And this can even be structured for weekly sessions.

Keeping a daily work plan can assist you in including frequent active studying sessions for each lesson. Every day, try to do something for each class.

Be detailed and realistic about how much time you want to devote to each task—there shouldn’t be more items on your list than you can do in a day.  

Gauge yourself and know your limits before committing yourself. For example, instead of doing all of your arithmetic problems the hour before class, you may tackle a couple every day. You can spend 15-20 minutes each day carefully reviewing your class notes in history.

Reward Yourself When Working on the Big Stuff

If you’re working on more technical, quantitative coursework, it’s a given that you’re going to come across problems that will leave your mind in disarray.

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And this is where you can either make or break yourself. Treat these problems as final bosses. Do your research. Work from the ground up in solving them.

It is frequently more necessary to work on issues in technical courses than to read the material. Write down the practice problems shown by the professor in class.

Annotate each step and ask yourself clarifying questions if necessary. With each step figured out, take a bite of cake or do a fist pump as you get one step closer to victory.

Make a long list of issues from the course materials and lectures to study for examinations. Work through the issues and explain the processes and why they work.

Figure out what they’re asking of you in the bigger picture. And after all your hard work once you conquer them don’t forget to reward yourself.

This can be something quite subtle as a pat on the back or a nice chocolate chip cookie or even going out for a walk with your pet. You deserve it. Instill some token economy into your workflow and get your due reward.


We often underestimate just how easy learning can be with the resources available to us in today’s digital age.

With a good internet connection, some colorful resources, and a healthy, active mindset, students can crush their assignments with ease. It all boils down to being smart about it.

Awesome one; I hope this article answers your question.

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