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Three Superior Study Tips from a UPenn Senior

Updated: Feb 22, 2023

Knowing how to study and manage time effectively can significantly boost academic success. Below are key tips that will guarantee more efficient studying and time management.

Active studying

Studying smart means actively engaging with the material. There are two great ways to do this.

First, teach the material you’re being tested on to another person. Walk someone through how certain concepts work or how to solve a particular problem. Take note of what parts you’re uncertain about or where you struggled most in your explanation – those are the areas you need to spend more time learning.

Second, write down content outlines on course material. Try filling it out by memory, writing down explanations and details for each concept. Handwrite these notes, as studies have demonstrated this helps with memorization and conceptual understanding.

Make sure to give yourself enough time to study in advance. Create a study schedule for yourself by starting from your test date and working backward from there. Write down what and how many chapters you wish to cover per day and on which days, then hold yourself accountable to your study plan.

Productive time management

In order to better manage your time, follow the Pomodoro technique – a time management system that encourages people to work with the time they have efficiently. This method challenges you to segment your time into manageable intervals that maximize brain concentration and rest periods.

Try out the method for the first time by breaking a one-hour study session into three twenty-minute chunks of fifteen minutes of studying with a five-minute break.

Search Youtube for Pomodoro method study videos to get more time management ideas. Linked here is a great one to get you started.

SMART goal setting

Finally, make sure to set study and time management goals for yourself. The kind of goals that achieve the greatest success are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound, easily remembered with the acronym SMART. Set time aside to create SMART goals for yourself as you study, and this will help motivate you as you navigate large chunks of time to efficiently prepare for tests or exams.

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Lark Yan was an academic specialist at College Torch. Follow College Torch by joining our private Facebook group for Parents of College-Bound Students.

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