Education Technology

5 Study Tips from a Student #StudyGrammer

Posted 04/06/2023 by TI Staff

Handwritten notes neatly displayed. Carefully organized school accessories complete with color-coordinated pens and highlighters. And a desk propped right next to a window for plenty of light. All the makings of a “studygram” account created on Instagram.

When Sophia from @girlmeetsdesk started her own studygram, she was interested in ways to manage all the new pressures of being a freshman in high school, including her drive to get good grades. It first started with dashes of glamour and artistic visuals. But when she started adding relatable, research-backed study tips to help improve her own study habits, she found she wasn’t alone.

Thousands of students wanted to know more. Not only how to make the most of their time by studying more efficiently and effectively, but also how to balance it with their other responsibilities both social and academic.

Today, Sophia’s studygram has 100,000 followers.

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Starting a studygram as a new high school student

As a new freshman in high school, Sophia expected her classes to get harder — of course they would! But she had her sights set on college, so it was important to her that she do well in school and earn good grades. Sometimes, however, it’s easier said than done.

“It’s very easy for you to get discouraged [in school] because you feel that if you don’t study hard enough you’ll lag behind.”

It’s when a friend of hers casually mentioned a bullet journal she was creating that Sophia was given an idea. She would make an Instagram account … and start studygramming!

At first, the goal of her posts was to help improve her own study habits (and to have some fun adding her own creative flair). Eventually, she started including various study tips she’d come across, particularly those from research-based sources like university-published articles, and discovered her number of followers began to grow.

“A lot of my study tips combine traditional study methods and more technological study methods … it helps to not only give followers options, but it also appeals to more students.”

As the positive responses came flooding in, Sophia realized more and more there were thousands of students just like her; those who had the motivation to do well in school, but didn’t always know how to make the most of their study time. So, Sophia kept at it … learning new study tips that she could pass along to fellow students who could really benefit from it.

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Study tip #1: You need to create a routine and stick to it

A lot of Sophia’s studygram posts focus on giving students tips to study effectively even when they don’t want to. That means creating a routine for yourself to follow.

To a teacher or parent, studying when you don’t feel like it may seem like something that should go without saying, but Sophia understands it’s not always that simple. (After all, there can be a lot going on in students’ lives and she was no different.) For many of her followers, creating that routine to be more dedicated to studying was something they were struggling to do. They wanted help.

“It sounds very cliché, but you have to have a schedule and you have to be disciplined … I would sometimes shut down my phone or use one of the focus apps, like Flora. It forces you to actually study and eliminate the distractions.”

A simple tip she offers to stay dedicated and keep up a routine is to treat yourself with some form of positive reinforcement, like a piece of candy for completing a new chapter.

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Study tip #2: How to study when you’re feeling pressured

Sophia mentions how it’s common for students to feel the weight and pressure of school, and she feels it too. The classes are more difficult. The demands on your time can start to pile up. Social groups may be a concern. And, of course, the thoughts of college applications and your academic future are always there.

How can you study with all that going on? Sophia advocates students to block off their time — a part of the day that is reserved only for studying. In fact, it’s a big part of her own studying routine.

“Right when you get home from school you just want to crash or take a nap — but you can’t. Because you have to do homework, or you have an exam the next day. So, one of the things I did was to make sure I block my time.”

Despite all the pressure of school, it’s still very important for students to keep up with their studies. But even more important is remembering what you study. That’s why Sophia often refers back to something she learned from her research: the curve of forgetting.

Essentially, the curve of forgetting is a memory model as explained in an article posted by Campus Wellness at the University of Waterloo. It suggests people may lose 50%–80% of new information by the second day after first learning it, if no steps are taken to review the new information before that time. After one week, people remember even less and may only retain 2%–3% of the information after just one month.

That’s why Sophia strongly recommends reviewing class material within the first 24 hours of learning it, rather than waiting several days or more to study it again. That way, according to the memory model, you’re more likely to remember the material. (And, ultimately, the hope here is students will do better on their quizzes and tests.)

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Study tip #3: Stay happy and focus on yourself

Many students feel like they are constantly being faced with the pressure to do well in school, and it can have a negative impact on a student’s happiness and overall wellbeing. As Sophia points out, “As a student, you forget to be happy. Many think happiness is less important than good grades … or happiness is dependent on good grades.”

Sophia stresses the point that, although studying is important, don’t let it get in the way of happiness. Because being happy should always be the main goal.

“Many students lose sight of the happiness that studying can take away. I think it’s important to find a balance.”

As a way of focusing on their own happiness, another study tip she offers her followers is to focus on yourself and your own grades; it’s not about the people around you or how well your friends are doing in their classes. She emphasizes how comparing yourself to others just adds more pressure, and who needs that?

“They always say comparison is the thief of joy … I think as a student that’s very true. I was struggling with that a lot in high school. One way to combat that, which I personally did, was to just focus on your own studying.”

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Study tip #4: Studying is one thing, but test anxiety is a different beast

Test anxiety is something every student is bound to face at some point in their academic journey. Sophia wants her followers to know they aren’t alone, so her studygram also offers advice and insights on ways to combat test anxiety.

Knowing the key differences between exams is the first place to start, like your typical classroom test versus an AP® exam or other high-stakes tests like the ACT® and SAT® exams. It helps students understand how to prepare for upcoming exams and what to focus on when studying.

So, what is the difference between a classroom test and a high-stakes one? Sophia highlights the fact that a classroom test will focus on very specific questions because it’s testing your knowledge of a particular subject matter. When studying, students should concentrate on the details; essentially know the content front and back.

On the other hand, something like the SAT® and ACT® exams test for general knowledge of key topics. That’s why Sophia recommends her followers study the main points of the tests’ topics, rather than spend time worrying about the finer details.

When it comes to combating test anxiety, Sophia also tells students to watch the clock and be sure they’re managing their time appropriately. (Basically, don’t spend too much time on one question.) The last thing any student wants is to run out of time, or feel the need to rush through the end of an exam.

Another of Sophia’s study tips is to read test questions carefully — one word could change the entire meaning of the question.

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Study tip #5: You don’t really have to like studying

According to Sophia, it’s one thing to appreciate studying. It’s another thing to like the act of studying.

“I have learned to appreciate [studying] and what I gain from it; I don’t necessarily like it.”

And that’s okay! A point Sophia makes is students don’t have to enjoy studying in order to benefit from it. For her, she has come to appreciate it because she loves what studying ultimately provides: knowledge, learning and experience.

Like most things in life, practice makes perfect — and it’s really no different with studying. As Sophia puts it, “With studying, once you practice it more and more, it comes more naturally to you. And that’s why people understand to dislike it less, or to appreciate it more, or even come to love it.”

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There’s so much knowledge available out there for students to learn how to create better study habits for themselves. For Sophia, high school will eventually come to an end as she fulfills her dreams of college — but the studygramming will continue! Through all the rigors of academics, she’ll help make sure there’s a place for students to find useful tips and advice should they ever need it.

Follow Sophia @girlmeetsdesk.

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