Three Secrets to Studying Effectively

In order to do well in university, it is essential to study effectively both in class and at home. When a university student studies effectively, it increases their chances of gaining higher marks in classes and increases the amount of information they received during classes. The main factors that influence how effectively a student studies include concentration, organization, and the quality of your notes.


Concentration could be applied to either maintaining attention in class or maintaining focus while studying. An important factor of concentration is the actions taken before going to class or studying. Before entering class, ensure that external factors such as hunger, dehydration, and lack of sleep are fulfilled to prevent distraction. Not maintaining our body can significantly affect our ability to concentrate. Research indicates a lack of food could cause glucose deprivation, which in turn causes a disturbance in the individual’s cerebral function. Therefore, regularly missing breakfast would cause low blood glucose levels, which results in negatively affecting cognitive performance (Gajre et al., 2008). Research also indicated that sleep deprivation negatively affects the individual’s working memory, long-term memory, attention, and decision making (Alhola & Polo-Kantola, 2007). It does not only affect the ability to maintain attention, but also several other functions that are essential in class and studying. Dehydration also has a negative effect on an individual’s cognitive performance. These problems occur in mild dehydration and result in short-term memory problems, an increase in anxiety, and poor concentration (Riebl & Davy, 2013). In order to prevent these factors from negatively affecting concentration, it is important to maintain nourishment, hydration, and sleep before going to class.

Concentration could also be negatively affected by distractions. Majority of students look at their phones and social media as a distraction, when they lose concentration in class. This can be prevented by turning off your phone before class and before studying. The people around you is also an important factor, studious friends are less likely to distract when compared to more social friends. Studious friends could also remind any missed information in class, and can revise your assignments to indicate any errors or mistakes. Another method of preventing distraction is by asking questions and participating in the class more often. Staying engaged prevents distraction and allows for more information intake at the same time. Distractions while studying could also be affected by the materials on your desk. By removing your phone and other fidgety items from your desk, it would be easier to maintain concentration. Another factor that could negatively affect concentration while studying is music. Research indicates that listening to music utilizes the brain’s cognitive abilities. This makes it significantly more difficult to memorize things while studying, due to your brain being occupied by the music.




Staying organized while in university is mandatory, it is up to the individual to attend classes on time and submit their assignments by the deadline. The main method of staying organized is by creating a structured schedule. At the start of the semester, it is recommended to create a schedule of all classes, assignments, tests, and exams. An effective way of doing this is through a calendar. Planning out the amount of how much work is need to do daily for assignments is also a great method to maintain organization. For example, if there is an assignment due in 1 week and the word limit is 2000 words, at least 290 words would need to be completed per day to complete the assignment by the deadline. The same could be applied to tests and exams in terms of how much is required to be studied. Using this method would ensure that assignments are submitted by the deadline and that tests and exams are prepared for.


Quality of Notes


Sometimes taking notes in lectures could be challenging due to a large amount of information in the lectures. This makes determining what to write down difficult. It is recommended to take notes on the main key points of the lecture instead of writing everything the lecturer says. A recorded lecture would make taking notes significantly easier due to the ability to rewind the video. Maintaining structure in notes is also important. Underlining main key points and separating your notes into different sections increases the clarity of the notes when revising them for exams. Comparing notes with friends is also useful in making sure both have the same information in the notes. Your friends could also indicate some key points that you might have missed.

n conclusion, maintaining concentration, organization, and quality notes are factors that will help you thrive in university and make studying more effective.

Kevin Alexander Ramli | Degree in Psychological Science, Monash University Malaysia