Developing Effective Study Habits and Strategies


Have you heard the phrase, “Work smarter, not harder”?

Study skills — the essential student behaviors and and habits which ensure successful learning experiences — are not innate. They are learned.

Developing solid study skills usually helps improve grades, learning ability, and information retention. These habits and skills include choosing the right environment, developing focus,, minimizing distractions, employing multiple modalities when learning new information, taking breaks and rewarding yourself, and setting realistic expectations.

Choose the Right Environment

Different students excel in different settings. There’s no one-size-fits-all studying environment.

Studying or doing schoolwork in a noisy environment may seem ill-advised, but tudies show that some students retain information best when they work in a setting that has dull noise and other stimuli in the background. Coffee shops or study rooms with instrumental music may fit the bill.

Other students require silence, such as in library settings, in order to perform at their highest level.

The perfect environment for working and studying can be as individual as each student. Let your student try a couple of different options to see what feels right to them.

Develop a Focused Mindset

Research shows that your attitude and mindset while you study can have a significant impact on how well you retain the information that you study and how productive you are. If you are feeling severely distracted by something, whether it’s an argument with a friend, something going on at home, or a big project in another class, it may be best to take a quick break and resume your studies when you are feeling more focused.

Studying can be a drag, but well-prepared students will learn how to focus on their goals despite the boredom.

Minimizing Distractions

While different students have different needs when it comes to the optimal study environment, it is important to recognize the difference between an environment with a lot of stimulation versus an environment filled with distractions.

Cell phones, television, friends hanging out and trying to have conversations – these are distractions.

On the other hand, soft background music, white noise, or movement in a room can be effective tools for students who need some activity happening around them to settle in for a good study session.

Take Breaks and Reward Yourself

Set time limits for your studies. After 15-20 minutes, treat yourself! It is in our nature to avoid or dread doing things that we perceive as being less than fun.

Scheduling a 2-hour block of time to study with no breaks seems daunting and, well, awful.  Consider setting a timer for 45 minutes, then taking a 5 or 10 minute ‘time out’ for a snack or a movement break, then get back to it!

Set bigger goals and bigger rewards for more time spent studying, or bigger accomplishments. Segmenting time and reaching goals reinforces self-discipline which is an important skill you will use throughout your life.

Employ Multiple Modalities When Learning Something New

Using different learning modalities (auditory, visual, tactile/kinesthetic, taste, and smell) can be an incredibly useful tool in absorbing and retaining new information. Simply reading new information often isn’t enough; take notes while reading, say it out loud, act it out. By engaging other parts of your brain, the information becomes more deeply embedded your memory and will be easier to recall in class or during a test.

Planting Seeds Tutoring - How We Can Help

We, at Planting Seeds Tutoring, have the ability and luxury of being able to individualize student experiences during their tutoring time, every time.

Working with small groups, or one-on-one, allows us to teach and model a variety of  proven study strategies and skills until we find the one that feels right for you student.

We can revisit, tweak, and reinforce these strategies and skills while working on other academic material.

Contact Planting Seeds Tutoring Today

To find out further information about how we can help your student develop effective study habits and strategies, or to learn more about the services offered at Planting Seeds Tutoring, an Austin, South, and Central Texas-based tutoring company, visit our blog, our website, and follow us on Facebook.

You can also contact Planting Seeds Tutoring with your questions at (972) 342-6496, or via email at