11 Good Study Habits to Better Understand Your Lessons

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Are you a student looking to build good study habits? Is your daily routine not as effective as it could be?

Maybe it’s time to follow a new study schedule that will help you better retain material, manage your time, help you retain information and even help you improve your concentration and focus.

(Side note: Want a PROVEN method to mastering your next test? Then take this short masterclass on how to study for exams and getting excellent grades)!

Here are 11 study routines you can use to enhance your learning style, develop a good study routine and start achieving your educational goals. ​

Good Study Habit #1 – Know Your Dominant Learning Style

It’s important to know that there are many different styles of learning and each person will retain information better in different ways.

  • As you can see, visual learners learn best when pictures, images, and spatial understanding is used. (Check out our collection of vision board ideas for students.)
  • Auditory learners prefer using music, sounds or both.
  • Kinesthetic learners prefer a more physical style of learning through using the body, sense of touch and hands.
  • Logical learners desire to use reasoning, logic and systems. (And like answering logic questions!)
  • Verbal learners will prefer using words in writing and speech.
  • Social learners will prefer to learn with other people or in groups.
  • Solitary learners are able to learn best alone.
7 Styles of learning infographic | understand your dominant learning style

Once you have figured out which style of learning works best for you, it will help you determine how to study, where to study, when to study, what distracts you and what study aids you should use.

Consistency gets results!

Make your study habit part of your morning routine so that it becomes an effortless part of your day. Get excited about learning instead of dreading your study schedule.

To learn more about the best way to learn, read our article on the Learning Retention Pyramid.

RELATED: Habits that Stick!

Want to build a new habit that will stick for the rest of your lifetime? In this video, you will discover a simple 9-step process about building habits that you can immediately implement.

Good Study Habit #2 – Create and Write Down Realistic Study Goals

If your goal is too big to achieve, then you might be setting yourself up for failure and this will also not help motivate you to study and accomplish your SMART student goals (or SMART teacher goals), or if you're in college, your SMART college student goals.

Once you know your learning style, do a self-assessment of your current study habits and your current grades.

SMART goal setting for good study habit basics
Use the SMART method when setting up study goals: set Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound.

Here are some questions to ask yourself that will help you create realistic goals and come up with a a plan for good study habits.

  • When do you usually study and for how long?
  • Do you find that it is effective?
  • Are you happy with your grades?
  • What subjects do you need to focus on or are having difficulty with?
  • What grades do you need to have in order to pass?
  • What are your personal commitments and priorities?

Here's our roundup of the best (and free) study plan templates to help make sure you stay on top of your academic goals.

After answering and reflecting on these questions, you’ll be able to see area where you need to focus.

Maybe you are not spending enough time doing the right amount of work necessary each day or perhaps you choose to study late at night when you’re not as alert and energetic.

If you have noticed your grades are slipping in certain courses then perhaps you need to hire a tutor to help you with those subjects.

If you are finding yourself short on study time and are more focused on your personal commitments, then maybe you may need to give up or decrease some social activities, social media and other distractions and devote more time to focus on your studying.

Use the SMART method when setting up goals: set Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound goals. [Find out everything about the SMART goal setting system HERE.]

Good Study Habit #3 – Make Study Time a Part of Your Daily Routine

If cramming all of your study time into a few long days isn’t working for you then it’s time to try something new (and way less stressful). Make time for studying every single day, with or without exams coming up.  

(Sidenote: You should also consider setting aside time to work on your “Super-Learning Skills.”  This course can show you how to do this.)

Remember that consistency is key and once you start getting into good study habits, it will become a routine and that you will be able to maintain throughout the school year. Self-discipline is key.

Check your schedule for the week or month, and consider your personal commitments: chores, must-attend activities and appointments. By looking at your calendar, and setting up your priorities, you will be able to schedule your study sessions for the month. All you need to do now is to stay committed to your new study schedule.

READ: The Study Plan Schedule Strategy (That Actually Works!)

When placing your study sections on your calendar, choose blocks of time during the day when you are at your peak performance. Some people work best in the mornings, and others, at night. If you’re unsure when you work best, try studying at different times of the day to see which suits you and your body clock best.

Learn how to create your own daily study routine and build good study habits.
Make time for studying every single day, with or without exams coming up.

Once you have found which block of time works best for you and scheduled it in, be aware that you can always add in additional time to study by waking up an extra hour early to review your notes, or if you work better at nights, go to bed an extra hour later.

Make sure you build flexibility into your schedule. Your calendar and schedule will change because of unforeseen events. Be ready to plan around some things that come your way and still make time to study.

Good Study Habit #4 – How to Structure Your Daily Study Routine

Here are some great ways to structure your study routine. It works best when you are mixing some of the different leaning styles as mentioned above.

Try starting with watching or attending your lectures, and then doing an additional 1-3 hours of personal study (with breaks) to reflect and review notes on those lectures. This way, you are using your auditory and visual learning styles as well as repetition, which will help you remember what you learned more clearly.

Start with the difficult topics and subjects first, so that you are not going to put them off until a later date. If these subjects are really difficult for you, then shorter study sessions will work better.

Schedule study sessions in 2, 30-minute to 1-hour blocks and be sure to take short 5- to 10-minute breaks in between. When you take breaks, you allow your mind to rest, revitalize and be ready for more learning.

Need a better way to plan your week? Try one of these free weekly planner templates to improve your productivity.

[This article on habit stacking might be helpful in building your study routine.]

Good Study Habit #5 – Establish a Study Zone

Establish a study zone, especially if you're engaged in virtual learning. Some people like quiet places, others will need a little bit of background noise. Which one do you prefer? If there is too much going on at your house then maybe it’s time to think about going to the library or a coffee bar and using headphones.

Make sure you have the necessary items with you when you study. You’ll need a desk that’s big enough to spread your books, laptop, paper and supplies.

Using the best study lighting is also important for everyone when studying. If you want to preserve your eyesight and maximize your time and energy, then choose lighting that will not cause eyestrain or fatigue so you can keep your study session effective at any time of the day.

Don’t be afraid to establish rules when you’re in your study zone. Let people living with you know that when your door is closed, it means you do not want to be disturbed. Try not to respond to phone calls or texts, this will break your concentration and you will lose focus.

Girl reading in a study zone
Establish a study zone. Make sure you have the necessary items with you when you study and enough lighting.

It’s best to find not just one place to study, but at least 2 or 3. This way, you will have a backup plan in case your main study area can’t be used. A change of environment is said to improve concentration and creativity so even if you don’t need to change places, it wouldn’t be a bad idea.

While you establish rules for others, you also need to establish rules for yourself. Get rid of all distractions. Don’t choose a place where you will be tempted to watch TV, check in with your smartphone, or study in a high traffic area where people will be coming and going.

Choose to study offline as much as possible. There are way too many distractions that are only a click away. If you need to check something, write it down and check it after your study session is over.

Helpful study tips to get the most out of your study session:

  • Avoid eating a heavy meal before studying. A heavy meal can make you sleepy which will make it more difficult for you to study. Choose to eat small and frequent meals instead.
  • Move or take a short walk before sitting down to study. Stretching, walking or even dancing will help prepare your body and mind to be more receptive to learning.
  • Prioritize your assignment dates: write down every assignment or task when you first hear about it instead of just “remembering” it. We live in such a fast paced world that’s full of distractions and it’s easy and normal to forget things.
  • Include important details such as page numbers, due dates, test dates, pointers, or anything else that might be helpful when writing assignments down.

One way to make prioritizing your tasks simple is to organize your study notes by using colors or labels. Whether you use an online notebook or a binder, developing your own color-coding system will help you (and your thoughts) get organized.

You can use colors to color-code your subjects, projects and even teachers. You can also use different colored pens, highlighters, sticky notes, folders and labels.

Colors and labels will also help you later when you when you need to review your notes, the colorful sections will help those notes stand out and be unique and memorable.

If you struggle to understand complex study material, using the Feynman technique can help you learn faster and more efficiently.

Good Study Habit #6 – Review Your Notes

Before and after your study sessions, you should always skim your notes from the recent lesson or topic you studied before starting on a new one. Reviewing your notes once before going to bed will also help to cement new knowledge into your brain. (Learn the differences between knowledge and wisdom.)

If you couple reviewing your notes with a good nights sleep, then you will significantly improve your ability to retain more information.

(Side bar: If you're having trouble remembering the material you're trying to learn, then The Feynman Technique can help you solve this issue.)

Good Study Habit #7 – Take Great Notes

Do you find yourself struggling with taking good notes? It’s important that you develop your note-taking skills so that, when you review them, they are beneficial and will help you study and remember important information.

Remember that you don’t need to take notes of everything! Only write down what is important; if the teacher keeps repeating something or has written something down then, you should take note of this.

Your note-taking style might also depend on your learning style like we mentioned above. Perhaps you might need to draw little diagrams in your notes if you are more of a visual learner.

It is important to take notes to study at peak efficiency
Develop your note-taking skills so that, when you review them, they are beneficial and will help you study and remember important information.

If you are an auditory learner, you might learn better if you audio-record the class discussions and lectures and then listen to them over again to help you study. Or you can also listen to informational and educational podcasts related to the subject. The definition of a good study routine is, after all, one that works with your specific quirks and personality. So therefor good notes do not need to be handwritten if your learning style is auditory. Work with the learning style that best suits your needs.

Another fun way to remember things is to use mnemonics for better memory recall. For any type of list, steps, stages or parts you can use mnemonic devices to help you retain information. Mnemonic types include: music, name, expression, rhyme, spelling and more.

(If you're looking for another way to improve your memory, check out these memory games.)

Good Study Habit #8 – Use Laptops & Smartphones Wisely During Class

If you are using a laptop for note-taking in class, then make sure you are still able to focus and pay attention. Laptops and phones can bring down your grade. Don’t believe us? Check out this link. (source)

You don’t want to get used to surfing the web, checking social media or using your smartphone while learning in class, if you are on the internet, texting, or checking your email in the presence of a teacher, then you will probably do the same when you’re studying.

(Looking for a different way to learn? Check out this list of the best educational apps to help you personalize learning for kids.)

Good Study Habit #9 – Consider Joining a Study Group

If you are a social learner then you should consider joining a study group. Study groups can help you remember class material better. You can ask questions to clarify difficult points, and hear questions that others have that may be beneficial for you to know the answer to.

In order to find study groups that will work for your needs; find people as dedicated as you are. You don’t want to study with a group that isn’t devoted and willing to work hard.

You should also keep your study groups numbers to a decent size; you shouldn’t need more than 6 people in your group.

Study groups of college students
Find a study groups that will work for your needs with people willing to work hard and as dedicated as you are.

Exchange contact details and decide together on a place and what type of study schedule will work best for the group.

One of the best benefits of joining a study group is that you will be able to ask, discuss, debate, and quiz each other on the topics at hand. You could even keep your study group online if traveling to one spot won’t work well for everyone.

Good Study Habit #10 – Get Enough Sleep and Rest

Studying when you’re sleepy is ineffective. If your body is telling you that you’re tired, then have a nap or go to bed early.

A good night’s sleep will help you understand and remember information better. It is also much less stressful to take an exam or attend a class when you feel well rested and alert.

If you’re finding that you are getting stressed out or tired, reflect back on your study schedule and priorities.

student sleeping in class | importance of good nights sleep to study and learning
A good night’s sleep will help you understand and remember information better… and prevent you from sleeping in class!

Make sure that you have dedicated time for rest and de-stressing. You can’t be a study machine 24/7 and taking some time away from learning is a great way to relax your mind. If watching shows or movies is your go-to way of relaxation, check out these motivational movies for students.

Good study habits require you to be fresh and sharp. A good night's sleep is far more effective than a night cramming for a test could ever be.

Good Study Habit #11 – Create a Daily Study Timetable

Make sure you track your grades along with your study hours and lesson notes to see if your new studying techniques are helping.

If you find that it is not helpful, then it’s time to re-prioritize your schedule to fit in more time for studying and re-examine your goals for success.

Remember that throughout school, work and life, you will always need to be learning something.  

When you have set up the proper studying techniques and note-taking skills, you are giving yourself one of the greatest gifts possible, the ability to learn.

What are the Habits You MUST Add to Your Morning Routine?

Get the most out of your study habit by making it a part of your morning routine. Hopefully, this collection of good study routines will help you in improving your studying skills.

Looking for more ways to improve your learning ability? Here's our post on how to learn anything fast!

Finally, if you want a PROVEN method to mastering your next test, then take this short masterclass on how to study for exams and getting excellent grades.

11 Good Study Habits for Students: How to Build a Daily Routine -- Build good study habits that will help you how to study and remember.
11 Good Study Habits to Better Understand Your Lessons

25 thoughts on “11 Good Study Habits to Better Understand Your Lessons”

  1. Reading this post I noticed some underlying principles, useful in developing good habits in any area:
    -know thyself
    -break your goals into disciplines
    -take a proper care of your body
    -track your results and tune your methods

  2. Hi SJ – good stuff, as usual. thanks for the post.

    I am a big fan of having a good study routine. Personally, it was one of those little things that have made a big difference, not only to my grades when I was a student, but also later in my life.

    In my opinion, the key to success is also to keep the motivation up and focus on intrinsic rewards (rather than extrinsic): the road to mastery, your purpose/mission and achieving the milestones toward your big goal. Tracking your progress is a great way of keeping the focus on your intrinsic motivation.

    I just wanted to add one more thing to the section on creating a study routine: make it enjoyable. How? set it up the way you can look forward to it. For instance, I do it in the morning, before my family gets up: and it’s my best time of the day (peak productivity), my ‘me time’, my favorite cup of coffee, and I really enjoy it. I still get up at 5.15am, even though I’m not at the uni anymore. I always find something to learn – I’ve done many MOOCs, and other courses. I don’t HAVE to, but I do it for the joy of learning.

  3. SJ, love your books. Could I get the contact info for your designer (I’ve heard you’re willing to share that.). Also, I do a podcast for traders with about 20,000 listeners and would love to interview you about “waking up happy” and morning routines sometime.

    My contact info is rob at robbooker.com

    • Rob,

      First of all, I would love to do your podcast. It is an honor. Shoot me an email at stevescottsite AT gmail DOT com and we will set up a time that is good for both of us.

      Re: Cover Designer: The person I use is Kyle. He charges around $150 for a cover design. If you’d like to use a certain graphic, then you’d need to purchase it off a website (I use iStockPhoto.com for this.) What Kyle provides is the basic, “Kindle-Ready” cover. That means if you need the design converted to a paperback version, that’s something he charges extra for.

  4. This is a great post SJ!

    Habit 1 resonated with me so much and because it is very true that each of us have his or her own comfortable learning style. I remember back in high school and college, I used to study for major exams just after midnight. I will eat early and make sure to be in bed by 6 or 7PM. I will sleep until 12AM to 1AM and then get up and study with a cup of coffee right by my side. I love the tranquility of those hours. Place is quiet, except for the sound of barking dogs so I was able to focus.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • That is an interesting way of studying. I also love that quite time when no one is awake. It really is a good time to get things done!

  5. I am writing these comments a few dozen times, Idk why but the commenst plugin doesnt approve my website?
    About the goal topic, I want to add that there is a book titled Goal suck and James Altucher says goals will fail you when themes will help you succeed.

    • Sorry, comment was sitting in my “approve” queue. Once and a while it wordpress drops people in there, even though they have had approved comments before. I will shoot you an email with editor info shortly.

      Goals suck. That is a Matt Stone book. I know that guy. I agree, mostly. Goals are essential and vital, IMO. But spending too much time focused on goals and not enough on doing is a recipe for failure. Like many other things moderation is the key to using them with success.

  6. This is nice and effective post SJ. Thanks a lot.I love to learn and again thanks for the precious 11 study habits.Thanks!!!

  7. What are some of the benefits of having a good study timetable and a good time schedule?

  8. Yes, I agree. I’m studying for a public tender in my country. Ihaven’t girlfriend, for I need time. Will be do I doing the right thing? I need help you all. It’s not nice to live without a partner, but i’m trying the impossible. Am I toward the right way? This is my doubt.

    See you!!!!!!!

    • I think it is best to always work on yourself first. The women will come in time, and it is a lot easier to get/keep them with a good job.

  9. I really liked this article, it was really refreshing! You did a great job writing it, and I can tell you did your research. All of these tips have the potential to help you utilize your study time better. However, it is a good idea to try various things until you hit on the exact combination of factors that allow you to develop good study habits and ultimate success in your future.

  10. Good information. I’ve written an article about effective study habits. The techniques of an effective way of studying the lessons are based on cognitive science studies. Maybe the article can add to the information you have here. If you want you can visit http://psychlens.com/effective-study-habits/. Thanks a lot for sharing this wonderful piece of information.

  11. -Some info that I found helpful, was to not eat a big meal before studying, because it will cause you not to focus.
    -Something that I will do this year, is use study habits that work for me/I like. For ex: I like visual studying/videos.
    -a tip of my own, is to use flash cards.

  12. wow this is amazing, things i took for granted or less important are things that are helpful, it changed my mentality toward reading, this is great, thanks for the tips.

  13. I am not good at study and you written a long essay , if I good at study why should i searched for good such kind of tips looking such tips which change my life towards study , please give some good and interactive tips which really helps .


  14. Very well written and useful.
    I like how you distinguish different ways for people because we all are very different.

    ‘As you can see, visual learners learn best when pictures, images, and spatial understanding is used.
    Auditory learners prefer using music, sounds or both.
    Kinesthetic learners prefer a more physical style of learning through using the body, sense of touch and hands.
    Logical learners desire to use reasoning, logic and systems.
    Verbal learners will prefer using words in writing and speech.
    Social learners will prefer to learn with other people or in groups.
    Solitary learners are able to learn best alone.’
    That’s thoughtful.

  15. Thanks for explaining these 7 types of learning to us. Each student will have different statistics. of learning. But the only thing depends is how you learn and effectively implement the same in your learning. One must isolate yourself from all your distractions. One must not waste time too much. And also one must find the best time to study. You gave nice tips.

  16. Wonderful post. These habits are ones that all of us should use but we sometimes forget in the rush of every day work. A great list to keep nearby and remind yourself to slow down and pay attention. Thanks.

  17. Wow! Really great post. The 4th one is really important. When I was a kid, I used to study continuously but after sometimes this is quite difficult for me to remember anything. That’s why I love Pomodoro technique. Study for a while and take 5-10 minute rest.

    You also discussed study zone and style of learning. This really important because a learning environment can help us to learn quickly as well as effectively.

    Thanks for Sharing!

  18. SJ, I genuinely liked this one.
    very interesting and of course knowledgeable too..
    thank you so much as i am a bit (not a bit ,very very much) lazy .
    it was good though

    keep motivating!!!!!!!!!!!

  19. It’s actually very difficult in this active life to listen news
    on Television, thus I just use internet for that reason, and
    get the most recent information.

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