How to Study as You Head Back to School

Schools never teach us how to study, yet it’s the most important skill for succeeding at school. Get-It-Done Guy has 7 expert study skills to help you master your learning.

Stever Robbins
5-minute read
Episode #235

How to Study Tip #3: Use Physical Books

There’s also evidence that you learn better from physical books than from ebooks. Your brain uses subliminal cues to help make the material distinct and easier to recall in your mind: how the light hits the page, where things are on the page, how you’re holding the book, what the cover looks like, and so on.

Memory gets reinforced most by reviewing right before you forget. 

How to Study Tip #4: Call Out Difficult Material

If you’ve spent a lot of time on a concept and just can’t quite get it, write it down in your notes and put a big star next to it. Go on to study other concepts. A few hours later—ideally after you’ve done something relaxing and totally unrelated—come back and dive into the starred concept again. Your brain uses sleep, day-dreaming, and distraction time to consolidate information. The second or third time you visit something new, you’ll be more likely to understand it.

How to Study Tip #5: Use Irregular Reviews

Reading material once isn’t enough to learn it. Review your notes the day after you take them. Review by trying to recall what you’ve learned. When you can’t recall something, look at your notes or the textbook to remind yourself. This part is important! If you want to know how to study, memorization is only half the skill; recall is the other half.

Review material a couple of hours after you learn it, a day later, a week later, and then a month later. Each review will take less time than the one before. Reviewing at increasing intervals actually works better  than daily reviews! Memory gets reinforced most if you review right as you’re on the edge of forgetting.


About the Author

Stever Robbins

Stever Robbins was the host of the podcast Get-it-Done Guy from 2007 to 2019. He is a graduate of W. Edward Deming’s Total Quality Management training program and a Certified Master Trainer Elite of NLP. He holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School and a BS in Computer Sciences from MIT.