Tips to Study Effectively For Your Exams

Tips to Study Effectively For Your Exams

College is not the same as high school - cramming for an exam at the last minute just doesn't cut it anymore! I learned that the hard way when I FAILED my first college paper. Using these 6 MUST-READ Tips to Study Effectively, I scored a 4.0 GPA on my next semester! Check out this How to Study Effectively post to improve your grades now!

I don’t know about you, but this is the time where my stress (and caffeine) levels are at an all-time-high. Because of assignments. And reports. And of course, finals. So today I thought I’d share some tips to study effectively for your exams. These tips have really helped me the past year, and hopefully they’ll help you out too!

No kidding, I was probably the biggest procrastinator that you would have ever met. I’m not going to lie, I still procrastinate a little. I know you do, too! That’s totally okay, as long as we have a clear idea of what we can procrastinate and what we absolutely cannot, right? One of those absolutely cannots is to study for your exams. I used to think it was okay and that cramming a few days before was fine. Well, it was until I made the slightly regrettable decision of majoring in an engineering course. No, I’m kidding. It’s all rainbows and butterflies. Ha-ha. So with my procrastination on an all-time-high, I failed a paper in my first semester. That was it, you guys. That smacked me real hard right in the face and motivated me to study, study, study. I’m glad to report that I did extremely well (proud!) for my second semester because of these super easy tips to study effectively.

These MUST-READ Tips to Study Effectively have helped me go from failing a paper, to getting a 4.0 the next semester. If you're looking for study tips on how to ace your finals, check out this How to Study Effectively post!

Know the Type of Student You Are

One of the most important tips to study effectively is to know the type of student you are. Sounds weird, right? But I promise you, this makes a world of difference! Are you the type of student who writes down and absorbs everything the lecturer says? Or are you the type of student that absolutely cannot focus in lectures? Oops, guilty. I didn’t know this when I was in my first semester and I just scribbled down everything the lecturer said, while my head was literally walking into a Sephora store and swatching everything. I finally realised that what I was writing down was a bunch of useless stuff because I was writing down every. single. thing. I also realised that I study way better by myself. So now I just go into lectures and keep my ears open. Then after the class, I read through the notes and write down only the important bits, in my own words and how I understand it.

Choose Your Study Area Wisely

Most universities have a designated quiet study area. This study area was made for me (not literally haha). I absolutely cannot focus on anything when there’s people talking around me. You might prefer a much casual setting, perhaps a cafe? Remember, it’s all about what works for you!

Tips to Study Effectively for Your Exams

Are Distractions Really All That Bad?

Music. We all love music. But many of my friends study in pin-drop silence. I personally can’t or I’d be too bored, haha! So I usually put in my earphones, and turn on an acoustic playlist on Spotify. In a quiet study area, with soft music in my ears, that’s where I’m in my own zone. That’s where I can effectively study and absorb. I’m going to be saying absorb a lot, for lack of a better term. And then there’s your phone. I know that just looking at your phone makes you want to scroll through Instagram or text a few friends. To me, that isn’t such a bad thing. I take a break when I feel like my brain is fully saturated. That’s the only time I use my phone in a study sesh though. If you’re too distracted by your phone and need to check it every two minutes, turn it off.

Know What the Subject You’re Studying For Is All About

This was one of the main things I was doing wrong in my first semester. Know what your subject is all about, is it more theoretically-based? Are there many things that you have to remember word for word? Or is your subject like mine, where it’s mostly based on calculations? If it’s theoretical, your lecture notes are your best bet. But if it’s all calculations, focus on doing a ton of examples and tutorial questions.

Sample Papers!

Sample papers, or past year papers are your best friend. They show you exactly what type of questions to expect in your finals. I also find that doing a ton of past year papers actually help because sometimes, there might be a repeat question in your actual paper!

Give Yourself Enough Time.. and Divide Accordingly

The most important tip to study effectively is of course, give yourself enough time. Look through your unit scope, your notes and think. I start studying a month and a half before my finals (which is a lot, considering one semester is only 12 weeks). If you’re doing a very heavy subject, start earlier so you can put all your focus into it before starting an easier subject. Dividing your time is so important! I do three weeks of theory and notes, where I actually read through notes and examples to make sure I understand. Then the remaining five to six weeks is spent on tutorial questions, examples and past year papers.

Those are a few tips to study effectively, and I hope it was helpful! There’s no set rule because everyone studies differently, so it’s really about what works for you. Ask yourself what type of student you are, find out what your subject requires, and give yourself enough time. Stop procrastinating, and lets aim for that 4.0 🙂

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Thanks for reading, xoxo


  • Great tips! I only listen to music during reading homework. If I’m studying for exams I usually put on noise cancelling headphones.

    Alix |

  • Great tips!

  • Michelle Mink

    I haven’t had to study for exams in years. I do however have to memorize lines for work so I apply study techniques to that.

  • Saraphina Mohamed

    These are really great tips! would definitely try them out once my exams are around the corner! 🙂

    Saraphina x

    • Hope it works out for you! Good luck! 🙂

  • Macarena Ferreira

    Thanks for sharing this! Deff sending this to my little sis since I’m no longer in school.

    xo // www.

    • Thank you for sharing it! 🙂

  • Kristin Thompson

    These are all great tips! I always had to study in my room because I would get way too distracted in the library or student center.

    The Blush Blonde

    • I’m glad you can focus in your room, lucky you!

  • Great tips! I always had to have a change of location when I was studying for exams. I could never get any studying done in my room.

    • Same! Too many distractions, right? Haha. Glad you found a spot, though!

  • Great tips! It took me 4 years to figure it out in college but I finally took by B/C averages to high Bs and high As this semester! I actually got a perfect score on one exam! I need to be in an environment that just doesn’t have any distractions – that’s key for me.

    • Congrats, girl! I’m glad you found out what works best for you!

  • Ahhh such lovely, lovingly thought out tips! This will be so useful for when I get back to studying, I’m really excited at the thought 😀 your blog and photos are so dreamy and darling! xx

    elizabeth ♡ ”Ice Cream” whispers Clara | (lets follow each other on bloglovin or instagram)

    • Thank you, that means a lot to me! I’m glad it was helpful for you 🙂 Good luck! x

  • Lani

    Thanks that really helped me! I found out why im not getting my homework done. It was because had to many distraction around me. Thank you sooooo much!

  • Aireona93

    I’ve maintained a 4.0 all through my Phd, and having good study skills are extremely important for that. Always good to share your strategies with other people.

  • tissy

    I am past the school ‘me’ but shared with my eldest and recent graduate and my 16yr old – really good learnings for young adults.

  • Dada KS

    Really helpful tips! As you I love to procastinate! My only thing that really work for me is that I do everything at the very last minute! It does get kind of stressful but since I have no choice I just do it! And you know what? They always get done!

  • Ellie Augustin

    I’ll be sure to pass this along to my oldest who’s now a Soph. in college Oh I remember the days and am SOOO happy my school days are over ha!

  • Tina Hogan Grant

    I remember my college days and how disorganized I was. I’m surprised I actually made it through college. This would have been valuable information back then LOL Wonderful tips for anyone in college. Well done of knuckling down and getting 4.0 you should be proud. 🙂

  • Technology Around Me

    Great study tips! I find it very inspiring that you can improve your GPA by putting some effort and planning into your study habits. Knowing what type of student you are and what requirements the subject has is so important. Time is so limited, and this information helps to use is wisely and prioritize.

  • Hra

    Great tips!! I hope to knew them when i was at college 🙂

  • Super Millennial

    These are great tips! When I was in college I was so guilty of cramming and pulling all nighters — seemed to work though so I can’t complain lol

  • College was so much about procrastination and cramming for me. These are awesome tips though! And I think that as my kids get older they are going to need to remember these types of study tips.

  • Steph

    These are great tips hun! Thank you for sharing! I’m no longer in school but these were essentially what I used to do when studying:) All the best!

  • David Elliott

    That give yourself enough time and dividing it up accordingly is so important. You can make all kinds of things work when you do it properly. I didn’t get better at it until I Was in college and then I wanted multiple things. When I knew I wanted something I knew I just had to give myself the kind of time I needed to do it and getting out in front of more difficult projects.

  • I desperately wish I had read this in college! What a wonderful article you go girl!

  • At the end of the day, success in school comes with doing the heavy lifting of studying, reading and writing. Without practice, we all fail.