Study Methods: The Do’s and Don’ts

Students are concerned about whether their study techniques are helping them to progress. Students seek suggestions from their private tutors and consult their school teachers. The confusion primarily stems from the fact that a study technique takes a long time to show results.

Students can only test the effectiveness of their study techniques based on their performance on class tests or mid-term assessments. However, this can be ambiguous as well as there may be other factors that can influence a positive outcome of an examination (for example, the exam paper may have relatively simple questions).

So, to clear our doubts, here are some things you should do and shouldn’t do when it comes for your study session!


Many students may think that no matter how cluttered or messy their room may look, it is still suitable for studying as long as they are comfortable. However, the truth is that our brains get affected by these small distractions even if it does not seem like it. Picking a conducive environment to study in is mainly a lot of trial error.

study room

Just because one environment is suitable for one student does not mean it is suitable for another. Some students may prefer to study in an open area with fresh air while others may prefer to study in an enclosed air-conditioned room. Some students get easily distracted by noises while other students cannot concentrate on studying if the environment is too quiet.

Students need to identify their main distractors and understand the importance of minimising them!


Students who already study a few hours a day still think that they can only improve if they dedicate even more time to studying. However, the quality of studying is a more important factor than duration. Thus, students should take breaks within their study sessions.

studying strategies

However, this break should not be too long as this will greatly decrease the effectiveness of the study session. The break should consist of a simple and short activity such as a walk, reading a book, watching a video, etc. One common mistake that students make is using a break as an excuse to procrastinate.

This is a huge mistake as procrastination greatly reduces the effectiveness of study sessions. Don’t stay up all night studying. Students may label themselves as night owls and argue that they are more efficient at night but the truth is that humans are designed to sleep at night and this efficiency will only be short-lived.  


No matter how smart or naturally talented a student may be, revision is still necessary for that student to do well in an examination. However, students may use certain revision techniques that are not very effective. For example, re-reading notes and relistening to lecture audio recordings are good for recapping content but are neither effective nor efficient in preparing for an examination. Instead, students should use methods that are not as passive.

For example, they can write questions for themselves to answer in the future. This is effective as students understand their own weaknesses and thus can set questions specifically to tackle them. If students are not confident in setting questions for themselves, they can instead choose to keep old tests and quizzes and redo them to revise for their examinations.  


Some students have the ability to understand anything given enough time without the help of others but this is not the case for the majority. Even though students may know that they need external help, they may be too shy or simply just too stubborn to ask others for help.


These students need to accept the fact that they cannot improve and reach their goals without asking others for help. Once they have accepted this fact, it is important for them to pick the correct person to ask for help. Picking someone who is as confused as themselves will make learning much harder than it needs to be. Instead, students should pick friends who are confident in the topic. Otherwise, home tutors are always there to guide students.

Students who pick friends based on how close they are generally will end up getting nothing done. This is because the study session will transform into a chat session. At the same time, it is also important not to have certain people just for the sake of asking them questions. Being a leech may be beneficial in the short run but it displays poor character and students will suffer the consequences in the long run.


It takes lots of time and effort to figure out which study techniques work and which are useless. Students need to discuss with their tuition teachers as to which study methods suits them the best and also take the effort to try out all methods with determination. It may be challenging to begin with, but it gets easier.