Healthy Study Habits 

Many Cougs feel stressed and overwhelmed with everything on their to-do list. Developing healthy study habits can help you stay on top of your tasks and balance your studying with everything you need to do. They can also help you study more efficiently, so you can make the most of your study time.  

Try some of these tips for studying effectively and staying well during the semester. 

What You Can Do

  1. Take short breaks. One study method you may find effective is the Pomodoro Technique, where you focus on a task for 25 minutes and then take a 5 minute break. These short breaks give your mind a much-needed rest and give you a chance to hydrate, get a snack, or check your social media feeds.
  2. Break up big tasks. Breaking up a big task into smaller steps can help it feel manageable and make it easier to get started. For example, if you need to write a paper you could break it down like this: find research articles, take notes, write paper outline, include citations, write introduction, etc. If you’re struggling to get started on a big project, make it your first task simply to open a new file and create a title page.
  3. Set specific study goals and deadlines. Once you’ve broken your big tasks down into manageable chunks, set deadlines or schedule time for each step. For example, instead of just writing “study for chem final” in your planner, try setting specific goals like make flash cards, review lecture slides, rewrite class notes, meet with study group, and complete practice test. Planning study sessions with specific goals will help you study smarter.
  4. Eat that frog. Let’s imagine you have to eat a frog today. Because eating a frog sounds awful, you keep putting it off. But once you eat the frog and get it out of the way, the rest of your day will be easy by comparison. What’s the most difficult and stressful task on your to-do list? Try tackling that task first – eating the frog – to give yourself a sense of accomplishment and help you feel ready to take on everything else.
  5. Take care of yourself. Having a healthy body and mind can help you succeed during the semester. This means eating well (especially before taking a test), staying hydrated, scheduling some self-care activities, and getting enough sleep.
  6. Be aware of what you’re telling yourself. Try not to get angry if you procrastinate or get off track with your study plan. Getting mad at yourself only increases your stress levels, and it can create a cycle of procrastination, anger, and more procrastination. The key is to practice self-compassion.

Resources to Try

  • Try an online workshop from the Academic Success and Career Center. Topics include time management, note-taking strategies, and motivation and procrastination. 
  • Form a study group using these guidelines.