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The Do’s (And Don’ts) Of Becoming A More Productive Studier


Female student writing in a classroom.

Productivity is a key skill students can use in school and for the rest of their lives. It helps them prioritize and manage tasks, think clearly about what they want to accomplish, and make the most of their time.

However, many students struggle with building productive study habits and instead find themselves wasting time, energy, and (most importantly) productivity.

Though every student is different and has specific ways he or she likes to study, there are some strategies students can use to study more productively.

What causes students to be less productive in school? How you can help your child get the most out of every study session? Read on to find out!

How To Study Productively: The Do’s and Don’ts

DO: Test In Advance

Whether it’s cue cards, being quizzed by another person, or by writing down concepts, productive studying includes your child actively testing him or herself on the material. This allows your child to determine what information he or she is confident in and which areas need more work before the test.

DON’T: Only Review Notes

Many students read their notes over and over again as a means of studying. This is a mistake because though the material may seem easy to comprehend when reading it on the page, students often struggle with explaining the material when the notes are taken away. By simply reading the material students aren’t thinking critically about the information or testing their comprehension.

DO: Have a Designated Study Space

Make sure your child has a clean and distraction-free study space he or she can use each day. This space can be a dining room table or a desk in his or her room—just as long as it’s free from too many distractions. A dedicated study space allows your child to focus on the task at hand without getting sidetracked.

DON’T: Study In Bed

Students should avoid studying in bed if they want to take full advantage of their time. By getting too comfortable in bed, it’s easier to become distracted and not fully dive into the material. It also makes it harder to use study aids like highlighters and cue cards that help with productivity.

Studying in bed also makes it harder to get to sleep at night. By studying in bed, students’ brains get used to being awake and alert in that space and their brains don’t know when to slow down and rest. This results in poor sleep and lowered productivity the next day.

DO: Create A Study Schedule

One of the best ways your child can be productive while studying is creating a study schedule and sticking to it. This allows your child to focus all of his or her energy on a portion of the material and understand it thoroughly instead of rushing onto the next lesson.

A study schedule also allows your child to plan out how far in advance he or she needs to study. This avoids any last minute, panicked cram sessions. Having a study schedule also helps put your child’s mind at ease and allows him or her to be clear and calm while studying (which is important for recall).

DON’T: Procrastinate

With busy schedules and distractions all around, many students find themselves putting off studying until the last minute. This causes them to panic and rush through the material as fast as possible. By rushing, students prioritize getting through the material instead of focusing on comprehension. Once they’re finished studying they’re somewhat familiar with the content but can’t explain it for themselves.

When students feel panicked and frantic, they aren’t able to study with a calm and collected attitude. It also stops students from being able to put their best effort into studying and reaching their full potential.

DO: Ask Your Teacher or Tutor For Help

If your child is struggling with a subject for a long period of time, getting guidance from a professional can help get your child back on track. Encourage your child to seek help from his or her teacher. He or she can guide your child through the material, answer questions, and review assignments or test questions your child struggled with. If your child still needs a bit of extra help, a tutor can be another great resource.

DON’T: Panic About Challenging Material

It’s completely normal for students to not understand some of the material being taught. Some lessons may be harder to understand or take a bit longer to grasp. What students shouldn’t do is panic and worry if they don’t understand something. This only makes it harder to think clearly and more difficult to work through the material effectively.

DO: Get 8+ Hours Of Sleep Each Night

When it comes to retaining information, the importance of sleep cannot be overstated. It’s much more productive to get more hours of shut-eye than to stay up late studying.

Enforce a set bedtime for your child to make sure he or she is getting to sleep at a decent hour. You can also reduce anything that may be disturbing your child’s sleep such as noise, technology, or excess light.

DON’T: Choose Extra Studying Over Sleep

Some students stay up all hours of the night to get in as many hours of studying as possible. They believe they are taking advantage of this extra time and will do better on the test as a result.

In reality, a sleep-deprived student can’t focus or learn efficiently and has a much harder time memorizing information.

Productive Studying Takes Practice

With these tips in mind, your child will be able to make more out of study sessions and get more done in a shorter period of time. It takes time and patience to work out the best way to study effectively, but the benefits are worth it.

If your child needs extra guidance, GradePower Learning offers a specific study skills program that lets your child develop skills like time management, active thinking, and note-taking.

More Resources

6 Good Study Habits Every Successful Student Has
The Benefits of Self-study (and How Your Child Can Use It)
12 Tips to Avoid Cramming for Your Next Test

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