How to Study Smart Effectively


Exhausted scrolling through the net for study tips that are actually helpful? Tired of closet-muggers or people who just seem to do well despite doing the bare minimum? Fret not; this article is here to expose their secrets so that you can see results just from changing up your study methods. Regardless of whether you attend private schools in singapore or public schools, these tips will apply to everyone so let’s get started!

Note-taking Is Key

An important study tool is your notes. The way you take notes will dramatically improve your productivity — which is why we suggest you go to tutorials armed with notes you made prior. This helps set the scene for you and get yourself familiarized with key concepts, definitions, and frameworks. That way, when you are in class, you would be more attentive because you are on the same wavelength as your tutor.

You can prep by printing out slides or tutorial notes so that you can pen down insights from that relevant lesson. Studies show that physically writing down your notes helps with memory work. So if you are studying for a very concept-heavy exam, we recommend hand-writing your notes to help you memorize.

In addition, take note of any questions you might have when you come across challenging concepts. Sometimes, we tend to think of ideas or questions during random times throughout the day, but fail to note them down and forget them. To avoid this, pen your thoughts down or type them into your notes app to make sure you avoid forgetting about them.

We highly recommend that you be particular with what you jot down in your notes. Many students end up copying lectures word for word onto their notes, making it no different than just referring directly to the slides during studying. Think of it as a cheat sheet, so you have to think of a way to compress important information into three to four pages.


As a student, you know that usually, semesters start out really relaxed. There is not a lot of work due yet and rarely any tests. It is tempting to just sit back and relax, after all, you would still be in a ‘holiday’ mood. If you are serious about getting your studying on track, you have to say goodbye to free and easy schedules. We are not saying you should throw your entire free time away, instead, we are recommending that you create a timeline that includes a slot for you to study and make notes before a scheduled lesson.

You will realize that doing so will help get you into the routine, and you would not find yourself as swamped during slam week. So do not skip lectures or tutorials, and use consultations with your tutors to your advantage. If you set a goal to be familiar with new concepts per week, studying for midterms and/or end-of-term examinations would be more efficient for you.

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Real-Life Application

Sometimes, the best way to learn a difficult concept is to try applying them to real-life situations. This does not necessarily mean application in a practical or hands-on way. For example, many non-English speaking students learn the language by watching sitcoms and reading the news daily. Many psychology students apply the concepts they learn in class to people in their lives.

A great tip would be to see concepts and frameworks as a lens. So when you are applying them, it is as if you are looking through the lens of it. The next time you are stuck with a difficult concept, try this perspective instead, it works!

Mind Maps

Every individual is unique in their own way — their likes, their pet peeves, their habits, and their learning languages. For visual learners, mind mapping can really help break down challenging concepts to help you better understand it. It helps with identifying important keywords or phrases. Breaking it down to important terms helps with memorization as well, so try drawing one out when you face difficulty processing a term.

Practice, Practice & Practice!

In specific areas like mathematics and sciences, practicing past tests or exam papers is the best way to familiarize yourself with difficult formulas. It is like training your brain to form muscle memory.

This is referred to as “Active Recall”. Many people try this method of trying to teach a concept to their younger sibling or a friend who is not in the same faculty to gauge if they are capable enough to teach the concept in layman terms. If you can do so, it is an indication that you have fully understood the concept you were trying to learn.

You can always start small too, redoing your tutorial exercise can help too. Most of the time, your tutor sets up tutorial questions that are important to learn. Focus on exercises where you struggled, even if your tutor has explained, just attempt it again to see if it has sunk in. Having a crack at it one more time will only do you good. In fact, it may even help you discover something entirely new that you might have missed out on previously.

Know What You Are Getting Into

Not to sound Nagy, but do not leave things to the last minute. When you start too late, it will put you at a disadvantage and will compromise your exam performance. Knowing if your exam will be multiple-choice or essay based will change the way you study too.

For example, if it is mostly multiple-choice, your studying would concentrate more on memorizing definitions and facts. If it is essay-based, you would have to memorize essay formats, some key examples to quote, and also reading through other essays to familiarize yourself with academic language.

If the information on the examination format is not available on the module information board, do not hesitate to ask your tutor for more details. From there, you can even ask if he or she can recommend specific material that can help you maximize your productivity.

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To conclude, the most important thing you have to do is figure out your study style. Is your current style the reason you are not motivated to study? Once you know, it will help you figure out which study tip to use. We hope that this has given your ideas to change up the way you study for good.

Published by
Barry Lachey

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