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How to study smarter, not harder – Lesson 1

Studying is hard. Whether you’re still in school or looking at taking one of our VET courses, just the concept of studying and tests can fill you with dread. It often feels like it’s your fault if you’re not absorbing or remembering the information that everyone seems to easily understand. Like you’re not smart enough. But it’s more likely that you just haven’t found a way to study that works for you.

There’s no right or wrong way to study, only ways that do or don’t work for you.

Here are our top tips for finding the right study method:

Limit Stress

Study at your own pace

Do you digest content quickly, or do you need time to let the material sink in? Only you know what pace is best for you. There isn’t an award for understanding the information faster than anyone else, or for spending more time on a topic that you already completely understand. So, don’t try matching someone else’s speed. Instead, through trial and error, find what works for you.

Schedule rest

Exhaustion helps no one perform their best. Your body and your brain need rest; getting enough sleep is crucial for memory function. If you set a schedule for your study time, also schedule in some breaks to recharge or get some sleep. If you take a nap right before you study do a few stretches or light exercises to properly wake up your body and brain and get them prepared for work.


Research shows that stress makes it harder to learn and to retain information.

Stress-busting ideas include:

  • Taking deep breaths
  • Writing down a list of tasks you need to tackle
  • Doing light exercise

Try to clear your head before you begin studying and you’ll find it easier to focus.

Create the perfect study space

Pick a spot that works for you

The perfect study space will look different for everyone. It’s a delicate balance of finding a space that’s comfortable without being so relaxing that you can’t focus or end up falling asleep. Some people focus best at a desk, others prefer the comfort of the couch, and some people find that being outdoors helps get them in the zone.

Whichever location or comfort level you prefer, surrounding yourself with peace and quiet can help you focus. If your kids are being loud or there’s construction going on outside your window, you might need to relocate to an upstairs bedroom, a quiet café, or your local library.

Find what tunes what for you

Some people need absolute silence while they study. Some people enjoy listening to nature sounds, such as ocean waves or cracks of thunder. Some study best to soft, instrumental music. Some people can handle listening to songs with words without being distracted. So, experiment and see what works for you.

Once you know if or what music works for you create a playlist that will last you the entire time you’re studying. You don’t want to be distracted by trying to find new songs or a different artist instead of focusing on your study.

Because everyone learns differently, there are a lot of different methods that you can use to study. We don’t want to overload you with information, so we’ll be going over those in a later blog – one of the methods involves spacing out information!