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How to Create Good Study Habits for Exams

Master's Degree, Education, University of California Los Angeles

Last Updated: February 26, 2024 Fact Checked

This article was co-authored by Ted Dorsey, MA and by wikiHow staff writer, Danielle Blinka, MA, MPA . Ted Dorsey is a Test Prep Tutor, author, and founder of Tutor Ted, an SAT and ACT tutoring service based in Southern California. Ted earned a perfect score on the SAT (1600) and PSAT (240) in high school. Since then, he has earned perfect scores on the ACT (36), SAT Subject Test in Literature (800), and SAT Subject Test in Math Level 2 (800). He has a BA in English from Princeton University and a MA in Education from the University of California, Los Angeles. There are 25 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 1,473,024 times.

With good study habits, you'll be able to reduce your stress and take tests and exams with confidence. While building lasting study habits might seem hard at first, soon your new good habits will be part of your routine. You can create good study habits for exams by first setting up a study routine and learning your course material. To better your study habits, you can employ good studying strategies to stay on track and use your learning style to study better.

Setting Your Routine

Step 1 Designate a daily study time.

  • Daily study sessions are needed to keep the material fresh in your mind and to give yourself time to make connections between concepts.
  • If you have other homework, you may decide to do it during your designated study time since it will help you better grasp the material.

Ted Coopersmith, MBA

  • Avoid sitting in front of the television or around a busy part of your home.
  • Some people like to study in the library or coffee shop, but this may not work for you if you're easily distracted by movement or noises.

Step 3 Gather your materials before you get started.

  • Keep your cell phone away from you, as it will distract you. Only check your emails or messages after studying, during break time.
  • Charge your cell phone while you're studying. Your cell phone will need the extra boost, and you'll be happy that your phone is away from you.

Step 5 Use a notebook or planner to track your assignments.

  • You can also use a wall planner and to-do lists to keep track of assignments and what you plan to study each day. [7] X Research source

Step 6 Create a study plan.

  • It's okay for your plan to be a general outline. Don't let your planning waste the time you plan to use for studying.

Learning the Material

Step 1 Read the course materials and texts.

  • If you can, highlight the important parts of the texts.
  • Try to recollect if your teacher has mentioned any important part of the text would be coming for the exam. Also try to remember any tricks or mnemonics taught by teacher to remember any important formulas or text.
  • Research anything you don't understand and look up confusing vocabulary. Make yourself a flashcard on the spot so that you'll have it for later.

Step 2 Take...

  • It's crucial that you review the information in the weeks and days leading up to the exam. The more you revisit the information, the more it will become internalized and easier to remember. [14] X Research source

Step 3 Record your class lectures on a digital recorder or your phone.

  • Check with your teacher or professor to make sure that it's okay to record the lecture.
  • Don't use this as an excuse to not take notes during class. You should still take notes to help yourself learn the material.

Step 4 Make yourself flash...

  • Try using index cards to make your flashcards or cut up a piece of paper.
  • Additionally, you could use an online tool like quizlet or Kahoot to create flashcards and practice quizzes.

Step 5 Make mind maps...

  • For a multiple-choice exam, make lists and tables, know the differences between concepts and words, and know-how topics are related to each other.
  • For a fill-in-the-blank exam, focus on your notes because most teachers take their questions from the notes they provide. You should expect your teacher to remove an important word or words from a sentence, such as a term, date, phrase, or historical figure. [17] X Research source
  • For an essay or short answer exam, pay attention to what your instructor emphasized in class. Write out what you know about this topic and do additional research if necessary. Use the syllabus, study guide, and textbook summary of the material to make a list of possible questions. Create a study list for each possible essay question.

Helping Yourself Study Better

Step 1 Take a break about halfway through your study sessions.

  • Some people benefit from shorter, more frequent breaks.
  • You should also take a break when you're feeling frustrated.
  • If you were studying using a computer or other electronic device, don't use devices during your breaks. Your eyes will thank you! [19] X Research source

Step 2 Seek tutoring if you're struggling with the material.

  • Many schools offer free tutoring from teachers or peers.

Step 3 Join a study...

  • Look for a study group at your school.
  • Visit the local or school library to find postings about study groups on the bulletin board.
  • Ask your friends to form a study group with you.

Step 4 Teach the material to someone else.

  • When you're getting started, attach your reward to your behavior, such as studying each day, rather than the outcome, which would be your grade.
  • Ask your parents or roommate to help you with the rewards. They may be able to give you an allowance for meeting your study goals, or they could hold onto the candy and give you a piece when you earn it.

Step 6 Manage your stress leading up to the exam.

Using Your Learning Style to Study Better

Step 1 Incorporate images if you're a visual learner.

  • Other great options are to color code your notes, use a highlighter, draw diagrams, or sketch out what you're learning. [25] X Research source

Step 2 Listen to music or an audiobook if you're an auditory learner.

  • You can also try reading your notes out loud or explaining what you're learning aloud to someone else. [28] X Research source
  • Other great options include role-playing, making a model, or creating a representation of what you're learning. [30] X Research source

How Can I Cope With Test-Taking Anxiety?

Sample Study Schedules

study habits drawing

Supercharge Your Studying with this Expert Series

1 - Study For Exams

Expert Q&A

Ted Coopersmith, MBA

Reader Videos

  • Don't wait until the last minute to start studying because you won't be able to learn all of the material in time. Thanks Helpful 2 Not Helpful 0
  • Allow yourself a few minutes to settle into a zone of intense concentration when approaching your reading or writing academic assignments. Thanks Helpful 1 Not Helpful 0
  • Always highlight the main points in your book so you can know what is important in the whole chapter. Thanks Helpful 1 Not Helpful 1

Tips from our Readers

  • Try studying a different subject each day. You could do science on Monday, math on Tuesday, social studies on Thursday, etc. Give yourself some rest days and holidays, too!
  • Try reading a part of your material, and then close your book and write down everything you remember. While it can be time consuming, it is very efficient.
  • Don't try to cram all the information all at ones without any breaks. For example, take a 10 minute break for every 50 minutes of studying.

study habits drawing

  • Remember that it's just one test and you're getting prepared, so don't stress yourself out too much. Thanks Helpful 33 Not Helpful 1

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  • ↑ https://www.youthcentral.vic.gov.au/study-and-training/help-with-study/how-to-study-better/top-10-study-tips
  • ↑ Ted Coopersmith, MBA. Academic Tutor. Expert Interview. 10 July 2020.
  • ↑ https://www.understood.org/en/school-learning/learning-at-home/homework-study-skills/how-to-help-your-teen-develop-good-study-habits
  • ↑ https://learningcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/decreasing-digital-distractions/
  • ↑ https://www.stetson.edu/administration/academic-success/media/STUDY%20SCHEDULE.pdf
  • ↑ https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/school-help-teens.html
  • ↑ Ted Dorsey, MA. Academic Tutor. Expert Interview. 11 December 2019.
  • ↑ https://lsc.cornell.edu/how-to-study/studying-for-and-taking-exams/guidelines-for-creating-a-study-schedule/
  • ↑ https://learningcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/reading-textbooks-effectively/
  • ↑ https://learningcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/effective-note-taking-in-class/
  • ↑ https://learningcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/studying-101-study-smarter-not-harder/
  • ↑ https://usm.maine.edu/agile/using-flashcards
  • ↑ https://www.edutopia.org/article/5-research-backed-studying-techniques
  • ↑ https://bookunitsteacher.com/wp/?p=3448
  • ↑ https://www.topuniversities.com/student-info/health-and-support/exam-preparation-ten-study-tips
  • ↑ https://www.houstonmethodist.org/blog/articles/2020/apr/is-extra-screen-time-causing-your-headaches/
  • ↑ https://www.oxfordlearning.com/benefits-of-tutoring/
  • ↑ https://www.fnu.edu/10-reasons-form-study-group/
  • ↑ https://medicine.llu.edu/academics/resources/brain-based-techniques-retention-information
  • ↑ https://www.washington.edu/doit/e-community-activity-developing-study-habits
  • ↑ https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1112894.pdf
  • ↑ https://www.llcc.edu/center-academic-success/helpful-resources/characteristics-learning-styles
  • ↑ https://ace.fsu.edu/sites/g/files/upcbnu296/files/Study_Strategies_by_Learning_Styles.pdf
  • ↑ https://www.wgu.edu/blog/what-tactile-learning2008.html
  • ↑ https://education.alberta.ca/media/482311/is.pdf

About This Article

Ted Dorsey, MA

To create good study habits, set aside some time every day to study, which will help you learn the material better than if you were to cram the night before your test. When you sit down to study, put away your phone and make sure there aren't any distractions so you can focus on the material. Use flash cards, your notes from class, and practice tests to help you memorize the information. Also, give yourself a 5-minute break halfway through your study sessions so you don't get overwhelmed. For more studying tips, keep reading! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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How To Build A Habit of Sketching Daily

To become a skilled artist you need to put in the work every day and keep it up for years. Professionals eventually learn how to critique their own work and focus on their weaker areas to improve. But how does a beginner learn to see their own mistakes?

The best way to reach this level is with daily practice. So how do you set yourself up with that type of daily schedule? Repetition is a big factor but mindset also plays a role.

I’d like to share some advice on how you can force yourself into a daily drawing habit. It will take weeks before you feel like you’ve made a consistent habit . But once you do it’ll make drawing so much easier and a lot more relaxing.

Planning a Schedule

You should start by setting aside a time to draw every day. This might be 30 minutes or it might be 4 hours(or more).

The point is to stick with this time every single day to never avoid drawing.

You might have some days where you can’t make the time because of an unforeseen circumstance. If that’s the case just move your drawing to the next day. Or tack on extra time throughout the week to make up for lost drawing hours.

The point of working with a rigid schedule is that it keeps you honest. Every day you’ll be working towards building a subconscious routine that just sorta happens whether you’re thinking about it or not.

If you’re lacking in willpower I would recommend the X effect as a study aide. You mark a notecard with a 7×7 grid counting 49 boxes. Each box represents one day.

the x effect notecard examples

For each day that you complete your drawing time you mark an X in that box. The idea is that if you can do 49 days consistently then you’ll end up with a habit that you don’t want to break.

From there it’ll get easier to draw every day because it’s just what you do.

I can’t stress enough the importance of getting on a schedule. It is possible to just draw whenever you have free time. But that sort of loosey-goosey scheduling isn’t how you build consistent year-over-year progress.

Organize Your Lessons

It really doesn’t matter what you’re drawing in the beginning. If you never had much practice drawing as a child then you’re likely pretty bad. And that’s totally fine!

The benefit of being a newbie is that you can draw pretty much anything and improve. If you drew lines for 30 minutes a day you’d see your line work improve. But at some point you will need to actually start focusing your drawing efforts and trying to practice certain skills.

Beginners rarely know where to start. This is why it’s so difficult to jump right into drawing because there’s so much to learn and there’s no specific direction to walk.

To handle this just organize a small lesson plan that fits into the time you have. If you’re only drawing for 1 hour each day then you might do a breakdown of 30min gesture and 30min shape drawing.

When first getting started you need to put the most effort into your fundamentals . It’s fine to make time for fun drawing. But this isn’t real focused practice and won’t yield the quickest rate of growth.

Make yourself a lesson plan that moves between different topics. Practice perspective for a few months and then move onto value or anatomy. Switch between different subjects so that you give yourself a well rounded art education.

Carry Your Own Sketchbook

Every professional artist has a sketchbook and knows how to use it. This is a big part of being an artist as you can go out into the real world and draw real stuff.

You can find helpful guides online that teach you the basics of drawing in a sketchbook. But it’s ultimately just a way to loosen up and draw away from the computer. This is especially useful for concept artists who plan to work digitally.

The Moleskine sketchbooks tend to be the most popular and they’re super easy to carry with you. All you need is any drawing utensil(pencil or pen) and some free time. The sketchbooks are lightweight and easy to handle in any climate.

But look into our guide on choosing the best sketchbook to find one that works for your goals.

Whenever you’re on a trip that might break your typical routine the sketchbook can keep you on task. Even 15 mins of drawing is better than nothing. You just want to keep yourself in that mindset of putting pencil to paper every single day.

Treat this little sketchbook as your scrapbook for new ideas. Be willing to try stuff and don’t feel like anything in your sketchbook is finished work. You never have to show anybody your drawings and they’re really for you to practice freely without limitations or judgement.

I recently stumbled onto this post talking about the basics of teaching yourself to draw. There’s a recommended schedule of drawing 5 hours per day: 2 in the morning, 1 at lunch and 2 in the evening.

Not everyone will have time for this but it gives you a solid model to attempt.

Drawing for 5 hours is much better than 1-2 and you’ll see improvements quicker which will then impact your confidence too.

Slowly Increase Drawing Time

If you’re working a fulltime job this will be tough. It’s never easy to make time for something when life is already so damn hectic. But if something’s truly important then you learn to make the time.

It’s possible to see improvements by drawing only 1-2 hours per day. But if you want to see significant improvements you should be aiming for 5-6 hours per day, or more if possible.

Starting anywhere is better than never starting. One hour per day is a better commitment than other novice artists who won’t even get onto a schedule.

But to build your skills to a professional level you’ll need to increase your practice time somehow. Whether this means spending less time in front of the TV, turning down outings with friends, or sacrificing other hobbies, at some point your art education will need to become a priority.

If your schedule is very tight then start slow. Increase half an hour over a few months. This will help you adjust to the new schedule over time. Plus you’ll have lots of time to analyze your schedule and consider which activities can be removed.

Weekdays tend to be very busy so try to make up for that on the weekends. But don’t leave the weekends as your only drawing days because that won’t be enough.

The best way to start is to plan your schedule, organize what you’ll be drawing during that time, and just start. Go for an hour and make sure you can do that for 30-60 days straight. Then slowly increase whenever you have extra time and gauge your progress.

Self-motivation and perseverance will help you get through the early stages. Learning art has little to do with inspiration and everything to do with hard work.

But if you stick with it and get into the habit of drawing every single day then I guarantee you’ll see improvements.

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How To Practice Drawing Effectively: The Ultimate Beginners Guide

Nathan Hughes

  • Last Updated: April 25, 2024

Drawing Practice Feature Image

Art Ignition is supported by its audience. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn More.

I’m sure you will agree with me: when you hear the word “practice,” it is often met with a groan.

You hear it A LOT.

Every time you ask an experienced artist the question, “How can I get better at drawing?” it’s evitable the answer they will give.

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Want to get better at drawing faces? Want to be able to draw your favorite anime character? Looking to master figure drawing?

Yep, you guessed it. Practice.

And there is a reason for that. It’s true. The more you practice something, the better you get at it.

The act of rehearsing a skill again and again, for improvement or mastery is at the core of developing yourself as an artist.

But, what is the best way to practice drawing?

Below I share the three different types of drawing practices you can take on to skyrocket your artistic skills.

You will also find seven simple to follow, highly effective drawing exercises that will boost your rate of learning.

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Innate Practice: The Steady Sharpening Of Your Artistic Sword​

Inspired practice: harness your creative passion, deliberate practice: go from good to great, fast, the 7 simple drawing exercises of highly effective artists, how to use these practices, practice pitfalls: a warning to beginners (and veterans too), wrapping things up.

Innate Practice is the practice you inherently get when you consistently draw.

Whether you are actively trying to improve or not, the act of consistent and repeated action over time will improve your ability to draw.

(Cudos goes to Draw With Jazza for coming up the term ‘Innate Practice’)

It is the type of practice people recommend when they say you should take up a daily sketching habit .

Daily Drawing Practice

Whether you like it or not, if you commit to a daily drawing practice you are going to see an improvement.

This type of practice is less about actively expanding your skillset and more about volume. It is creating, often at a skill level you are familiar with, at volume.

Drawing on a consistent basis doesn’t have to be a huge commitment! Get a small portable sketchbook or portable drawing tablet to carry around with you.

  • Are you sitting on the train? Sketch what you see.
  • Do you have a lunch break? Go somewhere quiet and draw whatever comes to mind.
  • Are you watching TV and an ad comes on? Do a quick sketch of a character.

It doesn’t need to be the next Rembrandt. The act of drawing, whatever it may be, will take you one step closer to mastery.

Ever learned something new and had the compulsion just to draw?

Just finished watching an awesome anime, and are blasted with thousands of new ideas screaming to be captured on your sketch pad?

Inspired practice is when you act on that burning passion to create, try new things, and capture your ideas.

Best Way To Practice Art

Often this can be an intense drawing session where you completely lose yourself in the process, and come out completely exhausted, with a real sense of achievement. Inspired practice often comes in rapid bursts of learning through observation and enthusiasm.

It can be incredibly addictive too!

However, it comes with a catch. It isn’t easy to maintain.It might be the easiest way to motivate and improve yourself. However, it can be incredibly fickle, difficult to conjure and very hard to keep.

And it can leave you exhausted.

If innate practice is a marathon – steady progress over a long period of time – then inspired practice is the sprint. Trying to go over a million miles an hour over a long period of time will often burn you out.

But, it is still a powerful tool in your creative arsenal.

Before you try and inspire yourself to draw, it is essential to understand one thing: Inspiration is affected by your surroundings and emotions.

We have all experienced difficult times, or gone through depressive periods. It can make inspired practice seem so far away, and unreachable.

The key to this is addressing yourself first before you address your artwork or craft. Otherwise, you will be fighting an uphill battle (which can often make progress slower).

If this means talking to a counselor, then see a counselor. It could look like meditation , adopting a healthier lifestyle , getting out of the house with friends or taking up a different hobby.

Also, your surroundings will greatly help in improving your drawing.

Make sure you have a clean and tidy workspace, ideally dedicated to your creativity.

A clean space motivates you and inspires you to do great things. Cleanliness also removes any obstacles to expressing your creativity.

So, How Can You Get Inspired To Draw?

Practicing Art

Inspired practice can be cultivated through new experiences and information. I am often inspired when I look at movie concept art or play a game that excites me. I will look at art styles I love, and just soak it all in.

Make sure in those moments you have a sketchbook or a good drawing tablet handy to capture that inspiration. Moments like these can be created to feed your projects, ideas, and artwork.

Another way to inspire yourself is to learn a new tool or technique that allows you to do something more efficiently on a computer or paper. Sometimes, you just can’t help but grab the closest piece of paper and try out the new tricks you have just learned.

And finally, get out of the house and go somewhere inspiring. Getting out into nature, or go to a museum or art show. By stepping out of your regular routine, and actively seeking these experiences, you can cultivate rapid bursts of inspired learning.

Ultimately, when surrounded by things that inspire you, and are in the emotional state where you are fearless, you can carry out those creative intentions and skyrocket your ability to draw in a short burst of time.

That is the power of inspired practice.

Deliberate practice is a particular type of practice that is purposeful and systematic.

While innate practice might include mindless repetitions, and inspired practice comes in intense spurts, deliberate practice requires focused attention.

It is conducted with the specific goal of improving your ability and performance. It is the type of training where you assign tasks and exercises to do.

Drawing Practice

It is when you consciously choose to improve.

And it isn’t always fun.

Often you might find yourself gritting your teeth, tempted to scrunch up a piece of paper as you draw the same thing for the 100th time but just can’t seem to get it right. But it is also one of the most powerful and constructive forms of practice.

It can have the same rapid development that inspirational practice has, however, without the need for inspiration. It is more mechanical and intentional.

So, where do you start?

If you want to get better at drawing, here are three steps you can take to find out where to start:

  • Choose what you want to practice. What are the core skills you need to practice? What have you been struggling with? What do you look at and avoid? You will likely have more than one. Write them all down and pick one.
  • Choose a way to practice those skills in isolation from everything else. Focus on each skill separately, one at a time. Break it down if need be. Is learning to draw the human head overwhelming? Break it down and practice noses, mouths, ears, and eyes in separate sessions.
  • Make an appointment with yourself. Put aside time for you to regularly practice these skills uninterrupted.

Once you know what you want to improve, and have set a time aside to practice, what do you do then? Here are seven deliberate practices you can take on.

It’s easy for someone to say, “just practice,” but how can you practice?

Here are seven drawing practice exercises you can take up to deliberately improve your skills.

Drawing Exercises

1. Repeat An Image Over And Over

This activity involves choosing a single image or object and drawing it many times over with an ever-decreasing time limit.

  • Step 1: Find a picture and draw it on a piece of paper. Time how long it takes.
  • Step 2: Draw the same image again. However, see if you can draw it quicker.
  • Step 3: Continue to replicate the image as best you can and continue to reduce the time limit.

After doing this at least 20 times, you will notice something interesting…

Look at the first image you draw and then the last image you drew. You will notice you are looser and more relaxed. By this stage, you will be more efficient at being aware of the most relevant forms, details, lines, and silhouettes of the image.

This exercise helps you understand an image or object as a whole because you are rapidly interpreting it.

Below is an excellent example of this exercise in practice. When drawing the eye, don’t just practice drawing it once. Draw it, again and again, aiming to get quicker and more efficient.

Yes, you will likely need to refer to any tutorial you are following, however, this method will develop your speed, which moves you towards mastery.

By the time you have done this exercise, you will have drawn the object repeatedly and will be confident you can do it again.

2. Draw From Direct Observation

The ability to produce a 2D representation of a 3D object is an essential skill of any artists.

And it isn’t easy.

The task of replicating what you see in a 3D space and producing it on a 2D piece of paper as a representation of 3D space uses a part of our brain that needs to be exercised repeatedly.

Nobody is good at life drawing at first. It is not something people do naturally. As artists, it is something we need to learn and practice.

Ever heard the saying “Draw what you see, not what you know”? This is what we are training our brain to do.

By practicing drawing from life, you train your mind to understand 3D space and form to eventually be able to replicate and manipulate objects without the objects even being present.

Now, by this stage, you might be thinking, “Aaaaah drawing fruit and cups is soooo boring.”

It doesn’t have to be. Ultimately, you get to choose what you draw.

  • Pick interesting items to draw. What looks cool or has an interesting texture?
  • Set up your lighting so you get interesting shadows and forms. A simple desk lamp beside your collection of objects can make a massive difference.
  • Go to a life drawing class and socialize. (All the introverts just collectively groaned)

Wondering where to start? Check out this video on how to sketch from life.

WARNING: Resist the temptation to draw from a photo.

There is no doubt that working from a photo reference is convenient and easy, BUT it can also lead to the development of bad habits.

You want to master the ability to translate 3D space to 2D space. A photograph is already in 2D.

When you work from real life, you experience you subject matter in a way a photo would never allow. You can touch it, walk around it, smell it and see the object within the context of its environment.

For the purpose of this exercise, stick to drawing objects from real life.

3. Tutorial Marathon

How To Practice Drawing

Do you have some how-to art books or videos that you have been itching to try?

A solid tutorial marathon is a perfect way to tackle a new drawing skill. Spend a dedicated amount of time to learn from great creative resources.

The key here is to keep your choice of tutorials to a narrow selection of themes. If you tackle everything from anatomy , to drawing spaceships, or perspective, in one sitting, then your brain will not be able to process it all.

Pick one subject. If you spend several hours consistently and methodically apply yourself to master one particular aspect of art, by the end of that session will have taken very clear steps and learned the finer aspects of that topic.

As a result, you will experience a definite feeling of progress.

Can’t find any tutorials to try? Check out our favorite drawing tutorials , or these YouTube artists .

My personal favorite is New Masters Academy .

4. Deconstruct And Simplify Structure

Deconstruction is when you take a complex image or object and break it down into simple shapes and geometry.

To practice deconstruction, find an image, object, person or animal and break it down into its basic shapes and forms. Many things can be broken down and represented as a collection of cubes, spheres, cylinders and other basic shapes.

It makes drawing so much easier. Breaking down complex shapes into simpler shapes will teach your brain to understand how form and space work. If you can deconstruct something, you can reconstruct it (which is the next exercise)

In the below video, Proko talks about structure, and how it can apply to animals and people.

5. Construction

In the previous exercise, you practiced breaking down an object into basic shapes.

Construction is taking the simple representation of a complicated object, such as the human form or an animal, and filling in the blanks.

When you look at a fantastic piece by your favorite artist, all you see is the finished product. It is easy to look at something like that and convince yourself you can’t do that.

However, most artists start with the basic shapes and framework, before refining and polishing everything to produce the final outcome.

You have likely seen the human form broken down into basic shapes. It is easier to manipulate these shapes to create the pose you want, and then add the details, such as muscle structure, later.

Deconstruction is about finding the simple shapes that make up a complicated form. Construction is about using that understanding to reconstruct the same object in any way you wish.

Jazza from Draw With Jazza, shares his method of deconstructing and constructing the human form.

6. Experiment

Once you have started to gain a firm understanding of the structure and form of an object, you can start to experiment with it.

Play with variations of a forms shape and structure.

  • What if you change the shape of the face? Create a face that is square, and another that is long.
  • What if you played with the proportions of the figure? Give them long arms and shorter legs.
  • Make certain features bigger and others smaller.

This can be a lot of fun, and a laugh. What’s more, is it can help you develop your own unique style.

Getting Better At Drawing

The key here is trial and error. Experimenting is a journey of discovery. You are going to try something, and it will look horrible. Don’t worry too much about it, start your next experiment and see what it looks like.

If you have practiced using the previous exercises, you will have the speed to quickly create these “experiments” and consistently play with new drawing ideas easily.

7. Tackle Your Flaws

Don’t avoid the scary things. Attack them head on.

Ever sat down and started drawing a character, and when it came to drawing the hands you feel the urge to just skip it for now, or just put a simple shape as a placeholder?

It is common to be fearful and avoid doing things we are not good at. However, this attitude can be damning in the long run.

For a long time, I avoided drawing feet, hands and mechanical devices.

I love figure drawing , but when it came to hands and feet my characters looked like they had bricks for hands, or were victims of a mafia hit.

Improve Your Drawing Skills

And I didn’t draw anything such as cars or bionics for years!

Ultimately, it made me less capable as an artist and hindered my progress.

I ended up setting aside a month to tackle each of these different aspects I was avoiding. I found easy-to-follow art classes online and set aside time (and a lot of coffee) to tackle each of these aspects.

Now it wasn’t a walk in the park. The first couple of days my wife would hear an audible groan every time I sat down to try drawing. I felt like an absolute newb. But after I started to get into the flow of things, it became enjoyable as I began to see improvement.

You don’t have to set aside a whole month, however, I do recommend spending a dedicated amount of time (such as an entire weekend) tackling your weaknesses.

Find easy to follow drawing tutorials or books around what you want to approve. It is a very constructive and productive way to develop your skills.

Things To Practice Drawing

Don’t Just Do One Type Of Practice

All of these practices have their benefits, but honestly, sticking to just one can make you feel drained and uninspired.

Sticking to innate practice can be a lot of fun, however, doing things without a goal can get draining and uninspiring. Over time you will lose your passion and won’t see any practice.

Practicing when you are inspired is exciting, but you can quickly burn out. It can come in bursts, and often inspiration is not enough to see you through an entire project.

Deliberate practice is an awesome way to learn and measurably grow as an artist. It can also be the most draining and disheartening form of practice if that is all you do.All of these types of drawing practices are important. No one is better than the other.

The easiest way to practice is to take on something that uses all three types of practice.

Pick A Project That Is Done Over A Period Of Time

It can be a series of drawings or character designs. Maybe you want to try produce a comic strip, manga or animated short. The purpose is to choose something that requires some form of repetition.

Choose Something That Inspires You

Have you recently learned how to use a new tool or technique you have been itching to put into practice? Is it on a topic that excites you? If drawing dragons or cyberpunk characters from the future inspire you, then that’s what you should make your project about.

Challenge yourself.

Make sure the project challenges you in some way. Does it require a skill that you haven’t used before? Or is the standard of achievement required a little higher? Is the project bigger than what you usually do?

If you choose something that you make for yourself which also that challenges you and inspires you, make sure you complete it all the way from the beginning to the end. When you look back, you can see the progress you’ve made.

How well you improve with practice will depend on some factors, such as how often you practice and the type of feedback that is available. Whether you are drawing , trying out digital art , or learning oil painting for beginners , the following tips apply…

Seek Out Feedback

If you do not receive feedback, either from an instructor or from self-correction, practice can be ineffective, or detrimental to your learning. Bad habits can start to creep in.

To combat this, undertake a paid course where an experienced instructor can provide corrections, or post your work up online for the specific purpose of receiving constructive feedback.

How To Get Good At Drawing

Level Up and Ten Thousand Hours are excellent Facebook groups for artists (tell them I said hi!).

Be Consistent

If you do not practice enough, you can often forget what was learned. Consistency will reinforce what you have learned, so be sure to create a habit.

It is better to spend 1 hour each day drawing than to spend 7 hours drawing in one huge chunk on the weekend.

Don’t Compare Yourself To Others

Everyone is at a different level, and some people just naturally improve on a particular activity quicker than others. Keep in mind, for every great picture you see of other artists; there are 1000 failures that you don’t get to see.

The only person you have to be better than is your past self.

Stick To It

The key to success is the ability not to give up. Often you will feel impatient with your drawing. Don’t expect results straight away. Improvement is a slow and gradual process. You can’t be an Olympic level gymnast with a week of training, so don’t expect to be a master at drawing after a few days.

For most artists, it can take years of rigorous practice and commitment to achieve a level of mastery.

Practice is a process. Stick with it and enjoy the process.

Drawing can be a great experience. The act of picking up a pencil and practicing is you willing to confront yourself and improve.

Congratulations, you have already won. The fruits of your victory will come in time.

By taking on these different ways of practicing, and taking on the exercises, you will see your abilities improve in leaps and bounds.

Pay attention to what works for you and what doesn’t, then relax (don’t judge yourself) and try again.

Be patient and be proud that you have the courage to practice.

So, how do you practice? What have you found helps you refine and improve? Let us know in the comment section below.

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Article Written By

Nathan Hughes

6 thoughts on “How To Practice Drawing Effectively: The Ultimate Beginners Guide”

Thank you for making this article, I’ve been working a comic book for a while and I’ve been looking for techniques on how to practice and improve my drawing ability. This article was a good read and I’m going to take some time to practice each of these techniques. I liked this article a lot and I’ll be revisiting this website again thank you again for the techniques and tips.

Thanks Pervis, I’m glad the article helped. If there is anything else I can help you with, please let me know 🙂 Good luck with the comic book!

This is the best article I’ve read. I knew some things posted here but you just summary all in one article and just make it perfect. Really helpful, I’m a beginner trying to improve everyday 🙂 u help me a lot

Thanks Maria 🙂 Glad I could help.

Excellent article! I particularly like how you have linked to tutorials. The tutorials are good resources and helpful. Its nice to find them all in one place. Thank you!

Thanks Peggy, I’m glad you have enjoyed the article. There are some great tutorials out there!

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College Nut

study habits drawing

Can Drawing Improve Your Study Habits?

Drawing can be an invaluable tool for improving study habits. Not only can it help focus your concentration, but it can also help you recall and retain information better, as well as helping you to better organize that information. Whether you are just starting out in your academic career or are a veteran in the game, incorporating drawing into your study routine can be a great way to boost your performance and make studying more enjoyable.

Benefits of Drawing

Drawing can be an extremely helpful tool in improving your study habits. It can help with focus, recall and organization, enhancing your study sessions and helping you remember information better.

Studies have shown that drawing can help us learn better, both visually and mentally. It can help us to focus better on the material being studied, thus improving our ability to absorb and recall information. It can be an effective way to organize information as well, allowing us to create visual representations that can aid in understanding.

Getting started with drawing during your study sessions is easy!

Start by selecting a subject matter that interests you, so that you stay focused and engaged with the process. Try to limit your drawing sessions to short bursts of 15-30 minutes, as this will help keep you motivated.

Don’t be afraid to get creative! Even if you don’t consider yourself an artist, there are plenty of simple doodles you can draw to help with focus and recall.

In short, drawing is an effective way to help improve your study habits. It can help you focus, remember information better, and organize your thoughts. Try to get creative and have fun with it, and you’ll be well on your way to studying smarter and more efficiently!

How Drawing Can Improve Your Study Habits

Drawing is an effective way to improve your study habits. It helps your brain focus, strengthen your memory, and improve your organizational skills.

To get the most out of this technique, choose topics you’re interested in and work in short bursts. Making it creative and fun can keep you motivated and help you stay in a productive studying mindset.

Adding a visual component to your studying can help you remember information better. Visualizing what you learn can help you create a mental map so you don’t have to rely on rote memorization alone. Drawing can also help you stay organized, allowing you to organize your thoughts more easily.

Drawing can make studying more enjoyable. When you’re bored, a quick drawing can break up the monotony and help you stay focused.

And by making it creative, you can use drawing to invest yourself in the material and make the learning process more enjoyable. With a little creativity and planning, drawing can be a powerful tool to improve your study habits.

Enhances Focus

Drawing can be a great study aid to help you focus and concentrate. It engages multiple areas of the brain, allowing you to better process and store information. To help you stay focused on a task, try drawing a picture of the key points involved.

This will help you remember the details more easily.

Sketching out a plan or timeline of a project can help you visualize the steps you need to take to complete the task. Drawing can also help you recall information.

Taking notes by hand can be more beneficial than typing them out, as writing can help commit information to memory. Drawing out key points or diagrams can make it easier to review the material later on. You can also create doodles that represent key vocabulary words or concepts.

This will help you connect the idea to a visual representation, which can make it easier to remember when it comes time to review.

Incorporating drawing into your study routine can also improve your organizational skills. When you’re in the middle of a project, it can be difficult to remember all the details.

Creating mind maps, flow charts, or diagrams can help you organize thoughts and break complex ideas down into smaller, more manageable pieces. Sketching out a timeline of a project can help you stay on track and meet deadlines. Don’t be afraid to take out the pencil and paper and let your creativity flow. Drawing can be a great way to improve your study habits.

Increases Recall

Drawing can be used as an effective tool to help improve your recall. When you draw something, you’re engaging both sides of your brain – the creative side and the logical side.

This means you can use your artwork to create tangible reminders of important facts or ideas that you want to remember. Create a visual representation of the material you’re trying to recall and it will help you remember it much more easily.

You can also create diagrams and visual representations of concepts and data to help you better comprehend the material. Creating artwork can be a great way to give yourself a break from studying.

Take a few minutes to sketch or doodle and it can help to refresh your mind and give you the opportunity to look at the material you’re trying to learn in a new way. This can help you better understand and remember the material, and it can also be a fun and enjoyable break from the mundane task of studying.

When it comes to improving your recall, drawing can be a simple, effective tool. Whether you sketch doodles, diagrams, or pictures, drawing can help to make the information you’re trying to remember more concrete and more easily accessible. So next time you’re feeling stuck on a subject, try taking a few minutes to draw – it just might help you remember it better!

Improves Organizational Skills

Organizing your thoughts and notes while studying can be difficult, but drawing can help. When you draw, you’re forced to organize your ideas in a visual manner.

This can help turn your thoughts and notes into an easy-to-understand visual representation. This can help you better understand the material you’re studying, as well as remember it better.

Drawing also can help you break up the material into more manageable parts. By breaking up the material, you can focus on each part individually and remember it better. Want to take your organizational skills to the next level?

Color-coding your notes and drawings can help you better organize and differentiate between various topics. If you’re studying for a math test, you can use different colors for equations, definitions, and theorems.

This way, you can quickly find the information you need without having to read through all of your notes. This can help you save time since you don’t have to spend time looking for the right section.

How to Incorporate Drawing into Your Study Routine

If you want to incorporate drawing into your study routine, begin by picking the right subject. You don’t want to be too ambitious and overwhelm yourself with a complex topic such as physics. Start with something simple that is related to your studies, like mapping out a timeline or illustrating a process.

That way you can practice and get used to the idea of drawing while studying. To make the most out of your drawing time, don’t take on too much.

You don’t want to burn out after the first few minutes.

Break your study sessions into manageable chunks and give yourself frequent breaks. This will help you stay focused and productive. Don’t forget to be creative.

You don’t want your drawings to be regimented and boring. Give yourself room to explore and experiment with different elements and techniques. This will make your study sessions more enjoyable and you’ll be more likely to stick with it in the long run.

Pick the Right Subject

When it comes to picking the right subject for your drawing activities, don’t be afraid to get creative. If you’re studying a particular topic and you don’t feel inspired, try thinking of a fun or interesting way to represent the material in your drawings.

If you’re studying biology, you could draw the different parts of a cell in a way that makes them look like characters in a cartoon. Doing this could help you remember the material more easily. Make sure to pick a subject that you feel confident drawing.

If you have trouble drawing trees, for example, then picking trees as your subject might not be the best decision. Choose something that you feel comfortable with, like a particular type of animal or a landscape.

This will help you focus more easily on the task at hand.

Don’t stress too much about making your drawing perfect. As long as it’s a recognizable representation of the topic you’re studying, that’s all that matters. The more relaxed you feel while drawing, the easier it will be to remember the material afterwards!

Work in Short Bursts

When studying, it is important to take breaks. Studies have shown that short bursts of studying with breaks in between are more effective than studying for long hours, because our brains need time to rest in order to absorb the information we’ve learned. Breaking up your studies into short bursts can be a great way to stay focused and make sure you are taking in all the information.

It’s easier to get distracted when you’re studying for long periods of time.

Break up your studying into shorter chunks and you’ll be able to stay on task and learn more efficiently. When taking breaks, it can be beneficial to engage in activities that can help with focus and recall. Drawing is a great way to provide your mind with a mental break, while also helping you to focus, remember and organize information.

Drawing can help to activate different parts of the brain and improve your study habits. Why not give it a try and add drawing to your study routine? It could be just the thing to help you stay focused throughout your studies.

Be Creative

When it comes to drawing to improve your study habits, don’t be afraid to get creative. Use your imagination to explore different ways that drawing can help you understand your material and make it easier to recall information.

You don’t have to be an artist to draw something meaningful; even if it’s just a few simple diagrams or shapes, you will be surprised at how much they can help. Think of creative ways to use color, symbols, and shapes to your advantage.

If you are studying a foreign language, draw images to represent the words you are learning. If you need to memorize facts for a history class, draw a timeline to help you track the sequence of events. If you are having trouble understanding a complex concept, try breaking it down into different drawings to help you visualize it better. Experiment with different techniques and find out what works best for you.

Drawing can be an incredibly useful tool for improving your study habits. To get the most benefit from it, pick the right subject to draw, work in short bursts, and be creative. If you take the time to draw out concepts, you will definitely find an improvement in your focus, recall, and organizational skills.

When incorporating drawing into your study routine, it’s important to start with a subject that you are already reasonably familiar with. This will make it easier for you to draw and make sure you stay on track.

Make sure to only dedicate short amounts of time to drawing, say 10-15 minutes, so that you don’t get too overwhelmed. Don’t worry if you’re not the best artist – the beauty of drawing is that it can be as creative as you like! Let your imagination run wild and you’ll find that your study habits will improve in no time.

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How To Make Drawing a Habit That Sticks (In 5 Steps)

How to make drawing a habit

So you love drawing so much you want to make it a habit. I feel the same, and I spent a great deal of time researching how to do it and succeed at it. After all that research, I decided to share my system with the world and help other artists make drawing a habit. So how do you do it?

To make drawing a habit, you need to establish a time frame to draw, familiarize yourself with the actions that precede drawing, draw, reward yourself for the effort, sleep well, and repeat. Making drawing a habit is more about making it easier to do rather than fighting against it every day.

On paper, it could be simple, except it isn’t. So the secret behind making those things happen is understanding how to do them. In this blog, I will provide you with all the steps you must follow to make drawing a habit, various tools, and concepts that will help you achieve it,  plus a 21-day, image-packed drawing plan at the end of the steps to make your drawing habit stick. 

All the information in this blog is based on my 16-year drawing experience, how I achieved making drawing a habit, and recent peer-reviewed scientific papers about habit creation. 

  • Excellent review on the science of habits – Link to the study
  • Meta-analysis of habits – Link to the study

How To Make Drawing a Habit?

When I started researching this topic, I went overkill about learning the behavioral science and psychology of habit creation, not only for drawing, so this blog will include much of that (in a not-boring way, I promise!). I did it because we all struggle to create any habit, even if you love it, so I needed to know the core.

As I said in the beginning, creating a drawing habit is more about making it easier instead of relying on willpower alone to do it constantly. And to do it, you need to create a reliable system and environment that helps you draw more easily.  And for that, here are your five steps to achieving that. 

1- Connect Habits You Already Have to Drawing

The easiest way to make drawing a habit is to connect it to something you already do. This habit you already do must be something you do with zero to no resistance, meaning a strong habit. For example, taking a shower: if you were to draw every time right after you take a shower, taking a shower would eventually trigger your desire to draw. 

Concept:  Andrew Huberman, a Stanford professor, created the concept of  limbic friction  to define the energy needed to overcome the anxiety, procrastination, and fatigue our mind has to overcome to get into a focused and productive zone. Limbic friction is lower after 1 to 8 hours of being awake and higher after 8 hours. 

Take action:  Since doing anything during the first 8 hours of being awake is easier, find a habit you do every day within that time. The habit you pick will also define when in the day you start to draw. You can still connect drawing to a habit you do after those hours, but you should know it will be a little harder to connect. Here are a couple of habits you could connect to drawing:

  • Drinking a cup of coffee
  • Having breakfast
  • Making your bed
  • Taking a shower
  • Wearing clothes 

Once you do this, go to the next step. 

2- Visualize Yourself Drawing

Now that you have picked a habit you do every day without exception, you need your brain to familiarize it with starting to draw. But that’s easier said than done. To do it, you need to use the tool provided by the studies: Applying procedural memory visualizations. There is a lot of evidence of how easy it becomes for people to create new habits after doing this just once.

Tool:  The exercise consists of closing your eyes and visualizing every action required to start drawing. The starting point of the visualization should be the habit you picked previously or before, and it should conclude with the act of drawing. 

This visualization exercise involves different brain areas related to goal pursuit, and it’s an exercise that, incredibly enough, you only need to do once for it to start working. 

Take action:  Do the visualization exercise as vividly as possible without leaving details behind. It should look like this (my personal routine to start drawing): enter home, prepare breakfast, take a shower, wear my clothes, prepare an espresso shot, pour it into my blender cup with some ice, add milk and a little sugar, blend, serve, go to my room, sit down in my desk, take my sketchbook and pencil, start drawing. Needless to say, you have to engage in all these actions, but you will see it will be much easier than before. 

I was much more specific with the coffee preparation because there are days when I’m already home or have taken a shower, had breakfast, etc. But I would very, very rarely start drawing without coffee, so preparing it makes me crave drawing. 

All right! Now that you have done this exercise, it’s time to go to the next step. 

3- Reward Yourself

There cannot be any habit creation without rewards. Most of our actions come from the desire to achieve or win something. If we talk about drawing, we want to practice every day because we want to draw better, create unforgettable characters or things that haven’t been thought of before, or maybe get a job in the art industry; whichever your goal is, achieving it will feel like a reward. These rewards keep people working towards a college degree or going to the gym, and we need to make them part of our habit-creation program. 

The rewards can be anything you choose, but most of them are not very effective. For example, if you want to reward yourself with a piece of chocolate every time you draw for a certain amount of time, it is very easy to eat the chocolate without completing the goal. And on top of that, it is a reward that would eventually start feeling insufficient. 

The good news is that the scientific papers did their part in figuring out the best reward: the one that comes  only  when you have already drawn. You need to interiorize that consistently drawing is a challenge of its own, and even though it was hard to get into it, you had the power and will to do it. How would you feel after being the person that sets the goal of achieving something and actually achieve it? 

By becoming a person who feels that drawing is the reward itself, you will tune your brain into wanting to draw more and more. 

Take action:  Once you have finished your drawing session, reward yourself because you could do it, and acknowledge you’re becoming the artist you want to be. This will activate your reward system and help your brain associate drawing as a valuable action. 

It may sound more like a self-positive talk type of advice, but the science behind it is solid, and I can tell you it has worked wonders for me and how I identify myself. Now let’s go for the next step. 

4- Get Enough Sleep

Just like with rewards, there cannot be a habit-creation discussion without getting enough sleep. That’s because 70% of our waking behavior is habitual, and it turns out that everything we do while awake gets consolidated when we sleep. And for your brain to install a new habit, it has a “break” another one; you need lots of energy for that to happen. 

On top of that, not being well rested will increase your limbic friction toward doing anything. It’s not a myth that you are less likely to do anything when you feel tired. So consolidating a new habit without sleeping enough will be much more challenging than it could be if you sleep enough. 

Take action:  Allow yourself at least 7 hours to sleep. Drawing requires focus, constant decision-making, and problem-solving, so give your body the rest it needs to produce excellent line work. Not only will it help you make drawing a habit, but it will also help you learn faster and feel better!

Now it’s time to repeat, but since that’s easier said than done, look at the drawing plan I made so you can stick to drawing without missing a day! 

5- Follow a Convenient Plan You Can Repeat

We are finally at the last step of this loop plan. The only way to make drawing a habit is to draw every day or very regularly. Although the instruction is simple, we trick ourselves into failing to achieve our goal. 

The reason why this happens is because of a lack of structure and convenience. It is much harder to start drawing when you don’t know what to draw or practice after sitting down. You could deviate from drawing if you have to figure out what to do every time you sit down.  

That’s why I developed a 21-day drawing plan you can follow to make your drawing habit stick. I made it 21 days long because that’s about how much it takes many people to create new habits under the right circumstances. 

Take action:  Create a solid structure you can follow daily for at least 21 days, reevaluate and repeat. As far as you have a structured plan of what to do, you don’t have to follow my drawing plan. A good tip is to start with some drawing warm-ups every time you sit to draw; that way, you can start drawing immediately without thinking about it. 

21-Day Plan To Make Drawing A Habit

I created this plan so any beginner or intermediate artist could follow it, and it will help you improve your art in addition to helping you achieve your drawing habit. 

Day 1 – Upside-down exercise

Do Picasso’s upside-down drawing exercise (link to the blog) . It will teach you to focus differently and have a different drawing perspective. 

study habits drawing

Day 2 – Line variety exercise

Draw an ice rupture where the lines closer to you are thicker. I chose to make the lines inside thinner because they represent light details. This helps create the illusion of depth even though the drawing is 2d. 

study habits drawing

Day 3 – Line Thickness Exercise

Draw this frog and make its contour thicker than the rest of the drawing, just like the picture. This is something you’ll see in many comics or cartoons.

study habits drawing

Day 4 – Master Study

An exercise that will help you a lot is to study how other skilled artists draw. Glen Keane is a master everyone should study at least once. Try replicating this Pocahontas drawing, making sure you draw thick lines and thin lines according to the reference. 

study habits drawing

Day 5 – Create your Own Line Quality

Draw this guy from Spirited Away. Notice that the drawing I did has a consistent line thickness and tone, so I want you not to do that and make some lines thicker, thinner, lighter, or darker according to what you want to communicate. Think about what would make this picture look more interesting. 

study habits drawing

Day 6 – Keep Practicing Creating Your Own Line Quality

Use these dog drawings to create your own line quality. Again, think about what lines to change to make the drawing more interesting. 

dogs drawings

Day 7 – Study Flamingos

Do quick sketches of flamingos multiple times until you can draw them from memory. They don’t have to be perfect at all. 

Sketches of flamingos

Day 8 – Draw Flamingos From Your Imagination

Using your knowledge about drawing flamingos, try to play with their shapes, exaggerate them and explore different poses. Do a final sketch after you have an idea of what to draw. Making the drawings cartoony will make this exercise much easier. 

Drawing flamingos from imagination

Day 9 – Study Drawing Subjects

Pick another animal and do quick sketches of it multiple times until you can draw it from memory. 

Day 10 – Draw From Your Imagination

Draw the animal you picked from your imagination using the knowledge you have about the animal. You can check your sketches and do some more if you need to refresh your memory before drawing from your imagination. 

Day 11 – Learn to Simplify With Shapes

Simplify this pig into its basic shapes. 

Simplifying an animal into shapes

Day 12 – Modify the Shapes to Add Character

Play with the shapes you drew to communicate different expressions. Usually, triangular shapes can indicate aggressiveness, danger, and instability. Rectangular shapes can communicate stability, passive or strong character. Circular shapes can communicate approachability, safety, and cuteness. They communicate hundreds of other things; these are just a few examples. 

study habits drawing

Day 13 – Simplify Another Animal

Repeat the exercise, but you have to pick your own animal this time.

 Day 14 – Modify the Shapes to Add Character

Repeat the exercise and explore limitless possibilities! 

Day 15 – Practice Technical Drawing Skills – Straight Lines

I know all these drawing exercises are super fun, and you learn a lot from them! But it is crucial to make some space to practice the most technical aspects of drawing occasionally. I practice these as warm-ups before I start to draw, and sometimes I make them extra interesting. Try to make an illustration similar to mine using straight lines only. 

Check this blog if you want some tips about drawing better straight lines.  

drawing better straight lines

Day 16 – Practice Technical Drawing Skills – Circles

Fill a page with circles. Circles are the most complex figure there is to draw, and it is essential to get familiar with them because they are present in almost every drawing. Here’s a blog about drawing circles that could help you improve at it.

Drawing better circles

Day 17 – Start Studying The Skull

Learning to draw humans will require studying the skull. Regardless of your style, drawing skulls will help you construct the face and head more easily once you know it. To do it, draw the skull from many different angles without shading or much details. This is how I started studying the skull.

Studying how to draw skulls

Day 18 – Draw The Same Skull Many Times

Draw the skull from the same angle multiple times until you can draw it from memory. Remember always to use a reference to draw it. 

study habits drawing

Day 19 – Draw The Skull From Memory.

Now that you have drawn the skull multiple times, you are ready to draw it from memory. Give it a try.

Drawing a skull from memory

Day 20 – Do Another Master Study

Find an artist you admire, pick an art piece they created and draw it. Pay attention to why you love their art and try to replicate it in your drawing. Try to get into the original artist’s mind and think about how they drew each line. Remember to mimic the line quality; that’s very important! Let their art inspire you to what you will be able to draw if you keep studying. 

Day 21 – Free Drawing Session! 

You made it this far! You have probably learned a lot from your exercises, so now try to make the drawing you like to make and apply the things you learned so far to them! I like drawing anime, so here’s an anime drawing I did. 

study habits drawing

Scientific studies show that people took 18 to 254 days to develop the habit, but that was without following any plan or structure, so make sure to apply the things you learned in this blog to make drawing a habit the fastest way you could do it.

Now that you know how to make drawing a habit, I want to give you some direction and answer a couple of common questions that come with it. It’s great that you created a drawing habit, but how exactly do you commit to continue doing it for years or possibly the rest of your life? And also, would you like to do that? 

How Do You Commit To Drawing Every Day?

To commit to drawing every day, you need to have a well-defined end goal with your art. Whether it is to have fun, pursue an artistic career where you work for a company, or create and sell your own work, knowing where you are heading will help reinforce your commitment to drawing daily.

Without some goal, it will be easier for you to drop drawing suddenly. Your goal is personal, and there won’t be right or wrong answers; you just need to have one. 

Should You Draw Every Day?

Drawing every day will be very helpful if you’re trying to make it a habit, but it is not required to become a great, skilled artist. Drawing every day will help you improve your technical skills much faster, and as long as you’re not drawing too much that you start feeling burnt out, you’re good to go. 

I have a whole blog about determining if you should draw every day because the answer depends on multiple factors, so if you want to find the best option for you, I’d recommend looking at it. 

How Many Hours Should You Draw Every Day?

On average, drawing between 2-4 hours a day is more than enough to improve at drawing. Although more hours will help you improve your line work faster, deliberate practice is more important. In most cases, one hour of drawing every day is enough for busy artists.

I also have a blog about finding out the ideal time you should draw every day to become a better artist and succeed in the process. Forcing yourself to draw for longer than you can enjoy can be detrimental to your artistic progress. So, I created a case-by-case chart to help you determine how many hours you should draw every day , according to your persona, and how to increase those hours over time.  

Last but not least, thank you for reading, and I hope you the best at achieving your artistic goals! 

Sebastian Ardila

Hey, I'm Sebastian, and I've been drawing for 15 years. I share tips, tutorials, and interesting facts about drawing to help you enhance your drawing skills. You can learn more about me by clicking my name.

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Home » Blog » How To Create A Drawing Habit – The Complete Guide

How To Create A Drawing Habit – The Complete Guide

Do you want to learn how to create a drawing habit?

For lots of artists, illustrators to photographers, a regular drawing habit is a must. It makes up who they are, and what they believe in.

This regular habit grows a drawing skill. Coupled with learning new methods to constantly improve drawing , this is the magic formula.

For myself, I’ve dedicated myself to a daily drawing habit for years, with the odd one or two slips. But, it’s not always been this way. Previously, I would often get sidetracked, distracted and put my attention elsewhere. I knew consistency builds strong drawing skills , so I had to take action. Furthermore, I have now kept my daily drawing habit going for years. However, this may sound like a pipe dream to you…

Are you banging your head against the wall, frustrated that you can’t stick to a daily drawing habit? Do you want to improve your skill, and take your art to the next level? Well you’re in luck, because this article will help. Within this blog post I’m sharing my tips to help you learn how to create a drawing habit. I’ll be sharing my own thoughts and techniques, and also things I’ve learnt on the way.

Whatever your skill level, this blog post can benefit you. From beginners, intermediate to advanced artists. It’s best geared at those of you who run out of time everyday. Without the satisfaction that you’ve completed your daily drawing habit.

But why bother with a daily drawing habit?

Why is a daily drawing habit important?

Drawing on a consistent basis results in an improved drawing skill. It gives you opportunity to experiment, practice, and focus on your weaknesses.

Think back to an activity, hobby or process that you haven’t done in a while. It could be surfing, knitting to writing. How did you feel after all that time out ‘of the game’? I’m confident you felt rusty, and it took you a while to get up to speed.

A daily drawing habit avoids this problem. As inconsistency is the death of progress. Additionally, this is crucial for those of you who are in the creative industry. At the minimum, a daily drawing habit maintains your skill. If you’re a freelancer for example, that next creative commission might be imminent. You don’t want your skill to be rusty – you want to be ready!

However life can sometimes get in the way, and drawing falls by the wayside.

I’ve been in the exact same position on many occasions. But these habit tips can instil a daily drawing practice, can improve your art , and can advance your drawing skill.

What is a habit?

A habit has 4 loops: a cue, craving, response, and reward; as documented in James Clear’s Atomic Habits .

Let’s take the example of checking your email, and where that habit comes from. The cue is receiving notifications on your phone / laptop. The craving is wanting to learn what is within the email, as it could be important. The response is opening your mail application. The reward is reading the email. The association is now reading your email when the notification comes through.

Establishing this loop becomes engrained in the cycle; good or bad, after a period of time. Unless you break this cycle. For example, you could minimise this action by disabling mail notifications. Furthermore, uninstalling the application on your phone, but keeping it on your laptop. Or something even more drastic, deleting your entire mailbox.

Certain habits stem from this habit loop. You can build good habits – drawing, reading, to bad habits – like smoking to eating too much junk food.

How to create a drawing habit

The best way to make your drawing habit stick is by changing the four pillars of habits, as discussed in James’ book. Making the cue obvious , cravings attractive , response easy , and the reward satisfying .

How can we apply this to drawing? Make the drawing cue obvious. Schedule a time as soon as you wake up, after you drink some water and brush your teeth, to draw. Another idea would be leaving your sketchbook out on the desk in front of you. The next is attractive. For example, if you love listening to audiobooks, you could listen whilst you draw. Or as another alternative, watch Netflix after you’ve completed the habit. This is the reward that we want to instil.

The next is easy. Tell yourself that you only have to draw for 2 minutes, and see how you go. 2 minutes is not too challenging and easy to complete. Usually, after 2 minutes is over, you get into the flow. Lastly, you need to make the habit satisfying. This is the cherry on the pie. As soon as you complete the habit, you need to reward yourself. Like James’ was also stating:

“What is immediately rewarded is repeated. What is immediately punished is avoided.”

Making drawing easy

To create a daily drawing habit, drawing must be easy.

Some ideas around this would be to place your sketchbook on your desk, so it’s in easy reach to draw. Additionally, making it easy might be placing your sketchbook in your bag, on your commute. Essentially, the main crux is to make drawing as easy as possible.

The harder a habit is to achieve, the more likely you won’t perform the habit.

Carve out time

Think to a time in the day where you can concentrate, distraction free, for at least 30 minutes. This could be in the evening once the kids are in bed, early in the morning, or after you’ve finished your run.

You may be thinking that you can’t afford thirty minutes in a day. However, I would disagree. You can develop your skills, doing the things you enjoy, and push that creative skill (aka drawing). This is YOU time , so make sure nothing gets in the way.

Once you’ve thought of that time, treat it like a meeting everyday, and put it in your calendar. This is your time to do the things (or habits), that you want to do. For me, I tend to do my best work early in the morning, before the outside world wakes up (crazy morning person over here). I wake up, have plenty of water, meditate, journal, do my teeth, put my headphones on, draw in my sketchbook , and finally write. This is before 7am, with habits that occur after this too.

“Think to a time in the day where you can concentrate, distraction free, for at least 30 minutes.”

I’ve made sure this time is me time, and nothing gets in the way of it (it helps it being so early, limiting distractions). Think to a time in the day where you work best, distraction free for 30 minutes, and make it you time.

Invest In A Portable Sketchbook

One way I’ve been able to draw more is by purchasing a portable sketchbook. It’s a place where I love to draw my personal sketchbook work . I own many different sized sketchbooks, but my portable A6 sketchbook is perfect for when I’m out and about. My sketchbook is great on trains, buses, and planes (public transport seems to be common here). Quick drawings in your sketchbook can do wonders for your skill and daily practice. If you draw for just 10 minutes a day, that’s 1,825 minutes of drawing time in 1 year – that’s a lot of drawing!

Make Sacrifices

In order for drawing to be a part of your life, you need to make sacrifices. That means replacing television time for drawing time. And yes, The Walking Dead can wait! (I’m sorry Rick!)

If you really want to learn how to create a drawing habit, see what areas of your life you can replace for drawing. You could swap television time for drawing time, using your phone less, or waking up earlier. This might sound unattainable, as the pull for television is just too great. That’s certainly understandable, and I’ve been there many times. However, you could put pleasurable tasks after a habit instead.

For example, you could draw first, before watching television. You’re making a temporary sacrifice, with a reward later. The same applies to using your phone, sacrifice that temporarily for later. You need to make sacrifices sometimes to do the things you want to do, and if drawing is one of those things, then do it.

Another tip to help with cravings (like watching television for example), is to wait 10 minutes. If after 10 minutes you still want to perform that action, then feel free. Most of the time, sudden urges worn off. Cobble this technique with temporary sacrifice and you’ll be onto a winner!

Practice drawing for 5 mins

Starting any new drawing or creation is sometimes difficult. That blank white canvas, sketchbook paper or Photoshop design, staring you in the face. But how can you overcome this? This coincides with the book The War of Art , by Steven Pressfield. Offering advice throughout the book cure procrastination, particularly in the creative space.

Lets use the example of starting a canvas painting , to give you an overview of Pressfield’s advice. The powers at be will force you to stop drawing. Your mind will tell you to not even try, and to do something more pleasurable. The more times this happens, the more of this effect seems to take place. Making it harder for you to start that canvas drawing. The white of the canvas becomes increasingly stark.

Yet, when or if you do start that canvas painting, you’ll notice it isn’t that bad after all.

After 2 minutes, you get into the flow, and before you know it, you have a good amount of work complete. The build up is sometimes worse than the actual doing. I highly recommend the book, with Pressfield elaborating on the topic much better than I.

Keep this in mind when creating a drawing habit. If you’re avoiding drawing like the plague, think of the 2 minute rule. If after 2 minutes you still can’t get into it, stop. This should nullify the hesitation. If 2 minutes is too long, heck, change it to 1 minute! If 1 minute is too long, then I’m done (ha).

In Conclusion

I hope you have discovered a few tips to help you learn how to create a drawing habit. Let’s take a look at what we have covered today:

  • A daily drawing habit is important to build your skills.
  • Habits have 4 loops: a cue, craving, response, and reward.
  • The cue must be obvious , cravings attractive , response easy , and the reward satisfying .
  • Make drawing as easy as possible by placing your sketchbook close by.
  • Carve out time in your calendar for you time.
  • Make temporary sacrifices. Instead of television time now, put it after a habit.
  • Tell yourself that you’re only going to conduct a habit for 2 minutes. This makes the habit seem simple and easy to complete.
  • Enjoy your habits! The more you enjoy, the more likely you are to commit to them.

Drawing should be fun, and it should be something that you look forward to. If it’s not at least fun, then you’ll find it difficult to commit.

I would love to know what you think of these drawings tips and what your drawing routines look like. Add a comment below, or hit me up on my social media links below.

If you enjoyed reading this article, I have a few more pages which you will adore. Firstly, I showcase my art tools that I use to create my art and illustrations. Secondly, if you love a good old fine art portfolio then take a look at my canvas paintings to original drawings. Lastly, level up your colour theory by learning what complimentary colours are.

If you don’t know much about me, I’m a freelance illustrator for hire . I’ve worked for many worldwide clients, from editorial to publishing illustration.

Thanks guys, and keep drawing!

Many thanks for listening and visiting my news page today. Follow what I’m up to on Twitter , Facebook or Instagram . Many thanks again, and have a great day!

How To Create A Drawing Habit – The Complete Guide

Haydn Symons

Haydn Symons - Freelance Illustrator For Hire

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The Science of Drawing and Memory

Want students to remember something? Ask them to draw it.

Vi Hart sketchnoting in her math notebook

It’s long been known that drawing something helps a person remember it. A new study shows that drawing is superior to activities such as reading or writing because it forces the person to process information in multiple ways: visually, kinesthetically, and semantically. Across a series of experiments, researchers found drawing information to be a powerful way to boost memory, increasing recall by nearly double.

Myra Fernandes, Jeffrey Wammes, and Melissa Meade are experts in the science of memory—how people encode, retain, and recall information. At the University of Waterloo, they conducted experiments to better understand how activities such as writing, looking at pictures, listening to lectures, drawing, and visualizing images affect a student’s ability to remember information.

In an early experiment, they asked undergraduate students to study lists of common terms—words like truck and pear —and then either write down or illustrate those words. Shortly afterward, participants recalled 20 percent of words they had written down, but more than twice as many—45 percent—of the terms they had drawn. This experiment helped to establish the benefits of drawing.

In a follow-up experiment, the researchers compared two methods of note-taking—writing words by hand versus drawing concepts—and found drawing to be “an effective and reliable encoding strategy, far superior to writing.” The researchers found that when the undergraduates visually represented science concepts like isotope and spore , their recall was nearly twice as good as when they wrote down definitions supplied by the lecturer.

Importantly, the benefits of drawing were not dependent on the students’ level of artistic talent, suggesting that this strategy may work for all students, not just ones who are able to draw well.

Across a total of eight experiments, the researchers confirmed drawing to be a “reliable, replicable means of boosting performance”—it provided a significant boost to students’ ability to remember what they were learning.

Why is drawing such a powerful memory tool? The researchers explain that it “requires elaboration on the meaning of the term and translating the definition to a new form (a picture).” Unlike listening to a lecture or viewing an image—activities in which students passively absorb information—drawing is active. It forces students to grapple with what they’re learning and reconstruct it in a way that makes sense to them.

The researchers also suggest that drawing results in better recall because of how the information is encoded in memory. When a student draws a concept, they “must elaborate on its meaning and semantic features, engage in the actual hand movements needed for drawing (motor action), and visually inspect [the] created picture (pictorial processing).”

At a neural level, the strength of a memory depends largely on how many connections are made to other memories. An isolated piece of information—such as a trivial fact—is soon forgotten in the brain’s constant effort to prune away unused knowledge. The opposite, however, is also true: The more synaptic connections a memory has, the more it resists eventually being forgotten.

So when we draw, we encode the memory in a very rich way, layering together the visual memory of the image, the kinesthetic memory of our hand drawing the image, and the semantic memory that is invoked when we engage in meaning-making. In combination, this greatly increases the likelihood that the concept being drawn will later be recalled.

This Is Not About Learning Styles

It would be a mistake to think that drawing is beneficial because it taps into a particular learning style. Research has debunked the idea that students learn best when teachers try to match instruction to a single modality.

Instead, what’s happening is that drawing taps into multiple modalities—visual, kinesthetic, and semantic—which is superior to tapping into only one. When students draw something, they process it in three different ways, in effect learning it three times over.

In the Classroom

There are several ways that teachers can incorporate drawing to enrich learning.

  • Student-created learning aids: Instead of buying or printing posters that reinforce learning—maps, anchor charts, or diagrams—have students create them .
  • Interactive notebooks: Don’t let students take notes verbatim— push them to be creative . One side of their notebooks can be used for written notes, the other for drawings, diagrams, and charts.
  • Data visualization: Asking students to collect, analyze, and present data in visual form can deepen their understanding of a topic. Examples include visualizing concepts in math ,  analyzing classical literature , and exploring fractals .
  • Bookmaking: Blending academics and art, students at Symonds Elementary create their own books to visually represent topics in subjects ranging from science to English language arts. Students can also create comics books to tell stories or describe events.
  • Assessing learning through art: Jill Fletcher, a middle school teacher in Hawaii, uses “ one-pagers ” to challenge students to show their understanding about a topic through art, making it less about finding the “single correct answer” and more about crafting a response they can stand behind. And students at Normal Park Museum Magnet School create travel journals as a visible record of their learning.

The takeaway: Encourage students to draw. Doing so is a powerful tool to boost student learning because it improves recall by challenging students to explore an idea in different ways.

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The Drawing Habit

If there’s one word that is the centrepiece to learning to draw, it’s ‘habits’. This video is all about building a drawing habit. If you’d prefer to read it, it is also written out as an article below the video.

If you have a habit of practising and studying drawing, you can become amazing at drawing. This article is about how to build a good drawing habit.

A lot of this article is based on two books – the Power of Habit and Atomic Habits.

study habits drawing

You know that phrase ‘life is what happens while you’re making other plans’? Well those things you’re actually doing without really thinking a lot about them, those are habits. And they can produce incredible results. Some people’s habits ruin their lives  while for others their habits take them to the very greatest heights. And if you’re anything like me, things like New Year’s resolutions and stuff don’t really get done, but habits do.

study habits drawing

How habits work

Here’s how a habit works: there’s a cue – something that triggers the habit. It could be a time or a place like the living room after dinner, or something that happens like your phone going off. Then there’s the action, the thing you do, like watching TV or, for us hopefully, drawing. Then there’s the reward, like relaxing, feeling satisfied or laughing.

study habits drawing

Modify an existing habit

Instead of building a new habit and fitting into your day, it’s sometimes easier to take an old habit but modify the action.

Here’s an example from my own life. I had a habit of wanting to relax with some Netflix or YouTube or something after dinner.

study habits drawing

But I wanted to spend extra time drawing, so I needed to change the action from watching TV to drawing (except when the Bake Off is on, then it’s back to the TV).

study habits drawing

So let’s look at those stages of a habit in more detail.

Make the cue a consistent one

Hopefully we’ll be drawing a lot, so the triggers for the drawing habit need to be things that happen regularly. When you wake up is a good one, during lunch break and so on. My life drawing class is only on during term time and only once a week – that’s not going to be enough practice, so I have a lot of other cues that get me practising.

Make the action easy and attractive to start

In order for that cue to trigger your action, there needs to be zero friction to starting and even better, it needs to be attractive. Watching TV is both easy and attractive – it involves the nicest room to be in, the living room, the most comfortable chair, the sofa, and they made remote controls so it’s insanely easy to do. So to add a relaxed evening drawing session, I needed to make drawing that easy to start and the place I did it that attractive.

I keep the TV unplugged, so there’s some effort to set it up, but my sketchbook is right here ready to go. My living room is switching from a TV watching place to a relaxed sketching place.

The other thing is to make the session really doable. Aim for just a one minute session. So after dinner, I’m in a great place for drawing, and all I have to do is drawing for 60 seconds. Very often, it’ll turn into a longer session, but even if it’s just one minute, consider that a practice session. 

Make the reward consistent

In order for this evening drawing practice habit to work, I needed that drawing practice to give me the reward that TV was giving me – relaxation & time away from daily worries. If my post-dinner drawing practice was about hard study or creating something great to put out to the world, I might not have successfully switched my habit. I would have craved that relaxation reward, and the TV would have beckoned. So I keep the evening practice zero pressure. That doesn’t mean that I avoid hard practice, which is really important. It’s just that for that time of day after dinner, I know I am more likely to do something if I find it relaxing.

study habits drawing

Who do you think you are?

And finally, maybe the biggest thing – how do you see yourself? A lot of people say things like ‘I can’t draw’ or ‘I don’t have much talent’ – even people studying art. I know for some people it could feel arrogant or pretentious to say you’re a good artist or even to just say you’re an artist at all. But if you don’t say you are a budding artist, then you probably won’t do what artists need to do.

So to summarise, see yourself as a person becoming a good artist, create an environment that makes practice easy and attractive, decide on regular times that when drawing sessions will happen and make sure that you have a mindset that means that drawing practice gives you some immediate rewards like satisfaction.

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Binge Drawing

5 Tips that Helped me Build an almost Daily Drawing Habit

By: Author Ammar

Posted on Last updated: January 3, 2024

Categories Basics

study habits drawing

For most of my life, I have struggled to stick to drawing for more than a few weeks at a time, even though it’s something that I’ve always known to bring me joy and satisfaction . Each time I tried to reignite my passion for drawing , I felt a short burst of motivation to see through the initial batch of bad drawings, only to find my enthusiasm dwindle before I could establish a drawing habit.

Inspired by the teachings of James Clear (I highly recommend you to read his book Atomic Habits by the way), this is the first time I have been able to draw consistently for an extended period . It’s been two years and counting 😊 and to give you some context the most I had previously drawn consistently was only about six months but that was over seven years ago.

So, in this post, I’ll share with you the five strategies that have helped me turn my occasional fling with drawing into a consistent habit , and I hope this helps you navigate the challenges you face in drawing more consistently .

5. Keep your sketchbook somewhere obvious so you’re reminded to draw throughout the day.

study habits drawing

A great piece of advice I learned from “Atomic Habits” by James Clear to promote a positive habit is to make the action more obvious and attractive.

One way I apply this principle is to take out my sketchbook from my backpack and flip through to a spread that I like and lay it open on my work desk first thing in the morning.

Although it can seem trivial and inconsequential, but simple things like placing your sketchbook somewhere you won’t miss can help a lot in squeezing in a few sketches in between work, study, and spending time with your family because you’re constantly reminded to draw.

4 Minimize the effort it takes to just start drawing.

study habits drawing

The first step is often the hardest to take and that’s especially true for drawing . Here are some things you can do to make it easier to start drawing and overcome procrastination:

  • Figure out a theme for what you’re going to draw for a week and save references in advance so you don’t talk yourself out of drawing while searching for the perfect reference on Pinterest.
  • Start drawing on a partly filled sketchbook page instead of a blank page.
  • Make your drawing supplies easily accessible .
  • If you’re a beginner, ease yourself into drawing and gradually increase the level of complexity of your drawings so you’re not daunted by the mental effort it would take to pull off a drawing. Opt for something that’s not overly complicated to draw, especially in the beginning .

3 Make drawing immediately satisfying.

study habits drawing

One tried and tested way to boost the chances of taking up new habits is to make the action immediately satisfying .

As beginners, we may lack the skills to pull off drawings that we’re genuinely proud of that can be naturally satisfying, so it’s important to send some positive feedback to our brain during or immediately after drawing to encourage us to return to it later .

Here are some ideas for rewarding yourself for ‘showing up’ for drawing:

  • Listen to your favorite playlist while you’re drawing.
  • Have a cup of your favorite beverage ready when you start to sketch.
  • Add drawing to a habit tracker or your simple to-do list and mark it off when you’re done with a drawing session.
  • When you do end up with a drawing that you really like, take a moment to appreciate what you’ve made . There is nothing better than feeling proud about something you’ve drawn.

2 Stack your drawing habit after something you’re already used to doing consistently.

study habits drawing

Another great insight I learned from James Clear is to leverage old habits to build new ones . So, in the context of drawing, instead of randomly adding drawing into your routine, it is more effective to stack it before or after an old habit .

For example, for the past year and a half, I have been writing almost every weekday from 10 am to about 4 pm (mostly for this blog), and once I’m done writing, I make it a point to draw immediately after. After a few weeks of doing this, drawing has become the default/automatic action for me after I’m done with writing. It definitely works!

1 Figure out what you will need to sacrifice to make time for drawing.

study habits drawing

I think one of the biggest roadblocks in establishing a drawing routine is the apparent lack of free time. Relating from my own experience, even though I knew drawing was something I wanted to do more often, I had simply convinced myself that I just didn’t have the time for it alongside work, study, family, exercise, and sleep. For much of my life, drawing felt like a luxury I couldn’t afford at the time.

What ultimately helped me a couple of years ago was an honest assessment of how I spent my time for just one week and figuring out what I’m willing to sacrifice for the time being to give drawing a chance. For me, it meant trading most of the time I watched Netflix and consuming social media with drawing. Two years on, being more intentional in making time for drawing was the best decision I ever made!

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27 Good Study Habits of Straight-A Students

good study habits, explained below

Study habits refer to the consistent practice and approach to study, on a regular basis, to enhance academic performance.

The good thing about a habit is that once you do it on a regular basis, it becomes easy. So, your job is to get into this habit early. Once you’re into the habit, university becomes easy (well, easier ).

Good study habits that I recommend include getting into the routine of heading to the library (or a similar study space) to study without distractions, chunking your studies by subject, and using spaced repetition for things that require rote memorization .

I also recommend studying with friends – such as by testing one another – whenever possible.

The integration of efficient study habits enhances academic performance and motivation to study . By developing effective study strategies adjusted to your personal learning style, you improve concentration and retention of information – and concentration, more than time spent studying, is found to be a key factor for success (Nonis & Hudson, 2010).

Good Study Habits

1. Time Management Time management refers to being able to efficiently allocate your time so you don’t run out of time, and so you have enough time to allocate to all important tasks. As a basis, you could initiate a dedicated study schedule, specifying the time slots for each subject. For instance, you might want to allot your mornings for theory-heavy subjects like Anatomy, and save the afternoons for practice-oriented subjects like Clinical Skills. Don’t forget to also block time for regular study breaks and social events. This is crucial to prevent burnout and maintain longevity – university is a marathon, not a sprint.

Read Also: 7 Things to do in your First Week of University

2. Using Active Reading Strategies This is the process of engaging with the material by asking questions and drawing connections. Instead of passively reading your texts, you can participate more actively by summarizing the information in your own words, teaching it to someone else, quizzing yourself, or creating visual aids like diagrams and mind maps. As Issa et al. (2012) found, reading relevant information daily is an effective study habit for improving grades.

3. Setting Realistic Goals This strategy involves laying out achievable objectives for each study session or topic. Setting goals not only keeps you focused, but also helps gauge your progress. For example, instead of aiming to read an entire biology textbook in two days, you might target mastering one chapter per day. I recommend setting both short-term study goals and long-term study goals using the SMART Goals method .

4. Prioritization Successful students often prioritize tasks based on their deadlines and degree of importance. You might follow the Eisenhower Box method: divide your tasks into four categories, namely, important and urgent, important but not urgent, not important but urgent, and not important and not urgent. For instance, an upcoming exam translates into an important and urgent task, hence it would be first on your list.

5. Spaced Repetition This strategy involves studying information over incremental intervals instead of cramming it in one sitting. You might review your notes on the day you learn something, then again in a couple of days, then after a week, and so forth. There are even apps like the Anki flashcards app that have a built-in spaced repetition algorithm that can space how often ideas are presented to you.

6. Creating a Suitable Environment Each individual’s ideal study environment may differ based on personal preferences . Some people need complete silence, while others work better with some background noise. If you like silence, the quite section of a library is a good place to start – I recommend making it a habit to go to the library at your university as often as possible. Conversely, if you feel background noise helps you to concentrate, consider studying at a cafe. But the key is to ensure your environment is right for you. As Ogbodo (2010, p. 229) argues: “Where to study is as important as what to study and how to go about studying.”

7. Taking Breaks Integrating regular short breaks into your study pattern can boost your productivity and mental agility because it decreases distractions during focused study time. And this is important. As Walck-Shannon, Rowell and Frey (2021) found, “students reported being distracted about 20% of their study time, and distraction while studying negatively predicted exam performance.” So, let’s avoid that – by splitting our time between strong focus, then rest. Typically, the Pomodoro technique is a popular method for this, where you study for 25 minutes, then take a 5-minute break. After four such cycles, you take a longer break of 15-20 minutes. During your breaks, you can engage in some light activity such as stretching or walking to invigorate yourself.

8. Maintaining Physical Health Eating well, getting regular exercise, and ensuring enough sleep are often overlooked aspects of efficient studying. Research shows that a balanced diet, physical activity, and proper sleep improve cognitive functions , including memory and concentration. You may want to establish a regular sleep schedule, incorporate a balanced diet, and schedule regular exercise sessions each week into your routine.

9. Using Technology Wisely Technology offers a range of tools that can streamline your study process. For instance, you can use apps for time management (e.g., Rescue Time), note-taking (e.g., Evernote), or spaced repetition (e.g., Anki). While these apps can be beneficial, remember to keep checks on screens’ disruptive nature and the habit of digital distraction. As practice, try turning off your phone’s notifications when you study, or set ‘Do Not Disturb’ intervals.

10. Review and Revise Sessions Regular review of study materials aids in long-term retention of information. You can allocate specific time slots each week to revisit old notes, attempt self-test papers or engage in group discussions. For instance, you might dedicate your Sunday mornings to revising everything you’ve covered during the preceding week.

11. Active Writing Transcribing information demands active engagement, thereby reinforcing your understanding and memory of the subject. You might opt to rewrite complex concepts in your own words or diagrammatically represent intricate processes. For example, instead of merely reading about the human circulatory system, consider drawing it out with brief annotations.

12. Seeking Help When Needed Understanding when to seek help is an underrated study habit. If you find yourself struggling with a subject, don’t hesitate to approach your professors, peers, or study groups for clarification. You might also seek online resources such as academic forums or educational websites. Remember, it’s better to clarify doubts initially than to have misconceptions hamper your overall learning.

13. Mindfulness and Focus Mindfulness, or present-moment awareness, can help enhance your comprehension and retention during studying. You could practice mindfulness by removing distractions, concentrating on the task at hand, and making a conscious effort to absorb the material.

14. Integrating Study with Real-Life Scenarios Applying the theoretical knowledge learned during study sessions to real-life instances can facilitate a deeper understanding. You might relate basic principles of economics to household budgeting or chemistry to cooking. This practice can help convert abstract concepts into tangible examples.

15. Regular Self-Assessment Implementing regular exams or quizzes to assess your understanding and memory can be a direct way to monitor progress. You can either use ready-made quizzes available online or design a short assessment yourself. As you answer, mark out the areas you struggled with for further review. This method will help you know where you stand in your preparation and what areas need extra effort.

16. Employing Mnemonics This involves using techniques to retain and retrieve information. The method could be as simple as creating an acronym or conjuring up a relevant mental image. For example, in recalling the taxonomical rank in biology – Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species – you might use the well-known mnemonic phrase: “King Phillip Came Over For Good Soup.” Examples of additional mnemonic techniques include the method of loci and memory linking .

17. Incorporating Understandable Examples Since abstract concepts can be confusing, associating them with relateable analogies can help you grasp the idea. This technique depends heavily on your creativity and could be as simple as linking a literary theme to a popular movie plot. Ensuring your examples make sense to you is vital.

18. Varying Study Methods It is beneficial to avoid monotony and experiment with multiple learning techniques. This can include oscillating between solitary studying and group study sessions, or alternating between text-based learning and audio-visual aids. For instance, following a hefty reading session, you might want to watch a related documentary or podcast on the topic. Switching up strategies not only prevents burnout but also caters to different facets of your learning style.

19. Note-Taking Strategy Effective note-taking is a skill that helps in better understanding and remembrance of knowledge. You should decide a note-taking strategy which could be outlining, mind mapping, or the Cornell method, and stick to it. For example, you might use the Cornell Method, which divides the paper into notes, cues, and a summary section for enhancing retention and review.

20. Regularity and Consistency Consistency is the cornerstone of strong study habits. Establishing a regular routine that allocates specific periods for study each day leads to better academic performance. For instance, studying for two hours per day consistently is more effective than cramming for fourteen hours once a week.

21. Engage All Senses Engaging multiple senses aids in strengthening your memory of the subject matter. This could involve reading aloud, rewriting notes, creating visual aids, or even using software to convert text to speech. The goal is to consume the information through as many sensory channels as possible to maximize retention. For example, if you’re studying foreign vocabulary, you could listen to the pronunciation, read the definition, write the word several times, and visualize an image related to it.

22. Reflective Learning Reflective learning involves regularly taking a few moments to contemplate what you’ve learned. This process ensures you understand the main concepts and helps you evaluate how effectively the learning material has been understood. For instance, after reading a section on World History, take a moment to think about what questions have been answered and what new questions have arisen in your mind about the topic.

23. Preparing for the Next Class Reviewing the material that will be covered in the next class helps make the class more productive and understandable. By having prior knowledge of the topic, you can better participate in class discussions and raise insightful queries. For example, if tomorrow’s Physics class covers Electromagnetic Waves, you might want to read the corresponding chapter tonight.

24. Constructive Procrastination While complete avoidance of procrastination is the goal, sometimes it’s unavoidable. Constructive procrastination involves doing another task that also needs to be done when you feel like procrastinating. If you find yourself unable to study Civil Law, consider switching to another pending task, such as completing your Mathematics assignment. This way, you remain productive while giving in to the urge to procrastinate.

25. Visualization Techniques Visualization involves picturing the information in your mind, which can significantly improve memory and recall. For instance, when studying Anatomy, envisioning the body parts, systems, and processes can enhance your understanding. If you’d like to explore this strategy more, read my article on the visual peg-word system for memorization .

26. Listen to Music Without Lyrics Listening to music while studying is a controversial topic. Some people think it helps them to achieve a flow state, while most research suggests that “ media multitasking ” is a distraction whether we realize it or not (Xu, Wang, & Woods, 2019). Generally, I recommend that if you do like that background nose, try to listen to music without lyrics, like lo-fi playlists from YouTube, which act as background noise and could potentially prevent your mind from wandering.

27. Study with Friends Thalluri (2016) found that “study buddy support groups” significantly support studying. Friends can keep each other accountable and help motivate one another. And, according to social learning theory , working in groups helps us to reinforce knowledge. For example, if you’re talking about the course content with friends, you’ll hear their unique perspectives, which you can critically compare to your own, which augments, supports, positively alters, and strengthens your own perspectives.

Study habits act as the building blocks of your academic journey. Efficient study habits not only ensure better academic performance but also help in gaining lifelong skills like time management, goal-setting, and self-discipline. By adopting effective study habits, you modulate your academic journey to a more favorable and fruitful path.

If you want to dive deeper into getting good study habits, I’d recommend James Clear’s Atomic Habits book – it’s an amazing book for learning to get more productive and optimize your time as a student.

Issa, A.O., Aliyu, M.B., Akangbe, R.B., and Adedeji, A.F. (2012). Reading interest and habits of the federal polytechnic students. International Journal of Learning & Development, 2 (1): 470-486.

Nonis, S. A., & Hudson, G. I. (2010). Performance of college students: Impact of study time and study habits.  Journal of education for Business ,  85 (4), 229-238.

Ogbodo, R. O. (2010). Effective Study Habits in Educational Sector: Counselling Implications.  Edo Journal of Counselling ,  3 (2), 230-242.

Thalluri, J. (2016). Who benefits most from peer support group?–First year student success for Pathology students.  Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences ,  228 , 39-44.

Walck-Shannon, E. M., Rowell, S. F., & Frey, R. F. (2021). To what extent do study habits relate to performance?.  CBE—Life Sciences Education ,  20 (1). doi: https://doi.org/10.1187/cbe.20-05-0091

Xu, S., Wang, Z., & Woods, K. (2019). Multitasking and dual motivational systems: A dynamic longitudinal study.  Human Communication Research ,  45 (4), 371-394. doi: https://doi.org/10.1093/hcr/hqz009

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Chris Drew (PhD)

Dr. Chris Drew is the founder of the Helpful Professor. He holds a PhD in education and has published over 20 articles in scholarly journals. He is the former editor of the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education. [Image Descriptor: Photo of Chris]

  • Chris Drew (PhD) https://helpfulprofessor.com/author/chris-drew-phd/ Social-Emotional Learning (Definition, Examples, Pros & Cons)
  • Chris Drew (PhD) https://helpfulprofessor.com/author/chris-drew-phd/ What is Educational Psychology?
  • Chris Drew (PhD) https://helpfulprofessor.com/author/chris-drew-phd/ What is IQ? (Intelligence Quotient)
  • Chris Drew (PhD) https://helpfulprofessor.com/author/chris-drew-phd/ 5 Top Tips for Succeeding at University

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8 Highly Effective Study Habits

study habits drawing

Effective study habits can help you achieve better grades.

Woman using highly effective study habits at desk

Maybe you’re one of the many college students working toward a specific career goal. Or, you might be undecided but earning credits to transfer later. You could even be an enterprising teen looking to work “smart” not just “hard.”

Either way, you likely want to make the best use of your time by optimizing your study habits.

There are a few simple strategies that can help. Learning how to study smarter can make the difference between passing and excelling in school.

Why study habits matter

If you’re test prepping a topic that’s one of your favorites, chances are the process is comfortable and effective.

But what about a less interesting course, or a day when you’re distracted? It’s human nature to experience low motivation and reduced focus, which can interfere with your learning objectives.

Effective study habits can have a positive impact. A consistent study routine can support you through issues like poor time management that can interfere with your progress.

8 general effective study habits to boost your grades

  • Adopt the right study mindset
  • Know the class expectations
  • Choose an effective study location
  • Have the right study materials
  • Use helpful study strategies
  • Network with peers
  • Set a schedule you can follow
  • Practice self-care

Positive study habits

If you’re looking for a way to increase your academic success, a good place to start is by improving your study habits.

Adopting the right study mindset

Your attitude toward studying may influence the outcome.

It’s not just about thinking positively. Research from 2017 shows that a growth mindset is linked to achievement more than a fixed mindset.

A growth mindset is a belief that you can change the outcome with perseverance and effort. A fixed mindset is a belief that things can’t be changed.

Positive thinking can get you through the more challenging study sessions. Try not to compare yourself to other people and avoid catastrophic or absolute thinking .

For example, instead of fretting that you don’t have enough time, you could remind yourself that some studying is better than nothing. Rather than fixating on a poor grade, you might ask yourself how you can do better next time.

Knowing the course expectations

There’s more to academic success than subject mastery and test prep. Course expectations are also important.

Your instructor’s policy for late assignments and class participation are two examples of the type of information that can help you.

Another example is being aware of the required format for written assignments. Following this type of instruction can ensure that you get the best possible grades for your efforts.

Choosing an effective study location

A suitable study location is one where you’re comfortable and able to focus. For some people, this might be a park under a shady tree. Others might prefer the hushed and studious environment of a library.

You might have a room at home where you can close a door for quiet. However, if you live in a busy household, it might be easier to plan a trip to the library rather than repeatedly trying to disconnect from everything happening around you.

Having the right study materials

Imagine you’re getting ready to study for an exam from an outline that the teacher has provided, but you can’t find the outline. Now your studying will no longer be a specific and focused activity. Instead, it would be a guessing game.

Having the right study materials can save you time, and could make your efforts more effective.

Using helpful study strategies

Sometimes simply reading your notes in your head doesn’t work as well as you’d like. If this is the case, you can try some other study techniques to produce better results:

  • rewrite your notes
  • outline your notes
  • use memory tricks like mnemonic devices
  • make flashcards
  • restate concepts in your own words

Networking with peers

If you’d rather study with friends than alone, there’s research to suggest this approach is beneficial.

A 2016 Australian study revealed that students odds of failing a pathology course (based on midsemester quiz marks) reduced significantly (by their final exam) when they used a study buddy support (SBS) system.

Meanwhile, the students who studied alone didn’t experience as much improvement by their final exams.

It might be worthwhile to look for study groups or create one yourself. An added benefit could be a consistent study schedule if the group meets at the same time on the same days every week.

Setting a schedule you can follow

If you wait to study until you’re inspired, there’s a chance you’ll find yourself cramming the night before each test. Instead, a study schedule can help you plan regular study sessions.

This means you’ll have a chance to review previous material. You’ll also be able to study the same topic enough so that you know it well.

It’s a sound idea to have a realistic schedule. Scheduling study time for several hours every night may be ambitious, but it can also lead to burnout .

Time management can maximize the effectiveness of your schedule. For example, if an upcoming test will cover four units of class material and you have 12 study sessions before the test, you can use three study sessions for each unit.

Practicing self-care

Self-care can affect academic success. For example, it’s easier to pay attention when you’ve had enough sleep.

Proper hydration also affects how well your brain functions. A 2015 study of 52 children ages 9-12 found that kids who were better hydrated had increased cognitive performance in areas including attention and working memory.

A healthy diet helps studying too. To function at its best, your brain needs nutrition from foods like:

  • leafy greens
  • nuts and seeds
  • olive oil or avocado oil

You can also try a supplement for cognitive function and memory , like Ginkgo Biloba . It’s a good idea to let your doctor know about any supplements you’re taking.

Certain study habits to avoid

Building helpful habits is only part of academic success. It’s also helpful to know which habits can interfere with your progress.

Procrastination

If you’ve ever looked for excuses to avoid schoolwork, you’re not alone. Most students have procrastinated at some point, choosing more enjoyable activities over assignments and studying.

However, procrastination often leads to rushed and sloppy work. It also means you won’t have enough time to properly prepare for tests. If you find yourself frequently procrastinating, something more could be afoot. Procrastination is linked to some mental health challenges and conditions:

  • Procrastination: A Cause or Symptom of Depression?
  • How to Stop Procrastinating If You Live with ADHD
  • All About ADHD Paralysis

Cramming, or last-minute studying the night before an exam isn’t as effective for transferring learned material to long-term memory.

Instead, spaced retrieval practice is more effective. This refers to allowing some time to pass between each time you practice. Spaced retrieval is even more effective when it’s varied, which means switching topics during a study session.

Multitasking with entertainment

Imagine: The TV is on with your favorite show. Your best friend is livestreaming an event she’s attending. You might think you can multitask, 2019 research deep dives to debunk the media multitasking myth.

Not asking for help when you need it

Information can be cumulative, particularly in subjects like math. If there’s a concept you don’t understand and you sweep it under the rug, this could make it hard to learn new material that comes after.

Asking for clarification also helps the teacher. If enough students are stuck at a certain point, this is an indicator that the teaching materials may need tweaking.

Let’s recap

For many people, studying effectively is the difference between a pass and a good grade — between learning the material versus just memorizing it to regurgitate on a test.

Developing practical study habits makes learning easier. Setting a schedule, practicing self-care, and accessing peer support are some examples of actions you can take to help you reach your goals.

Last medically reviewed on June 20, 2022

6 sources collapsed

  • Felder RM, et al. (2016). Why students fail tests. https://journals.flvc.org/cee/article/download/88038/84693
  • Nguyen T, et al. (2022). Ginkgo biloba. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK541024/
  • Park HW, et al. (2017). Growing growth mindset with a social robot peer. https://dl.acm.org/doi/abs/10.1145/2909824.3020213
  •  Perry CS,et al. (2015). Hydration status moderates the effects of drinking water on children’s cognitive performance. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0195666315003724
  • Thalluri J. (2016). Who benefits most from peer support group? First-year student success for pathology students. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1877042816309326
  • Xu S, et al. (2019). Multitasking and dual motivational systems: A dynamic longitudinal study. https://academic.oup.com/hcr/article/45/4/371/5586240?login=true#166824399

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The Comprehensive Guide to Creating Effective Study Habits

Picture of Admit Hero Team

Introduction

In today's fast-paced and competitive world, developing effective study habits is crucial for academic success. Whether you're a student preparing for exams or an individual seeking to enhance your learning abilities, adopting the right study habits can make a significant difference. This comprehensive guide will provide you with valuable insights and practical tips to help you create and maintain effective study habits. From understanding the benefits of effective study habits to learning how to form them, this guide will equip you with the tools you need to excel in your educational pursuits.

Benefits of Effective Study Habits

Having effective study habits offers numerous advantages that can greatly impact your academic journey.

  • Effective study habits promote better time management skills. By organizing your study sessions and adhering to a schedule, you'll be able to optimize your time and maximize productivity.
  • Effective study habits enhance retention and comprehension. Techniques such as active learning, practicing regularly, and reviewing material consistently allow for deeper understanding and improved memory recall.
  • Adopting effective study habits reduces stress and anxiety associated with exams or assignments. When you're well-prepared and confident in your abilities, you'll approach assessments with greater ease and clarity.
  • Effective study habits contribute to long-term success by instilling discipline, perseverance, and self-motivation, skills that are valuable not only in academics but also in various aspects of life.

How to Form Effective Study Habits

Set Clear Goals: Begin by establishing clear and achievable goals. Identify what you want to accomplish and break them down into smaller, manageable tasks. Clear goals provide focus and motivation throughout your study journey.

Create a Study Schedule: Design a study schedule that fits your routine and preferences. Allocate dedicated time slots for studying and stick to the schedule consistently. This routine will help train your mind to focus during these specific study periods.

Find an Optimal Study Environment: Select a quiet and comfortable study environment that minimizes distractions. Choose a well-lit area with minimal noise to maximize your concentration and productivity.

Utilize Active Learning Techniques: Engage in active learning strategies to enhance understanding and retention. Examples include summarizing key concepts, teaching others, participating in group discussions, or using mnemonic devices to aid memory.

Practice Regularly: Consistent practice is key to mastering any subject. Allocate study sessions for practice problems, quizzes, or mock exams. This approach not only reinforces your knowledge but also builds confidence in your abilities.

Organize Your Study Materials: Keep your study materials, notes, and resources organized to minimize distractions and save time. Utilize tools such as folders, digital apps, or study planners to stay organized and easily access relevant information.

Seek Support and Collaboration: Don't hesitate to seek support from teachers, classmates, or online communities. Collaborative learning provides different perspectives, fills knowledge gaps, and creates a supportive study environment.

Prioritize Self-Care: Taking care of your physical and mental well-being is essential for effective studying. Ensure you get sufficient sleep, exercise regularly, and maintain a balanced diet. Manage stress through relaxation techniques like meditation or deep breathing exercises.

Creating effective study habits is a personal journey that requires dedication and consistency. By understanding the benefits of effective study habits and following the practical tips outlined in this guide, you can unlock your full academic potential and achieve success in your educational endeavors!

FAQs about Forming Effective Study Habits

Q: How long does it take to form effective study habits? A: Forming effective study habits is a process that varies from person to person. It typically takes around 21 to 30 days of consistent practice to develop a new habit. However, the timeline can be influenced by factors such as motivation, discipline, and the complexity of the habits being formed. Remember that the key is to be patient, persistent, and to maintain a regular study routine. Over time, your study habits will become more ingrained and automatic, leading to improved academic performance.

Q: Can I customize study habits based on my learning style? A: Absolutely! One of the essential aspects of forming effective study habits is understanding your individual learning style. People have different preferences when it comes to processing information—some are visual learners, while others are auditory or kinesthetic learners. Tailor your study techniques to align with your learning style. For example, visual learners can use diagrams, charts, and color-coded notes, auditory learners can benefit from recording lectures or discussing concepts aloud, and kinesthetic learners can engage in hands-on activities or create interactive study materials. By customizing your study habits to suit your learning style, you can enhance comprehension and retention.

Q: How can I stay motivated and consistent with my study habits? A: Maintaining motivation and consistency in studying can be challenging, but there are strategies to help you stay on track:

  • Set specific, achievable goals: Clearly define what you want to accomplish in each study session and celebrate your progress along the way.
  • Break tasks into smaller chunks: Rather than overwhelming yourself with a large amount of work, divide it into manageable segments to maintain motivation.
  • Use rewards and incentives: Treat yourself to something enjoyable after completing a study session or achieving a milestone, reinforcing positive behavior.
  • Create a supportive study environment: Surround yourself with like-minded individuals or join study groups where you can share challenges, exchange ideas, and stay motivated together.
  • Find inspiration: Explore different study techniques, attend educational events, or follow motivational blogs or social media accounts related to your field of study. Drawing inspiration from others can help reignite your motivation.
  • Track your progress: Keep a study journal or use apps to monitor your progress and reflect on how far you've come. Seeing tangible results can provide a sense of accomplishment and fuel further motivation.

Remember, forming effective study habits is an ongoing process. Be adaptable, willing to make adjustments, and stay consistent in your efforts. Over time, you will develop habits that optimize your learning potential and pave the way for academic success.

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The Most Effective Study Habits and Techniques that Improve Learning

Nicolas Moore

Are you ready to unlock your full academic potential? If you’re a high school student stressing about finals, a college freshman getting used to a heavier workload, or just someone looking to sharpen your learning skills, you’re in the right place.

Studying doesn’t have to be a drag. With the effective study habits and techniques, it can be efficient, productive, and even a little bit fun! Let’s jump right into some seriously effective study tips.

15 Effective Study Habits and Techniques

I used to think studying was all about willpower and long, painful hours. Boy, was I wrong! Learning smarter, not just harder, changed everything for me. Let’s discover some of the techniques that can do the same for you.

#1. Find Your Perfect Study Spot

It might seem simple, but where you study has a huge impact on your focus . That noisy coffee shop might work for your friend, but you might need total silence. Experiment with different environments:

  • The classic library: Quiet, dedicated spaces for work.
  • Your room: Set boundaries (put your phone away!) and make it distraction-free.
  • Outdoors: On a nice day, park benches or quiet grassy spots can be surprisingly productive.

Pro Tip: Once you find what works, try to be consistent, as it helps your brain get into “study mode” faster.

"It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop."

Habits for students

#2. Break it Down

Ever feel overwhelmed by a giant textbook chapter or major project? Don’t let it defeat you! Break it into smaller, manageable chunks .

  • Chapters: Target specific sections at a time instead of feeling pressured to conquer it all.
  • Projects: Make a list of all the steps and deadlines to take the pressure off.

#3. The Power of Active Learning

Don’t just passively read your notes and hope for the best. Get your brain actively involved:

  • Summarize: Explain a concept in your own words. If you can teach it to someone else, you know you’ve got it!
  • Flashcards: Great for vocabulary, formulas, or key dates.
  • Create your own questions: Think about what your professor may ask on an exam, then try to answer those questions.

#4. Timing is Everything

You won’t study effectively if you’re exhausted or distracted. Pay attention to your energy cycles:

  • Best times: When do you feel most alert and focused? Schedule your tougher subjects for those times.
  • Short bursts: Studies suggest 25-50 minute study sessions with 5-10 minute breaks are more effective than marathon cram sessions.
  • Avoid late-night burnout: All-nighters rarely boost your grades, but do plenty of damage to your sleep and focus the next day.

#5. Ditch the Distractions

It’s hard to focus with your phone buzzing or tempting websites open. Try these tricks to combat distractions:

  • Airplane mode: Silence notifications and avoid the temptation to mindlessly scroll.
  • Website blockers: Tools like Freedom or FocusMe can temporarily block distracting websites while you work.
  • Find your zone: Some people thrive with background music, others need total silence. Figure out what helps you concentrate.

#6. Make Your Notes Work for You

Notes aren’t just to copy what’s on the board! Get more out of them with these strategies:

  • Don’t transcribe, synthesize: Focus on key ideas and connections, not writing down every word.
  • Visualize: Mind maps, diagrams, and even doodles can make it easier to remember concepts.
  • Revise regularly: Don’t just take notes and file them away. Periodic review makes the information stick.

#7. Harness the Power of Groups

Sometimes, two (or more) brains are better than one:

  • Study groups: Explain concepts to each other, quiz each other, and tackle tricky problems together.
  • Teaching assistants or tutors: Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it! Tutors and TAs can be invaluable resources.
  • Accountability buddies: Even simple check-ins with a friend can boost your motivation to stick with your study plan.

#8. Practice Makes Progress

Remember, learning is a skill, and skills get better with practice. Just like an athlete drills to improve their performance:

  • Practice tests: Find old exams or create your own. Simulating test conditions reduces anxiety and reveals areas you need to focus on.
  • Spaced repetition: Instead of cramming the night before, revisit a topic for short sessions a few days apart. This helps create stronger memories.
  • Don’t be afraid of mistakes: Making mistakes is how we learn! Analyze them, figure out why they happened, and adapt your strategy.

#9. Mind and Body Connection

Your brain isn’t separate from the rest of you. Taking care of yourself directly impacts your ability to learn:

  • Fuel up: Good nutrition gives you long-lasting energy. Avoid heavy meals right before studying, and snack on brain-boosting foods like fruits and nuts.
  • Sleep matters: Lack of sleep kills focus and makes information harder to retain. Aim for a consistent sleep schedule, even on weekends.
  • Get moving: Even a short walk can get your blood flowing and refresh your mind for a study session.

#10. Reward Yourself

Studying hard deserves a reward! But choose rewards that support your long-term goals:

  • Screen time breaks: But with a strict time limit! After 50 minutes of work, set a timer for 15 minutes of games or social media.
  • Fun activities: Schedule relaxing activities after a solid study session – movies with friends, playing an instrument, whatever you enjoy.
  • Celebrate milestones: Acing a test? Finishing a big project? Mark these wins to reinforce your efforts!

#11. The Power of Visuals

Our brains are wired to process visual information faster than text. Tap into that with these techniques:

  • Draw it out: Diagrams, flowcharts, or simple sketches can clarify complex concepts and create long-lasting connections in your memory.
  • Color code: Use colored pens or highlighters to organize notes, making important points or themes stand out.
  • Online tools: Consider mind-mapping tools like MindMeister or visual note-taking apps like Milanote for a structured and creative approach.

#12. Tech Tools Can Be Your Friend

While tech can be distracting, it can also be a powerful tool when used wisely:

  • Organization apps: Tools like Evernote, Notion, or Trello can help you organize notes, deadlines, and project workflows.
  • Pomodoro timers: These break your study time into focused chunks with scheduled breaks, helping you stay on track. Try apps like Focus To-Do or Forest.
  • Flashcard apps: Quizlet, Anki, and others make creating and memorizing flashcards more interactive.

#13. Ask for Help When You Need It

There’s no shame in needing support! Here’s where to turn:

  • Professors and TAs: They have office hours for a reason – use them!
  • Academic Support Centers: Many schools offer free tutoring and workshops.
  • Online resources: Sites like Khan Academy provide clear explanations and practice exercises for various subjects.

Two students following effective study habits and techniques

#14. Embrace Variety

Boredom is the enemy of focus. Mix things up to keep your brain engaged:

  • Vary study methods: Alternate between reading, flashcards, practice questions, and summarizing concepts.
  • Switch locations: Even changing rooms in your house can give your brain a little refresh.
  • Tackle different subjects: Prevent burnout by working on a variety of subjects throughout the day, instead of trying to cram everything for one class.

#15. The Importance of Mindset

Believe it or not, how you think about studying impacts your success. Here’s how to cultivate a positive mindset :

  • Growth vs. fixed: Don’t tell yourself, “I’m bad at math.” Instead, say, “I’m working to improve my math skills.”
  • Celebrate effort: Reward yourself for sticking with your study plan, not just for perfect grades.
  • Mistakes are okay: View mistakes as opportunities to learn. Analyze where you went wrong and adjust for next time.

"The expert at anything was once a beginner."

Student habits techniques

Not all 15 of these techniques will resonate with everyone. That’s okay! The key is to experiment, find what works best for you, and create a study routine that supports your individual learning style.

Remember, mastering these study habits won’t magically make you a straight-A student overnight. But if you’re consistent, you’ll see a real difference in how you learn, your focus, and even your enjoyment of the process. Studying can become a tool for success , not something to dread.

Habits to Overcome Procrastination

Let’s be real, procrastination happens to the best of us. But when it becomes a pattern, it can seriously sabotage your success. The good news? There are effective habits you can cultivate to become a procrastination-fighting machine!

The 5-Minute Rule

Feeling overwhelmed by a task? Tell yourself you’ll work on it for just 5 minutes. This little trick makes starting WAY less intimidating, and often you’ll find you end up working for much longer once you get into the flow.

Eat the Frog

As Mark Twain wisely said:

"If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning."

Habits for students

Do your hardest or least appealing task first to get it out of the way. The rest of your day will feel like a breeze in comparison.

Remove Temptations

Phone buzzing with notifications? Tempting websites just a click away? Shut it down!

Identify your biggest distractions and create a distraction-free workspace when you need to focus.

Real-Life Example: A Personal Story

I used to think pulling all-nighters was the ultimate study strategy. Chugging energy drinks, trying to cram a semester’s worth of material into one blurry night… and inevitably bombing the exam.

One semester, I had it. I started breaking down the content into manageable chunks and started studying on my best times (8pm to 10pm) – taking notes that made sense, using practice tests, and actually spreading study sessions out throughout the week.

Honestly, it was an adjustment at first. But my grades improved, I wasn’t a walking zombie the day of a test, and I even started to retain information beyond the exam. Learning shouldn’t be torture, and these techniques proved it.

"The beautiful thing about learning is that nobody can take it away from you."

Habits and Techniques for students

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11 Good Study Habits to Develop

Good study habits include finding a quiet location to study, taking breaks, settings goals, and taking practice tests. Here's the full list, and the psychological reasons why they work.

[Featured image] Woman studying in a quiet place at her home

Studying can be hard. The good news is that anybody can develop good study habits to make studying more effective, efficient, and enjoyable.

Want to develop good study habits? Start small—don’t expect to do everything in this list, at least not right away; pick one or two instead. It’s also important to set realistic and achievable goals for yourself. 

Good study habits to develop

Here are 11 tips to improve your study habits:

Find a good place to study.

Minimize distractions.

Take breaks.

Space out your studying.

Set study goals for each session.

Reward yourself.

Study with a group.

Take practice tests.

Use your own words.

Ask for help.

Take care of yourself.

Let's take a closer look at how you can implement each of these habits.

1. Find a good place to study.

Finding a good location to study is one of the most important elements of studying well. Look for a quiet place with minimal distractions—someplace where you’ll be able to focus, and won’t be interrupted by loud sounds or people who constantly want your attention.

A school or public library, a coffee shop, or a quiet corner of your house can all be good places to start. 

Should I stick to one place to study?

Not necessarily. Some studies show that occasionally changing where you study can help retain information. This is because studying the same material in different locations helps your brain create multiple associations with that material, making it easier for you to remember it [ 1 ]. It can be beneficial to find three or four places you like to study and switch locations when you’re feeling stuck or need a change of pace. That said, everybody is different. Find what works best for you.

2. Minimize distractions.

Picking a good location to study can be the first step in keeping yourself focused on your work. But there are many types of distractions that can reach you no matter where you choose to work. Here are some tips on minimizing these distractions:

Turn off your wifi: If you’re working on a computer and you don’t need your wifi, try turning it off. This can keep you from inadvertently wandering into the distracting parts of the internet.

Be mindful of your phone: It’s no secret that our smartphones can be hugely distracting. Turning off your notifications, keeping your phone out of sight in your bag, or giving it to a friend to keep you from checking it too often can help you stay focused. You might also try a focus app, like Forest or Focus To-Do , that can block distracting apps and set timers for study sessions.

Study with a friend: Sometimes studying with a friend or two, whether or not you’re working on the same material, can help keep you accountable and focused. Make sure you each are on the same page about studying and keeping one another distraction-free, at least until it’s time to take a break.

Should I listen to music while I study?

Listening to music while you study has some benefits; it can boost your mood and calm anxiety or stress. But studies show that reading comprehension tends to fall when the music is too loud, fast-paced, or contains lyrics [ 2 ]. Stick with calming, wordless songs while studying, and save the upbeat numbers for breaks.

3. Take breaks.

Taking intentional breaks has been linked to better retention, increased attention, and boosts in energy. Research shows that working for around 50 minutes, then giving yourself a 15- to 20-minute break, can lead to optimum productivity [ 3 ]. Here are a few ways you can give yourself a break:

Take a short walk

Listen to a mood-boosting song

Relax with a friend

Zone out and daydream

Have a snack

Take a shower

Clean your desk or room

Not all breaks are created equal. Checking your phone or social media as a study break has actually been linked to a decrease in performance [ 4 ]. 

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4. Space out your studying.

Cramming can still help you get a good grade on a test, but studies show that you’re much more likely to forget that information as soon as the test is over. Really holding onto the material you learned (and making exam seasons less stressful) requires consistent and well-spaced study sessions.

Instead of saving your studying for before a test, briefly review material you learned once a week. If you are studying for an exam, space out your studying up to several weeks (or even months, depending on the test) leading up to the exam day. This can help you retain the information long term. 

5. Set study goals for each session.

Set study goals for each session of studying you have. These can be time-based or content-based. For example, you might aim to study for two hours, or review three chapters of your textbook—or both.

Don’t be too harsh on yourself if you didn’t get through as much as you had planned; sometimes studying can take longer than expected. Keep taking well-spaced breaks, and schedule another study session.

6. Reward yourself.

Rewarding yourself with treats—“bribing” yourself—has been linked to better self-control, and can be helpful in forming good habits [ 5 ]. Telling yourself you’ll get a small reward if you finish the section you wanted to get through, or perhaps a larger reward if you have a productive day of studying, can be good motivation to get to your goal. 

Small rewards can be a candy bar, a hot drink from your favorite coffee shop, a quick game of your choice, or a short episode of a TV show. Bigger rewards for a long day of studying or getting done with an exam can include getting your favorite meal, spending some time relaxing with friends, or making time for your favorite activity. 

7. Study with a group.

There are several benefits to forming a study group. Group members can help one another work through difficult problems, provide encouragement, hold each other accountable to studying goals, provide different perspectives, and make studying more enjoyable. Even explaining difficult concepts to others can help with comprehension and retention. 

If you have a group study session, set a goal the group will work towards and take periodic breaks as you would studying by yourself.

8. Take practice tests.

Tests and practice tests have been long seen as useful tools to help students learn and retain information. Besides revealing gaps in knowledge and reducing exam anxiety, being tested makes us retrieve information from memory—a powerful, study-backed way of holding onto information we’ve learned [ 6 ].

Don’t have a practice exam? There are several ways you can “test” yourself and gain the same benefits. Try the following methods:

Create flashcards

Write your own questions

Search for practice questions online

Have a friend quiz you

9. Use your own words.

Expressing an idea in your own words increases your understanding of a subject and helps your brain hang on to information. After you read a section of text, summarize important points by paraphrasing. 

10. Ask for help.

You might find yourself stuck on a problem or unable to understand the explanation in a textbook. Somebody who is able to walk through the issue with you might provide the fresh explanation you need. Approach your teacher or professor, teaching assistant, friend, or study group member for new ways to understand what you’re stuck on. Feel like you can benefit from being coached through a subject? Consider looking for a tutor.

And don’t forget the myriad online tools that might be at your disposal, like the Khan Academy . A quick search through Google or YouTube can also surface helpful articles or videos on subjects you’re trying to grasp.

11. Take care of yourself.

At the end of the day, your brain is an organ in your body—take care of it by taking care of yourself. Get regular exercise, eat well, don’t overdrink, get good sleep, and take care of your mental wellbeing. 

Sleep: Studies have linked sleep deprivation to decreased cognitive function, including reduced attention spans and doing worse on tests [ 7 ]. Everybody’s sleep needs are different, but people typically need between seven and eight-and-a-half hours of sleep a night. Plus, getting more sleep can make you happier and benefit your social life.

Food: Try to incorporate more fruits, vegetables, plant sources of proteins, nuts, and unsaturated oils like olive oil into your diet, all of which have been linked to better cognitive performance [ 8 ]. 

Exercise: Exercise brings oxygen to the part of your brain responsible for thought, encourages the development of new nerve cells, and boosts brain cell connections [ 8 ]. This makes for brains that are more neuroplastic and efficient—plus it brings a host of other health benefits, like lower blood pressure, reduced mental stress, and weight control.

Mental wellness: Mental health is important because it helps us deal with stress, improves our relationships with others, allows us to live more meaningfully, and be more productive in our work. Exercising, eating well, and getting good sleep can each boost our mental health. But there are other ways of fortifying mental strength, such as connecting with others, practicing gratitude, meditating, and developing a sense of meaning in life [ 9 ].

Getting started

Forming good habits can be difficult, but starting with small, achievable steps can set you up to have consistent study habits for the rest of your life. Explore more personal development courses from leading universities and institutions on Coursera. Sign up for a free 7-day trial and start learning today.

Looking to get a degree? Knowing what’s out there is a good first step. Take a look at bachelor’s and master’s degrees on Coursera .

Article sources

New York Times. " Forget What You Know About Good Study Habits , https://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/07/health/views/07mind.html." Accessed July 27, 2022.

University of Wollongong Australia. " Is it OK to listen to music while studying? , https://www.uow.edu.au/media/2019/is-it-ok-to-listen-to-music-while-studying.php." Accessed July 27, 2022.

TIME Magazine. " The Exact Perfect Amount of Time to Take a Break, According to Data , https://time.com/3518053/perfect-break/." Accessed July 27, 2022.

Bustle. " A New Study Says Scrolling Through Social Media Doesn’t Actually Give You A Mental Break , https://www.bustle.com/p/taking-a-break-by-looking-at-social-media-doesnt-help-your-mind-reset-a-new-study-says-18682642." Accessed July 27, 2022.

PsychCentral. " The Pscyhology of Rewarding Yourself with Treats , https://psychcentral.com/blog/psychology-rewarding-yourself-with-treats." Accessed July 27, 2022.

KQED. " A Better Way to Study Through Self-Testing and Distributed Practice , https://www.kqed.org/mindshift/49750/a-better-way-to-study-through-self-testing-and-distributed-practice." Accessed July 27, 2022.

Forbes. " New Studies Show What Sleep Loss Does To The Brain And Cognition , https://www.forbes.com/sites/alicegwalton/2019/11/29/new-studies-show-what-sleep-loss-does-to-the-brain-and-cognition/." Accessed July 27, 2022.

Harvard Health Publishing. " 12 ways to keep your brain young , https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/12-ways-to-keep-your-brain-young." Accessed July 27, 2022.

MedlinePlus. " How to Improve Mental Health , https://medlineplus.gov/howtoimprovementalhealth.html." Accessed July 27, 2022.

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Education Corner

10 Study Habits of Highly Effective Students

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The key to becoming an effective student is learning to study smarter, not harder. As you advance in your education, this becomes even more important.

An hour or two of studying a day is usually sufficient to make it through high school with satisfactory grades. But when college arrives, without smart study habits, you can feel like there aren’t enough hours in a day to cover your coursework.

While some students breeze through school with minimal effort, the vast majority of students succeed because they deliberately develop and apply effective study habits.

The following are the top 10 study habits of highly effective students:

10 Study Habits of Highly Effective Students

If you want to become a successful student, don’t get discouraged or give up. Work to develop each of these habits, and you’ll see your grades rise, your knowledge increase, and your ability to learn and assimilate information improve.

1. Don’t attempt to cram all your studying into one session

Are you ever up late at night spending more energy trying to keep your eyelids open than you are studying? If so, it’s time to change your approach.

Research shows that spacing out study sessions over longer periods improves long-term memory . In other words, if you have 4 hours to spend on a subject, it’s better to study it for one hour each for four days than to cram all 4 hours into one.

Likewise, cramming everything right before an exam may probably help you with grades, but it is horrible for your long-term memory retention. Without realizing it, you may be undercutting your learning in the long term.

Successful students typically space their work out over shorter periods and rarely try to cram all their study into just one or two sessions. If you want to become a successful student, you need to learn to be consistent in your studies and have regular, yet shorter, study periods.

2. Plan when you’re going to study

Successful students schedule specific study times throughout the week and stick to them, while those who do not perform as well typically study sporadically and whimsically.

A study schedule can help you plan, break your study load into manageable amounts, and ensure you don’t rush on assignments when following deadlines.

In short, a study plan helps you manage and achieve your learning goals better.

Even if you’re all caught up with your studies, creating a weekly routine, where you set aside some time every few days a week to review your courses, will ensure you develop habits that will enable you to succeed in your long-term education.

3. Study at the same time; be consistent

Not only is it important to plan when you’re going to study, but it’s also essential that you create a consistent, daily study routine.

The power of consistency is well understood in academics. It helps you rely a lot less on intensity – which means fewer late nights or all-nighters and fewer moments of overwhelm and panic, which is a positive for your mental health.

When you study at the same time every day, you develop a habit. You rely less on willpower. Motivation increases, and you’ll be mentally and emotionally prepared for each session. This will improve productivity.

Your schedule may require adjustments from time to time due to unexpected events, and that’s okay, but it is important to get back to your routine as soon as the event has passed.

Here are some strategies to stick to your routine:

  • Prepare a timetable – even if your track record of sticking to timetables is poor, make one. Make it realistic and display it in your place of study. Timetables aid in better time management, which research has shown to have a direct positive impact on academic results .
  • Exercise and meditate – To be consistent in your studies, your health, as well as your mind, must support you. Physical exercise helps you maintain good health and a fresh mind, while meditation helps reduce stress and anxiety .
  • Reward yourself – If you follow your timetable, you deserve a reward. Go outside and enjoy some free time with your friends and family. And when you do it, don’t think about your studies. Rewarding yourself will motivate you to be consistent .
  • Take breaks –  Contrary to popular belief, taking breaks , if they are of the right kind, can increase productivity rather than decrease it. Avoid activities such as scrolling through social media or surfing the internet. Instead, take a short walk, have a healthy snack, or speak with your roommate.

4. Each study time should have a specific goal

Simply studying without direction is not effective. You need to know exactly what you need to accomplish during each study session.

If you observe, most adults around you – from those working in great companies to your favorite athletes and entrepreneurs will have written goals and objectives. Goals dictate their day-to-day activities and how they manage their time.

There is enough research evidence to show a positive correlation between goals and student outcomes . Hence, before you start studying, set a study session goal that supports your overall academic objectives. Here are some best practices:

  • Set optimally challenging goals – your goals must be such that you must push yourself to achieve them, but at the same time, they must not be so hard that they demotivate you.
  • Make your goals specific, measurable, and time-bound – a good example is “Memorize 30 Spanish vocabulary words in 60 minutes to ace the Spanish test.” It’s a good goal because it tells you what exactly to do, how to measure it, and by what time you must complete it. A not-so-good example is “Study Spanish to ace the Spanish test” – this does not tell you what to focus on, the results can’t be properly measured, and you don’t know when to complete this task.
  • Set mastery goals – your goals must focus on deeply understanding concepts and skills. This will help you in your long-term learning journey that extends far beyond your exams and grades. 
  • Define goals positively – How you frame your goal can make a difference. If you word your goal such that it sounds more like a threat rather than a challenge, it may adversely impact your achievement. For example, “I will complete at least 7 out of 10 tasks correctly” is a better goal than “I will not make more than 3 mistakes when attempting 10 tasks”

To understand why goals work, look at the below diagram:

Why goals work

Setting goals clarifies what needs to be done. You know where to focus your attention and effort while avoiding distractions. This clarity encourages you to put in more effort and seek out or develop new strategies for success.

You apply what you know innovatively and learn new methods. Reaching your goal boosts your confidence in your abilities, enhances your motivation, and sets you up for further success.

5. Never procrastinate your planned study session

It’s very easy and common to put off your study session for several reasons – the subject may not be interesting, you may have other things to do, or it may be because the assignment is very hard.

Successful students DO NOT procrastinate when studying.

It is a tough habit to break, particularly when the Internet allows you to escape frustrations with the click of a mouse.

Procrastinating can have negative effects – your study will be much less effective, and you may not accomplish everything you need, which could lead to rushing at the last minute – the number one cause of errors.

It can also affect your mental health by increasing stress and anxiety:

Procrastination and stress

Procrastination can increase stress levels and affect a student’s mental health and well-being.

Procrastination results from the emotional part of your brain taking over the logical side. Your logical brain surrenders when you choose Facebook over work or decide to binge on another Netflix series.

Here is what you can do to give your logical brain the upper hand:

seven procrastination triggers

  • Reverse the trigger: Consider which of the seven triggers your study activity sets off. Then, try to think differently about the task – make the idea of completing it more attractive. For example, if studying history through plain reading can be boring, you can make it interesting by drawing a timeline with important events and characters.
  • Work within your resistance level: Let’s say you have a complicated math problem to solve. To find your resistance level, consider the effort you commit to that task along a scale. For example, could you focus on it for an hour? No, what about 30 minutes? Shorten the amount of time until you find a period with which you’re no longer resistant to the task, and then do it.
  • Do something, anything, to get started : tasks that induce procrastination are rarely as bad as we think. It’s easier to keep going once you have overcome the initial hump of starting it in the first place. Starting a task means you’ll continue to process it, making you more likely to resume the work later.
  • List the costs of procrastination: remind yourself about what it would cost you to postpone something.
  • Disconnect – Put your phone in another room or shut off the Wi-Fi. Cut down the distractions that can stop you from focusing on the task.

6. Start with the most difficult subject first

Your most difficult assignment or subject will require the most effort and mental energy; hence, you should start with it first.

Research has shown that when you are tired, your brain tries to save mental energy to help you make decisions quickly . It tags effort as bad (because it’s hard work), and you are likely to “go with your gut” instead of carefully considering all the available information.

When your focus is not at its best, studying hard subjects can be, well, hard!

But if you complete the most challenging part of your study in a fresh state of mind, completing the more accessible ones later becomes easier. This can significantly improve the effectiveness of your study sessions and your academic performance.

7. Always review your notes before starting an assignment

Research shows that 10 minutes of review for every lecture hour, done within 24 hours of class, dramatically improves recall. Hence, regularly reviewing class notes is one of the most powerful study strategies.

Obviously, before you can review your notes, you must first have notes to review. While there is no single right approach to note-taking, the following are some of the popular ones:

study habits drawing

Cornell method

Split up your paper into three sections (see image). The first aspect requires you to write out notes during class as you hear them. Once class is over, you reread your “Notes” section and add any questions or essential ideas within the “Cues” section.

Once you have filled in these two sections, it is time to write a summary of the lesson that you can refer to study. You will have a stack of neatly organized notes from each lecture by exam time. Learn more about the The Cornell System for taking notes .

Mapping method

Allows a visual representation of your notes in a way that shows the relationships between ideas. Start by jotting down the lecture’s main idea and add subheadings throughout the class. By the end, you should have a main topic with many subheadings and additional notes beneath them.

Sentence method

It is a relatively simple method that requires a main topic followed by notes in sentence or point form. The heading creates some organization while at the same time allowing for freedom.

While these three are time-tested pen-and-paper methods, you can also use electronic devices for note-taking. Apps like Evernote, Microsoft OneNote, or Google Keep can help you stay organized with your note-taking.

Before you start each study session and a particular assignment, review your notes thoroughly to ensure you know how to complete the assignment correctly. This will help you remember important subject matter learned during the day and ensure your studying is targeted and effective.

Learn how to improve your note taking .

8. Make sure you’re not distracted while you’re studying

The negative outcomes of distracted learning have been well documented . It can prolong learning tasks due to the need for reacquaintance with material, induce mental fatigue from constant task-switching, and reduce long-term memory retention.

But everyone gets distracted by something. Maybe it’s the TV, or maybe it’s your family or the very many electronic gadgets that surround you. When you’re distracted, you lose your train of thought and cannot focus, leading to ineffective studying.

Some students cannot study when it’s too quiet. Research has shown that some people study better with a bit of background noise .

You must experiment and identify what surroundings suit you best. Whether it is a quiet cubicle in the recesses of the library or a common area with a bit of background noise, find a place where you won’t be disturbed or distracted.

9. Use study groups effectively

Study groups can help you externalize your thoughts, address procrastination, stimulate study sessions, and maintain accountability. They can be an effective part of your comprehensive study plan.

Working in groups enables you to get help from others when struggling, complete assignments more quickly, and teach others, which is a great way to internalize the subject.

Here are some best practices for forming effective study groups:

  • Limit the group size – in larger groups, it becomes increasingly difficult to keep everyone involved. Typically, 3-5 students can ensure a good functional dynamic.
  • Have a structure – define the goals for every session and stick to them. 
  • Come prepared – it is much easier as a group to help each other if each member comes to the session with a list of questions or topics to discuss.
  • Empower each other – Don’t hesitate to help your fellow classmates. Tutor-tutee relationships are mutually beneficial. Help someone else, and they will help you!
  • Quiz each other – Quizzing each other on facts and concepts is a valuable way to prepare for an exam. This could also mean designing practice tests together.
  • Work independently but together – if you work hard on your own before meeting as a group, your group time will be more rewarding. Groups are your place to experiment, seek help, and share your learning. However, you must develop an independent grasp of concepts to do well in a course.
  • Form friendships – connections can leave you feeling more motivated than ever, making studying enjoyable.

It is also helpful to designate one of the members to facilitate the group. This person will be responsible for scheduling, tracking group progress, and helping the group stay focused. A good way to do this is by designating a “leader of the week” on a rotation basis.

Study groups are not just about meeting right before an exam. To achieve great results, you must meet regularly throughout the semester. Online tools such as Zoom, Teams, and Slack are great ways to connect when you cannot meet in person.

10. Review your notes, schoolwork, and other class materials over the weekend

Successful students review what they’ve learned during the week over the weekend. Research shows that academic success is positively correlated with weekend study time .

But remember, the weekend is just 48 hours, and time flies quickly. So, reflect on your goals and prepare ahead. Here are some tips:

  • Use Friday after school to plan your weekend.
  • Keep a journal – record how you spend your time and where you can improve.
  • Look at it as a time to practice for “real life” – you are totally in charge of your time.
  • Balance your sleep and energy.
  • Budget time for sports and other activities – keep twice the time you think you’ll need.
  • Get ahead of others – wake up early (most don’t). Mornings are a good time to study.

A well-spent weekend can prepare you to continue learning new concepts that build upon previous coursework and knowledge acquired the previous week.

In summary, you can learn the “10 study habits of highly effective students” and consciously apply them to improve the effectiveness of your study. We’re confident that if you develop these habits, you’ll see a significant improvement in your academics.

Similar Posts:

  • Discover Your Learning Style – Comprehensive Guide on Different Learning Styles
  • 35 of the BEST Educational Apps for Teachers (Updated 2024)
  • 15 Learning Theories in Education (A Complete Summary)

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Develop Good Habits

27 Free Study Plan Templates to Edit, Download, and Print

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Looking for a study plan template to improve your academic performance?

Today’s post features a collection of downloadable study plan examples that you can edit and print for personal use. The best part is that they’re all free.

Time management is one of the most challenging aspects of student life. You have your classes to keep track of, and you likely also have extracurricular activities to balance out the academics. You might also have a part-time job. Plus, there’s always your social life to attend to.

A study plan schedule is essential to make sure that you can learn everything in time and master the course material. So if you're not sure HOW this process works, then check out this proven 11-step process to create a study plan that works .

Okay, let's start by talking about the benefits of having a study plan and then we'll dive into the study plan templates you can use.

Table of Contents

The Benefits of Having a Study Plan

Study plans are an effective tool that show you how you spend your time.

You want to make sure that you’re setting aside a sufficient amount of time to study for tests, do your assignments, and complete your projects.

With the rise of online learning, study plans are more important than ever. Using them fosters self-discipline and accountability . It prevents procrastination and helps you develop better study habits , which usually translate to better grades.

To get started, here are three action pads and planner journals that can help you study:

  • BestSelf's Weekly Action Pad
  • Miliko A4 One Semester Study Planner/Organizer
  • PAPERIAN Believe TIME Tracker

And in the following article, you'll find 27 free study plan templates. These work great for students in elementary and middle school, as well as high school and college students, homeschoolers, and those attending online classes.

1. Study Planner with Reading List Template

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Download the PDF

Are you in for week of intensive academic reading? Our very own Study Planner with Reading List template can help you organize your notes and thoughts and prioritize your schedule so you can stay on top of it all.

Use this template for each one of your subjects to write down your goals and important notes and list down all the materials you need to read so you don’t forget anything. This template comes in A4 size.

2. Study Planner and Schedule Template

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If you’re a student who likes to plan out your day in advance, our Study Planner and Schedule template may come in handy. We’ve dedicated spaces for all of your subjects, an hourly schedule, deadlines, study goals, and important notes so you can see your day’s priorities in a glance. This template comes in A4 size.

3. Unit Study Plan

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via Sugar, Spice & Glitter

Given the global situation in recent years, homeschooling has become increasingly popular. In many households, parents have become teachers for children who are forced to stay home and shelter in place.

These parents need tools to organize and keep track of lessons. This template works well for homeschoolers as a tracker for unit studies.

This study plan has a Montessori framework , featuring subjects such as:

  • Practical life

You can easily modify the titles of the boxes if you’re homeschooling but not using the Montessori model.

4. Black and White Study Planner

black and white study planner | monthly study schedule template | study template

via Flipping Pages With Lex

If you’re looking for a black-and-white themed study planner, you might want to give this sample a try. It has five columns featuring Date, Topic, Before, Completed, and After.

This template can be especially helpful if you’re studying chapters or units. It is also applicable for tracking homework and school projects.

5. Let's Study

This template features a minimalist design with a peach background. It comes with checkboxes, making it easier to keep track of your schoolwork.

The template has spaces allocated for Monday to Friday, as well as for the weekend.

If you’re looking for a straightforward template, the uncluttered look of this one might appeal to you.

6. Study Time Table

This timetable shows your schedule for the entire week on one page. It is helpful in reminding you about appointments, exams, or other important academic events.

It features a seven-day calendar, with time slots from 7:00 am to 10:00 pm.

To further help keep track of your schedule, this timetable comes with icons to specify the categories of your activities. Some of these icons include:

There is also space allocated near the bottom of the page for study notes.

7. Harry Potter-Inspired Daily Productivity Planner

If you’re a Harry Potter fan, this productivity planner might appeal to you.

It features spaces for writing down your tasks, and lets you state how much time you’re allocating for a particular task and what particular subject the schedule is for. There is also a progress tracker for each task so you know how far or near it is to completion.

There are also two boxes on the lower half of the page where you can write down reminders and comments.

What really makes this a Harry Potter-themed planner is the quote found on the lower right-hand side of the page. The words of Professor Severus Snape remind this planner’s user that:

“ The mind is not a book to be opened at will and examined at leisure. Thoughts are not etched on the inside of skulls, to be perused by an invader. The mind is a complex and many-layered thing. ”

8. Blue and Yellow Schedule Printable

This printable planner is designed to help older school-age kids keep track of their schoolwork and develop good study habits.

It has a section where the schedule for the day can be written down, with hourly intervals. This is a great way to introduce kids to time blocking, which is a very helpful tool for productivity and organization.

Space is also designated for writing down daily to-dos, such as homework and chores. There are also spaces for a list of specific goals and notes (e.g., reminders and other important information).

9. Printable Student Planner Pages

If you’re looking for a planner that fits into your binder, this template is worth your attention. It contains all the features you need in order to keep track of assignments, upcoming tests, homework and project deadlines, and school activities.

There is sufficient space to write things down without forcing yourself to use very tiny letters. The planner pages are also undated, giving you flexibility when it comes to organizing your study schedule.

10. Weekly Assignments Printable

Need something to help you prioritize and keep track of assignments from different classes? This printable template is the perfect solution.

To help organize your weekly class assignments, this printable is divided into three major sections.

The first section features sufficient space for listing all your assignments from different classes. This section lets you identify assignments for specific classes and their due dates. If you’re done with an assignment, you can put a mark in the checkbox next to each item.

The template’s second section features a reminder box. Finally, the third section is a mini-calendar with boxes assigned for each day of the week. Here, you can write down important dates so you don’t miss a single deadline.

11. Study Session Planner

Exams coming up? Need a system to help boost your grades this semester?

This planner can help you out with clear-cut guidelines for an effective study routine. It’s full of features that not only enhance your productivity, but also ensure you develop solid study habits that you can use beyond your academic life.

This planner starts off with a checklist of things you need to prepare prior to studying, such as clearing your desk, ensuring that you’ll have minimal distractions, preparing study snacks, and finding music to help you concentrate.

It has space allocated for a list of your tasks, a hydration tracker (because being dehydrated makes it difficult to concentrate), and time management tracking (a Pomodoro ratio and procrastination list). Spaces are also designated to note post-study treats, achievements, and reflections.

12. Today’s Study Session Planner

This template is perfect if you’re looking for a planner to help you focus on studying for a particular subject. It features sections for listing three priorities during the session, topics to study (with checkboxes you can tick once done), and your goals for the day. There are also spaces dedicated for writing notes and indicating the total time studied. Finally, a mini-chart lets you track the number of study breaks taken during a session.

13. Homework Planner Pack

Perhaps you’re getting overwhelmed with the amount of homework and assignments given at school. This homework planner can be used for any grade level to help students organize their schedules, develop good study habits, and meet homework deadlines.

It features ample space where you can list all the upcoming homework, projects, and tests you have for the week, as well as a section where you can indicate due dates and dates of completion. This template comes in three different designs.

14. Pink Study Planner

If you’re looking for a planner that helps monitor your study hours and progress, here’s one that you might want to try. It has a pink theme with spaces assigned for the following:

  • Study progress
  • Study hours (expected and actual)
  • Today’s subject

To get good results in your study goals, make sure to use your planner consistently to organize and remind you about your schoolwork.

15. Study Timetable

A study timetable like this one can be a major lifesaver for students. It helps set routines that save energy and prevent stress when it comes to taking care of schoolwork.

This timetable is in landscape format with a Monday start and has spaces for plotting out your study schedule and other activities from 8:00 am to 10:00 pm.

16. Student Planner Pack

This student planner pack has everything you need to hone your good study habits. The pack contains eight types of study planners that keep you motivated, organized, and productive, whether you’re in high school at university.

These planners can be printed out in A4, A5, or letter size.

Some of the templates you’ll get in the pack include:

  • Weekly timetable
  • Assignment tracker
  • Goal-setting
  • Reading list

17. Printable Study Pack

Here is another study plan pack with 10 different planners to help streamline your studies and other academic activities.

The planners are undated for continuous use and feature a simple and elegant design so as not to distract the user from focusing on their studies. The following are included in the pack:

  • Daily, weekly, and monthly study planners
  • 10-minute planner
  • Study plan worksheet
  • Study session tracker
  • Subject and chapter summary worksheets
  • Priority breakdown worksheet

These planners and worksheets are in landscape format and are downloadable in A4 size.

18. College Student Study Planner Printables

College life can be overwhelming. This set of planner printables is designed to give your academic schedule structure that minimizes overwhelm and increases success.

Some of the templates that will help you succeed include:

  • Study planner
  • Study checklist
  • Project planner
  • Exam timetable
  • Semester overview
  • Weekly and monthly calendars

19. The Ultimate College Planner

This set of templates has everything you need to stay on top of your academic life. Designed for college students, this set offers colorful templates and organizers for the following purposes:

  • Setting goals
  • Organizing class and extracurricular schedules
  • Improving study habits
  • Keeping track of important dates

Signing up for the newsletter gives you access to this printable planner set.

20. Charlotte Mason Homeschooling Planner

Homeschooling usually has a less rigid schedule than conventional education. However, a homeschooling schedule still needs structure so that homeschoolers can maximize their learning.

This homeschooling planner follows the Charlotte Mason methodology and provides ample space for planning out and organizing an entire year of homeschool.

The planner contains calendars, schedule charts that are especially useful for plotting out a study schedule, weekly spreads, subject notes, and more.

21. Exam Revision Planner

Studying for an exam? Here’s a planner that will help you ace that test.

This planner ensures that you are well-prepared for the exam by letting you break down everything that you need to study into manageable bits.

The PDF template comes in A4 size, which is downloadable in pink, purple, blue, gray, and black & white.

22. Minimalist Unit Study Planner

This template set helps you gain a deeper understanding of a topic/lesson, whether you’re studying or teaching it. It can be used in both homeschooling and conventional education environments to help explore a subject matter from different angles.

23. Semester Study Planner Template

This eight-page planner set is ideal if you’re looking for templates to help you organize your schedule and track your academic progress. It also comes with templates for time management.

The set has a teal color scheme, with features such as:

  • Syllabus study planner
  • Pomodoro planner
  • Checklist for getting organized
  • Concept confidence tracker

24. Undated Hourly Five-Day Study Planner

Keep track of your time and manage it well with these planners. You can add in the categories of your choice for your schedule (e.g., work, class, study area, etc.).

A 10-minute planner is found on the bottom half of the page to give you an overview of how you utilize your time each day. The planners come in five different colors, as well as in black & white.

25. Productive Academic Life

This study planner allows you to plot out your schedule for the day and specify the date and the day of the week.

There are spaces for you to write down the following:

26. Editable Student Planning Binder

This planner binder is designed especially for young students. It allows them to have a central place for assignments and other essential documents in class.

Some of the templates included in the 49-page binder are:

  • Study goals
  • Notes for the week
  • Important reminders
  • Weekly study planner

27. Daily Study Planner

This daily study planner helps manage daily schedules to maximize your study hours. In addition to the date, you can write your study time goal in hours and minutes, as well as the actual duration of time you spent studying.

It also features space for listing down tasks, with a column alongside each task where you can specify the amount of time (in hours and minutes) you need to complete it.

A time table is also provided, as well as spaces for indicating the subject/chapter/topic/ being studied, study materials, and some notes.

Final Thoughts About Using a Study Plan Template

There you have it—a collection of study plan samples to help you this school year.

So pick one that will best match your needs.

Keep in mind that, in order to reach your academic goals, it’s not just about filling out a student planner. It also involves your commitment to better study habits and embracing a time-management strategy that works for you.

When you have all these, you’ll be set to survive the semester. You may even have a more stellar academic performance.

If you need further resources about study plans and other tools to help in your academic life, check out the following posts:

  • The Study Plan Schedule Strategy (That Actually Works!)
  • 11 Good Study Habits to Better Understand Your Lessons
  • 9 Best Study & Academic Planners for Students
  • 14 Best Books on Learning and Building Great Study Habits
  • 20 Self-Education Habits to Educate Yourself on Anything

Never stop learning!

Finally, if you want to level up your productivity and time management skills, then watch this free video about the 9 productivity habits you can build at work .

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  1. How to Develop Effective Study Habits: A Step-by-Step Guide for

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  2. How to Develop Effective Study Habits: A Step-by-Step Guide for

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VIDEO

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COMMENTS

  1. How to Create Good Study Habits for Exams (with Pictures)

    6. Create a study plan. Make a timetable for exam days by marking the dates on the calendar in your planner, calendar, or notebook. [8] Work backward to plan how you will study for the exam. For example, designate the days you want to focus on that subject, and which sections you will review each day.

  2. How To Build A Habit of Sketching Daily

    Planning a Schedule. You should start by setting aside a time to draw every day. This might be 30 minutes or it might be 4 hours (or more). The point is to stick with this time every single day to never avoid drawing. You might have some days where you can't make the time because of an unforeseen circumstance.

  3. How To Practice Drawing Effectively (+ Beginner Exercises!)

    Here are seven drawing practice exercises you can take up to deliberately improve your skills. 1. Repeat An Image Over And Over. This activity involves choosing a single image or object and drawing it many times over with an ever-decreasing time limit. Step 1: Find a picture and draw it on a piece of paper.

  4. Can Drawing Improve Your Study Habits?

    Benefits of Drawing. Drawing can be an extremely helpful tool in improving your study habits. It can help with focus, recall and organization, enhancing your study sessions and helping you remember information better. Studies have shown that drawing can help us learn better, both visually and mentally.

  5. How To Make Drawing a Habit That Sticks (In 5 Steps)

    2- Visualize Yourself Drawing. Now that you have picked a habit you do every day without exception, you need your brain to familiarize it with starting to draw. But that's easier said than done. To do it, you need to use the tool provided by the studies: Applying procedural memory visualizations.

  6. How To Create A Drawing Habit

    A daily drawing habit is important to build your skills. Habits have 4 loops: a cue, craving, response, and reward. The cue must be obvious, cravings attractive, response easy, and the reward satisfying. Make drawing as easy as possible by placing your sketchbook close by. Carve out time in your calendar for you time.

  7. Drawing Basics: Learn 10 New Habits

    10 Drawing Habits for Beginning Artists The artist's example using hatching and intermittent lines. 1. Draw frequently so that drawing becomes instinctive. 2. Start with a five-minute drawing. 3. Carry a small sketchbook with you all the time. 4. Indulge yourself! Give yourself the space and time to draw what you enjoy. 5.

  8. Beginners Guide to a Sketchbook Practice: 7 Day Daily Drawing Habit

    Start a daily creative habit with a 7 day drawing challenge. This class is designed to help you begin a sustainable, long-lived daily creative habit to build your artist endurance for a career as a professional artist. You'll learn specific tips for keeping up with a daily art practice and follow along with 7 daily prompts meant to get your ...

  9. Boosting Students' Memory Through Drawing

    It's long been known that drawing something helps a person remember it. A new study shows that drawing is superior to activities such as reading or writing because it forces the person to process information in multiple ways: visually, kinesthetically, and semantically. Across a series of experiments, researchers found drawing information to be a powerful way to boost memory, increasing ...

  10. The Drawing Habit

    Here's how a habit works: there's a cue - something that triggers the habit. It could be a time or a place like the living room after dinner, or something that happens like your phone going off. Then there's the action, the thing you do, like watching TV or, for us hopefully, drawing. Then there's the reward, like relaxing, feeling ...

  11. 5 Tips that Helped me Build an almost Daily Drawing Habit

    5. Keep your sketchbook somewhere obvious so you're reminded to draw throughout the day. A great piece of advice I learned from "Atomic Habits" by James Clear to promote a positive habit is to make the action more obvious and attractive. One way I apply this principle is to take out my sketchbook from my backpack and flip through to a ...

  12. 27 Good Study Habits of Straight-A Students

    Good Study Habits. 1. Time Management. Time management refers to being able to efficiently allocate your time so you don't run out of time, and so you have enough time to allocate to all important tasks. As a basis, you could initiate a dedicated study schedule, specifying the time slots for each subject.

  13. Study Hall: A Daily Drawing Habit

    In Sketchbook Skool, we love to make art. But how do you make it a habit to do it every day? With the busy lives we all lead, it's not always easy to make ti...

  14. 15 Sketching Tips and 50 Pencil Sketches for Inspiration

    12. Draw Quickly. While improving your drawing may seem like something that takes hours and hours, illustrator Ohn Mar Win advocates the opposite approach. "It may sound odd but committing to sketch in three-minute bursts takes away some of the pressure and overwhelm associated with producing drawings," she says.

  15. PDF Preparing for Finals: 11 Uncommon Study Habits of Straight-A Students

    "Search 'study music'," says Marissa Hu, co-founder and CEO of Co-Ed Supply. "There are thousands of different videos with music that are meant to calm you without distraction."Hu explains that music can even positively affect and help with remembering specific things. This sounds like a necessity for someone who is studying for finals.

  16. 8 Evidence-Based Study Habits: What Research Says Works

    8 general effective study habits to boost your grades. Adopt the right study mindset. Know the class expectations. Choose an effective study location. Have the right study materials. Use helpful ...

  17. The Comprehensive Guide to Creating Effective Study Habits

    Effective study habits promote better time management skills. By organizing your study sessions and adhering to a schedule, you'll be able to optimize your time and maximize productivity. Effective study habits enhance retention and comprehension. Techniques such as active learning, practicing regularly, and reviewing material consistently ...

  18. 15 Most Effective Study Habits and Techniques

    Nicolas Moore Growth Mindset Expert. TABLE OF CONTENTS. 15 effective study habits and techniques. #1. find your perfect study spot. #2. break it down. #3. the power of active learning. #4. timing is everything. #5. ditch the distractions. #6. make your notes work for you.

  19. 11 Good Study Habits to Develop

    Here are 11 tips to improve your study habits: Find a good place to study. Minimize distractions. Take breaks. Space out your studying. Set study goals for each session. Reward yourself. Study with a group. Take practice tests. Use your own words. Ask for help. Take care of yourself. Let's take a closer look at how you can implement each of ...

  20. 245 Study Habits Cartoon Stock Photos & High-Res Pictures

    nerd using smartphone and sitting in house mailbox. of 4. Browse Getty Images' premium collection of high-quality, authentic Study Habits Cartoon stock photos, royalty-free images, and pictures. Study Habits Cartoon stock photos are available in a variety of sizes and formats to fit your needs.

  21. 10 Study Habits of Highly Effective Students

    5. Never procrastinate your planned study session. It's very easy and common to put off your study session for several reasons - the subject may not be interesting, you may have other things to do, or it may be because the assignment is very hard. Successful students DO NOT procrastinate when studying.

  22. 27 Free Study Plan Templates to Edit, Download, and Print

    And in the following article, you'll find 27 free study plan templates. These work great for students in elementary and middle school, as well as high school and college students, homeschoolers, and those attending online classes. 1. Study Planner with Reading List Template. Download the PDF.

  23. (PDF) THE LEARNERS' STUDY HABITS AND ITS RELATION ON ...

    conducting study groups that students perform. frequently, and regularly accomplishing the. learning goals. It can be defined as effective or. counterproductive based onwhetherit serves the ...