Don’t fall for passive studying!

This morning while my boyfriend and I were having our morning coffee we realized this: “Go away, I’m reading…Star Wars” so of course I had to share!

This morning I was also doing some last minute studying for my exam today. I was talking to my boyfriend, watching  TV, and looking over my notes. In my head I was absorbing some of the information. When in truth, once I left for my class, that morning “study sesh” did nothing.


There is a huge difference in passive and active studying.

To really absorb information when you study, being 100% focused is crucial. Putting all of your distractions away, being in a quiet place, and having all of the resources you need are necessities to actually learning the material. Now don’t get me wrong, I do my assignments and problem sets and all that jazz with music or while watching TV. When you really need to study though, these all just serve as distractions.

Here are some study tips I have for active studying:

  • The first and most obvious is to put your phone away from you. If you have a mac where your text messages pop up on your computer, turn off your notifications while you study. You never realize how distracted you are, until you choose to start studying without it!
  • Invest in highlighters and colored pens. Professors throw loads of information at you each lecture, some of my lectures consist of 30+ slides in 50 minutes and they are loaded with concepts and vocab that are essential for doing well in the course. What has been most useful for me is highlighting and underlining the important concepts and using these as a template for studying. Instead of reading straight from the slides and hoping I’ll remember it all, I will take a concept or main point and make a list of everything I think is important to know about it. Now instead of having to remember 4-5 slides on a particular topic, you have a short list and it does the same justice!
  • Get your brain working, just reading over the material in my eyes is still passively studying. To really retain the information, you have to test yourself. When studying for an important exam I’ll put all my notes away and just leave out one piece of paper. I take a concept, main idea, or even a vocab word and write everything I know about it. After I’ve written every possible thing I can remember, I’ll then go back and see what I have missed and what I still need to study. This lets me see what I know and where I need to improve. Also this works great for working out problems without formulas or even drawing diagrams, drawing it out on my own always helps me learn!
  • Lastly, make sure to take breaks. Active studying does not last for hours at a time. If you really want to get the most out of your time taking breaks are very helpful. I usually study in increments of 25 minutes. I will put every distraction away and put all of my focus into my work for 25 minutes. When the time is up, I’ll play on my phone or text people back or whatever I have to do for the next 10 minutes. Don’t feel guilty for taking a few minutes to give your brain a break. The last thing you want to do is completely burn out! I promise you can do it, Kyrie believes in you!

Good luck with your upcoming exams and remember to stay ACTIVE in your studying!

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