How to Study Effectively

A few weeks ago I began planning a study tips class for teens. Students do not always know how to learn on their own, complete homework quickly, and study for tests. Sometimes what they are doing works and leads to good results, but sometimes how they study does not lead to deep learning. In this post, I offer some tips for ways teens can study more effectively.

The goal of every homework or study session is to get it done with a minimum of wasted effort.

Before Your Start

Identify how you feel about the material or subject you are about to study. Our emotions play a role in how we learn. Negative feelings about a topic can lead to stifled learning, while positive feelings about a class can lead to more focused work. It is okay to acknowledge that a class is challenging, but keep your self from thinking you are terrible at it or that you lack the ability to comprehend the material. Effort and struggle are part of learning and lead to greater understanding.

Gather Materials & Find a Quiet Spot

Identify all the material, readings, videos, notes, and quizzes, related to the class you are studying for. Once you have everything, find a quiet place to study and set your phone to “Do Not Disturb”. If you are very distracted by your phone set it down in another room. Your study environment will determine how long you are able to stay focused. Remember that the goal of studying to get it done with a minimum of wasted effort. Find a place to work that helps you stay focused.

Active Study Tips

  • Write notes in your own words.
  • Summarize ideas and concepts
  • Create flashcards to memorize facts, formulas, dates..etc
  • Test yourself to identify what you don’t know.
  • Explain ideas and problem solutions out loud.
  • Find a study partner.

The best way to review material is by testing yourself, so that you keep having to recall the material and you are making mistakes and correcting them along the way.


If after dedicating time to studying, you are still not satisfied with your learning, reflect on how you are studying.

  • Are you sitting on the coach watching Netflix and rereading your notes?
  • Are you cramming all your homework and studying to one session?
  • Are you working extra problem sets for math or science?
  • Have you talked to your teacher?
  • Have you sought out extra help? a study partner?
  • Are you trying active study techniques?
  • Have you found a quiet place to study?

Learning how to study is really about finding active ways of studying that work for you. Be mindful of your thoughts about a subject because they affect how you approach that subject. Find an environment that helps you get your homework done quickly. Take time to reflect on how you are studying, if it’s not working try something else and ask for help. Sometimes finding a study partner can make all the difference.


Published by

Maria Arana

Hi, I am Maria, a mom to three wonderful kiddos. My family and I live in Phoenix, Arizona. We love the beauty of the desert southwest. I am a former primary teacher and elementary math coach. I love to encourage my children to follow their interests and passions. At Guided Learning Studio, I offer private personalized lessons and enrichment classes. Tutoring services are best for families seeking long-term educational support over a semester or school-year.

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