Kingsgrove North High School

To Learn, Achieve and Lead

Telephone02 9502 3933

Study habits

Successful students have good study habits that help prepare them for upcoming exams and manage their stress during their HSC (High School Certificate). Below are 12 study habits that you should work on developing if you don't already have them.

Gain control of your study space

Finding a good spot to study is crucial when endeavouring to study effectively. You should feel comfortable so that studying is more enjoyable, so if you hate sitting at a table in the library, then find somewhere more pleasant. Ensure that the place where you study is free from distractions and relatively quiet.

Study smarter

To study both more effectively and efficiently, it is important that you experiment and discover which study techniques work the best for you. You may also choose to utilise a range of study techniques, depending on what suits best for each subject.

Some strategies may include:

  • highlighting the most important points in the body of the text, so that you can spot them more easily when you review the material.
  • writing study notes in your own words. That way you can think about it in your own terms instead of textbook language.
  • making flash cards where you place a question, term, or idea on one side and have the other side contain the answer.
  • making associations. The most effective way to retain information is to tie it to existing information that's already lodged in your mind.
  • breaking things into smaller sections. This helps you learn the information bit by bit instead of trying to understand everything at once. You can group things by topic, keywords, or any other method that makes sense to you.

Manage your time

Make a weekly schedule and devote a certain amount of time per day to studying. Your amount of study time will vary depending on afterschool commitments, such as training and work. However, making a weekly schedule will allow you to account for these commitments and schedule your time more effectively. When making your study schedule, make it as realistic as possible and be sure to set achievable goals.

Endeavour to stick to your schedule as much as possible, but don't feel bad if things don't always go to plan. Sometimes things happen that are out of your control, but it's how you "get back on the horse" (so to speak) that will matter the most.

Set specific goals for when you sit down to study

Setting goals will help you to stay focused and monitor your progress. Simply sitting down to study has little value. You must be very clear about what you want to accomplish during your study time. Is there a specific formula that you need to know? Is there a certain concept that you need to understand and more.

Take a break when it's needed

It's not feasible to study effectively for hours on end. It is much more worthwhile studying for 40 minutes, and then taking a 5-minute break, as opposed to forcing your tired and fidgety self to sit there for the whole hour while you're unable to focus. Taking short breaks in between your study sessions will also help to restore your mental energy, and help you stay focused and better absorb the information being learnt.

During your break, you might choose to:

  • do something physically active to get your blood flowing and make you more alert. Do just enough to get yourself pumped, but not worn out.
  • go get a healthy snack
  • take the time to talk to someone.


Study time is any time during which you are doing something related to school work. It can be where you choose to complete assigned readings, work on assessment tasks, study for a test, or write those study notes. Schedule specific times throughout the week to study and if possible, attempt to study at the same time. This will help to establish a routine so that when a scheduled study session comes up during the day, you will be mentally prepared to begin studying.

Be organised

To successfully study for an exam or test, all your notes need to be organised in a way that suits you and is easily accessible and understandable. Keep tab dividers to separate your notes for each subject in your folders, if you prefer to use separate books, have one for each subject. You may also choose to colour code your notes based on what you already know, what you have semi grasped, and what you have yet to learn.

Keep distractions at bay

Phones, televisions, iPods, gaming consoles etc., can all be pretty enticing when it comes time to study. How often have you said to yourself that you'll simply spend 5 minutes scrolling through social media, only to have spent much, much longer than that? To combat this, make sure that your study space is free from anything that may distract you. This might mean putting your phone on charge in another room, or switching it off all together. It might also mean studying in your room so that you won't be distracted by the TV in the lounge etc.

Collaborate with your peers

Ask your peers for assistance when you have difficulty completing homework or assessment tasks. It may simply be a case of "two heads being better than one" and will help you manage any unnecessary stress.

Also, it is important to recognise that everyone studies differently. Some people prefer to study independently, whereas others prefer to work as part of a group. If you learn better when working collaboratively, make a study group. Get 3-4 friends or peers together and share your study notes amongst yourselves. Quiz each other on certain concepts, and if anyone is unclear on a concept, take turns explaining them to each other as being able to teach someone a particular concept is one of the best ways to ensure that you know the content yourself. Divide concepts amongst the members and have each member teach or explain the concept to the rest of the group. You may choose to together weekly and spend each study session covering a new topic - that way you study throughout the semester instead of just at the end.

Get enough sleep

Make time in your schedule to get enough sleep as getting a good night's sleep will help you to be more attentive in class. Studies have shown that sleep positively impacts test taking by improving memory and attentiveness. Staying up all night studying may sound like a good idea, but skip the all-night cram session. If you study throughout the weeks, you won't need to cram anyway.

Note taking

When in class, it is imperative that you are taking the best possible notes. This doesn't mean going for neatness or writing everything in complete sentences - it simply means placing a greater focus on recording noteworthy pieces of information that get mentioned during class discussions/ when the teacher is talking.

When taking notes in class:

  • use abbreviations. This helps you so that you can quickly jot down words without spelling anything out.
  • ask questions as they pop into your brain, or make a contribution to the class discussion. Another way to question or make a connection is to jot it in the margin of your notes. You can look the question up when you get home, or you can piece together the connection when you are studying that day.

During your learning centre period, or when you get home at the end of the day, rewrite your notes while the material is fresh in your mind. The process of rewriting your notes is a more active approach to studying, as it makes your mind engage with the information, and re-writing your notes while the knowledge is fresh will allow you to fill in any gaps completely from memory. Some people type their notes, but others find that handwriting enhances their ability to remember the notes.

Know how you learn

Knowing your preferred learning style (how you learn) is the best way to study effectively. There are 3 main learning styles – which one are you:

  • Auditory learner – learn best when information is presented in a spoken format. Do you seem to learn best in classes that emphasise teacher lectures and class discussions? Do you find yourself reading aloud or talking things out to gain a better understanding?
  • Visual learner – learn best when information is presented in a written format or other visual formats, such as pictures or diagrams. Do you learn best in classes in which teachers do a lot of writing on the board, provide clear handouts, and use overheads? Do you create mind maps to draw links between concepts? Colour code information?
  • Tactile/kinaesthetic learner – learn best in hands on learning settings in which they can physically manipulate something in order to learn about it. Do you do well in classes where there is a practical component?