Effective Study Techniques

Registered psychologist and school counsellor, Kate Plumb takes us through her key tips for effective study. Avoid the curse of the distractobeast, and take this super helpful advice to help you make the most of your study time.

By Kate Plumb

Study. It is something you can’t avoid and if you have plans to go to uni, study is likely to be a big part of your life for the next few years. If you need to, take a minute to come to terms with that fact.

Breathe in….

breathe out…


Feeling better? Good. Let’s have a look at what’s new in study techniques so you can study smarter not harder.


Being a teenager, you may have noticed that you seem to have a full timetable as you manage your time between school, sports, leisure and tutoring and maybe you even have a part-time job as well. Time is of the essence and ensuring you have access to a study space that is organised will reduce the time spent messing around trying to gather all of your stuff to start studying. Talk to your folks about setting up a study space, even if it is the family dining room table. Having a designated space will mean you aren’t wasting time better spent hitting the books. This link gives you more details on how your parents can help you get organised for study.

It’s All Cognitive

Using tried and tested cognitive skills to maximise the impact of study has been around for ages. Psychologists have known about these processes for a very long time and now they have been applied to enhance the effectiveness of study. Understanding how your brain learns is important, so too is knowing how the brain (doesn’t) function(s) under stress, and knowing the roles and responsibilities of the types of memory are also good to know. Thankfully there is no need for you to do more study on this topic yourself because I have done it for you. You can check out the info here, here, here.

The Curse of the Distractobeast

There is no doubt about it, debate rages amongst most humans alive today about the curse or benefit of the smart device. Having the entire repository or anything that we ever need know at your fingertips is a potent weapon in the battle for supremacy. So too is everything else you could possibly do instead of study available to you instantaneously. But while you need to concentrate on study, the notifications keep coming in, leading to reduced concentration, lowering of motivation and temporary amnesia regarding the task at hand …what am I doing again?

My point here isn’t that phones are to blame for any and all that can impact on study. My point is the impact of distractions (no matter what they are) on productivity is well-documented and something we have all experienced most days of our lives. Multitasking is a busted myth that has shown time and time again that so much is compromised when we try and do more than one thing at a time. Put. The Phone. Down. At least while you’re studying.

Take home message

The study journey can have it’s bumps and roadblocks but managing your time effectively. Developing effective ways to study through accessing a distraction free organised space and understanding the best way to hack learning through knowing how the brain works is the most direct route to efficient and effective study habits.

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