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4 Tips to Level Up Your Study Skills

Ever struggle to focus while studying? Try these tips to take your studies to the next level


One of the most powerful sounds in the world is a cell phone notification. That one small “ping” has the power to make you stop what you are doing and think about something else entirely!

girl holding phone
Avoiding distractions will help you get the most out of your study time.

Avoiding distractions — like that pesky phone — will help you get the most out of your study time and succeed in your courses. Try these four simple tips the next time you sit down to study and find your mind wandering.

1. Identify common distractions

When you feel yourself getting distracted, take a break to reflect and write down what’s distracting you so you can avoid it in the future.

However, some distractions are difficult to escape, such as stress or anxiety about personal challenges. If this is the case, take a moment to work through these feelings by journaling or talking to someone you can trust. This can help to de-escalate stress and free your mind to focus on what you need to accomplish.

2. Set aside study time — without distractions

Student Studying
Write down distractions you want to avoid in the future.

Imagine this: You sit down to study — ready to rock that math problem or that writing assignment — and your spouse starts clanging pans to make dinner and the kids are blasting a television show in the next room. Does this sound less imaginary and more like reality to you?

Many BYU-Pathway Worldwide students are balancing the needs of family with their studies. You might let family or roommates know when you plan to study and ask them to keep the house quiet. However, if you’re a parent of young children, it might not be that simple. Instead, you could ask a spouse or friend to take the children outside, or you could try studying while your children are napping or asleep. It will be a learning process, but you can discover what works best for you and your family!

3. Prepare for your studies the night before

Have you ever sat down to study and then stopped to organize your study space for 20 minutes? If you can relate, consider setting up what you need for studying the night before. If you study somewhere other than home, it might be helpful to pack a bag with everything you'll need the night before: notebooks, study materials, water, even a healthy snack! Then, the next day, you can begin working without hesitation.

It’s also helpful to organize not only your physical working space, but also your “to-do” list. Knowing what you need to accomplish the next day will help you have a clear purpose.

4. Try the Pomodoro technique

The Pomodoro technique
Try including planned study breaks.

The Pomodoro technique requires that you study for 25 minutes and then take a five minute break. After four rounds of this, you can treat yourself to a 20 minute break! (So 25-5-25-5-25-5-25-20.) If you find yourself losing focus easily, try this technique. Many students study more efficiently if they know how long they have to work until they get a break.

Studying can be hard — especially if it’s for long periods of time — but applying these four tips will help you take your studies to the next level!