Excellent students are made, not born.  Though school might come more easily to some than it does to others, most students achieve success through the implementation of simple, yet consistent study techniques.   If you want to be a better student and improve your study skills just stick with it, try hard, and use the techniques detailed below.  Your grades and your ability to understand and apply information will both improve.

1. Have shorter study sessions

Long study sessions are less effective than shorter, consistent ones.  There is only so much information that your brain can take in at one time.  Cramming for hours right before the test will result in frustration and poor grades.  Shorter sessions allow your mind to be fresh, making learning easier.

2. Plan out your study time

If you fail to schedule study time it is unlikely that you will actually study.  Set time aside for your studies, and write out those times in a calendar or planner.  Follow through with you schedule consistently and watch your grades improve.

3. Have a daily study session

Set aside the same time every day to study.  Figure out what time of day is best for you and study every day at that time.  This makes study a part of your daily routine and allows your mind to be focused and prepared, making the most your study time.

4. Set goals for your study sessions

Specific goals will make your study time more effective.  If you know what you want to learn and achieve during the time you have set aside, you can be better focused.  Make sure that your goal for the study session is in line with your overall goals for your courses.  With this focus you ensure that your time is spent furthering your goals.

5. Don’t ever put off study time

Procrastination is the mortal enemy of academic success.  Most studying that is put off is never done, and when it is done, it turns in to cramming.  There are going to be times when you do not want to study.  Do it anyway.  Your future success is more important than momentary distractions.

6. Begin with the subject that is most difficult for you

The more difficult the work, the more energy and effort it will take to comprehend and complete it.  After the strenuous assignments are completed you will be able to complete the simple assignments easily, and with more focus.

7. Before you begin working, go back over your notes

For this to be most effective you must have first taken good notes during your studies and lectures.  The start of a study session is a good time to go over them, highlight specific points as needed, and try to better organize them if possible.  Reviewing your notes not only helps you to remember needed information, but it also ensures that you will complete your assignments according to your professor’s instructions.

8. Study at a time and place where you will not be disturbed

Being undisturbed allows you to fully concentrate with no distractions.  When study time is interrupted you often have to go back over things more than once.  Make the most of your study sessions by minimising distractions and disturbances.  Lock the door or go to the library and turn off your cell phone.

9. Organize a study group

Study groups can be an excellent study strategy, as long as they are used effectively.  Study groups allow you to better understand information by teaching it to others, to get help with the concepts that you don’t fully grasp, and to get your assignments done in a shorter amount of time.  They must be organized to be effective though.  Make sure that everyone comes prepared and that the group has a specific study goal.

10. Use the weekend for extra review

Don’t forget about your school work over the weekend.  Use weekend study times to review what you have learned that week and to get ready for the week ahead.  Make sure that you understand what you have studied so far so that you can build on it in the week to come.

These ten tips will put you on the road to being a highly effective student with excellent grades.