How to Develop Good Study Habits (During a Pandemic)

Studying for midterms is always stressful, but adding a pandemic to the mix can make it seem nearly impossible. With the new world we live in, there are new ways to effectively study.

  1. 1. Grab a Whiteboard.

    Using a planner is helpful, but having a large visual in front of you is even better! Planning out your whole month on a larger whiteboard allows you to see when things are due, and when you should start doing them. When you have everything written down, you can take a breath of fresh air! It always feels like you have a ton of work to do, but being able to visually see when they are due really helps. 

  2. 2. Create a Plan for Papers.

    To-do, list, paper, pen, journal

    For something like a paper, looking at a blank white page is daunting. Instead, come up with a plan that breaks down the paper into smaller pieces. On day 1, start with brainstorming. This can be as easy as just piling word vomit onto a page. On day 2, try and find any patterns you see on your brainstorm page. From there, you will be able to create an outline. On day 3, try and get a solid draft done. By spacing out and breaking down your papers, each task seems less daunting. When you do this, it doesn’t take up your whole day!

  3. 3. Study Buddies.

    With COVID, it can be really hard to find people in classes to study with. Instead of trying to find people in the same class, study with people you know! Even if you aren’t in the same classes, being near someone else studying is super helpful. When someone wants to take a break, they can quiz you on your own class.

  4. 4. Have a Good Study Space.

    Co-workers working together on a project

    The environment where you study is super important. Some people need it quiet, others need music. Whatever it may be, make sure it works for you. Have a bottle of water ready, prepare some coffee, and have a snack on standby. That way you can get a solid study session done without really needing to stop for short breaks. If you need some places to study, the Boulder Library is open and beautiful! The cafes on Pearl Street are also conducive to studying and always have good coffee.

  5. 5. Communicate with Your Professors.

    We are living in strange times, and the professors know that! If you are struggling in a class, worried about making deadlines, or just need to update them on any issues you may have, reach out to them! Chances are they will be more than willing to accommodate you and your circumstance. When you show that you care about the class and are engaged, professors are much more likely to work with you (same goes with TA’s).

  6. 6. Handwrite Your Notes.

    Person sitting on grass writing in journal

    Even if you like to type your notes, writing them down helps to memorize them better. This type of studying doesn’t require a lot of active brainpower, but the information that you write down stays in your brain better than when you just type down notes.

  7. 7. Read Out Loud.

    two women speaking to each other

    Reading your notes or papers is another way to internalize what you’re learning. You have to slow down to read out loud, and when you do this, your brain processes both what you’re reading as well as what you are saying. 

  8. 8. Bounce from Topic to Topic.

    Don’t stay on one topic for five hours. Instead, give yourself smaller tasks from different classes, and complete one small task at a time. This way you aren’t bogging yourself down.

  9. 9. If You Have to Pull an All-Nighter…

    If you have work that needs to be done and it will require a solid all-nighter, there are some things you can do to help the process. First, try and keep the room cool; warmer rooms can make people sleepy. Also, try to keep a window open to allow some fresh air in. Make sure you are taking some breaks, whether it be to eat or talk to a roommate for five minutes. Try and keep phone breaks to a minimum, as those can turn in thirty-minute breaks pretty quick! Most importantly, make sure to double-check everything before you turn anything in. When we get tired, we make silly mistakes, especially when we are turning things in at 2 am. Before dozing off, do a quick check of titles, dates, etc.

Studying during COVID can be, and often is, overwhelming. Planning out your work, and breaking it up are the best ways to study, even if it sounds cliche. These two ideas help to reduce any unneeded stress, especially during these stressful times.