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8 Study Habits For A Stress-Free Semester

With every new semester, practically everyone intends on “doing better”. But unfortunately, most people give up on this thinking mid-semester. What can you do differently that keeps you ahead of the game? Fear not, Zainab is here! Read on.

Read ahead

One piece of advice that has proven to be helpful is to skim through chapters and subheadings beforehand. I’m not implying a full detailed study of the content. What I mean here is to read sub-headings, diagrams, and chapter summaries in advance. Also, try to take a brain dump before every lecture and recall everything you read about. Getting yourself familiar with the content like this helps you organize your thoughts better and in turn get on grips with the content.

Plan ahead

Each day, write a list of the tasks that you can reasonably work on or accomplish. Try to write this daily task list the evening before. This way not only do you feel that satisfaction of ticking off a task once it’s done, but you also free your mind of the worries of forgetting something important. Similarly, you should plan out tasks you want to achieve by the end of a particular week and then make a daily list of sub-tasks you can do to eventually finish off those tasks. This method helps you calmly step back, look at the big picture, and set priorities.

You got YOU

Instead of simply highlighting and rereading, TALK to yourself. Explain the new concept to yourself without having to look back at your notes and textbooks. You might think this is absolutely insane (it kind of is) but it really works and could become one of your most effective study tools!

Do your future self a favor!

Another thing I notice is that when you start working on something beforehand, whether it’s studying for a quiz or getting started on an assignment, you end up doing the future you a favor. The next time you go to do that thing, you already know it’s partly done and so there’s less to worry about.

Practice makes perfect

You’ve probably heard this cliche saying a million times before. But realistically, you need to practice beforehand to guarantee success and reduce your failure rate. Also, when practicing problems, make sure you cover various sections. For example, after doing a few problems from section 7.4, go back and do a problem from section 7.3. Do a couple more 7.4 problems and then do one from section 7.1. This way you practice mentally shifting gears as you would on a test. You never want to practice on a test.

Take breaks

While understanding concepts and adequate amounts of practice is key to scoring high, you also need to give your mind a break. This helps prevent study fatigue and keeps you focused and motivated. Procrastinator or not, try the Pomodoro Technique where you work for 20 minutes with no distractions, and then take 5 to 10-minute breaks, and then after an hour of work, take a long 20 or so minutes break. 

Recall later

In this method, you basically recall material when you are out of your usual study place. Recalling material this way helps you strengthen your grasp of the material by viewing it from a different perspective.


Boosting your GPA requires hard work and consistency. However, a crucial aspect that many people tend to neglect is getting an adequate amount of sleep. Sleep contributes to memory retention and helps your brain to focus. In fact, when you learn something new, the best way to remember it is to sleep on it. I would also like to highlight how getting proper sleep the night before a test is key. You might think pulling an all-nighter might be a better idea. However, pulling an all-nighter interferes with effective thinking (not ideal for a test) and also contributes to mood problems. So make sure you get at least 6-8 hours of sleep every night. 

I’m a firm believer that implementing these tips will make a huge difference in your grades. I understand that a new semester can be overwhelming. But remember the Law of Serendipity: Lady Luck favors the one who tries. So keep pushing and working through concepts. It gets easier as you go. Study your ass off but more importantly don’t overwork yourself. BREAKS are just as important. But above all, consistency is KEY. Try to ditch last-minute cramming habits and work ahead of time for a stress-free semester. Until next time, happy stu-dying!

Zainab Abbasi is in her 3rd year of Mechanical Engineering. She is passionate to write about topics related to beauty, mental health, fashion, study tips and much more. In her spare time she enjoys drawing, cooking, eating any dessert she can find and binge watching serial killer documentaries!
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