15 Best Study Habits For College Students | 2022 Ranking

College is a thrilling and life-altering experience. It may be your first time living on your own, and it’s a fantastic opportunity to make friends, meet new people, and learn about your personal and professional interests.

However, for some freshmen, adjusting to the academic workload in college can be difficult. Compared to high school, the curriculum is typically more specialized, and the assignments are frequently more in-depth.

It is critical to establish good study habits for college early on so that you do not fall behind when confronted with more difficult or time-consuming readings, subject material, and exams.

In this article, we’ll be showing you how to determine the best study habits for college.

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What Makes One a Top Student?

According to research, one of the most important factors determining a top student is not how much one studies but how one studies.

Of course, keep in mind that these studies are quantitative and thus cannot account for deeper factors or specific research methods.

“How to Win at College,” by Cal Newport, is an in-depth examination of what makes a top student. Newport interviewed top students from some of the best universities, including Harvard, and compiled a list of college success tips.

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The following are the most pertinent tips in the context of this article:

  • Do Not Complete all of Your Reading.
  • Create Research Systems.
  • Begin studying two weeks ahead of time.
  • You Shouldn’t Study in Your Room.
  • Avoid studying in groups.
  • Every day, complete your schoolwork.
  • Attend Guest Lectures and Always Attend Classes.
  • Maintain a Work-Progress Journal.
  • Use the Quiz-and-Recall Method to Study.
  • Don’t overindulge in alcohol.

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How Long Should You Study to Get Good Grades?

The conclusion from the aforementioned Cal Newport’s book is that you should not be asking how long you should study. Instead, ask yourself, “How long can I study effectively?”

It’s surprising, but most people can’t work for long periods. Although there is little data on students, there have been studies on workers. According to one study, the average knowledge worker is only productive for about 3 hours per day.

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  • 1 hour and 5 minutes of reading news websites.
  • 44 minutes spent on social media.
  • 40 minutes of non-work-related conversation with coworkers.
  • 26 minutes spent looking for new jobs.
  • 23 minutes of smoking breaks.
  • Calling partners or friends (18 minutes).
  • Making hot beverages (17 minutes).
  • 14 minutes of texting or instant messaging.
  • 8 minutes of snacking.
  • Making food in the office in 7 minutes.

And, to be honest, many students suffer from similar issues: instead of studying, they check their phones, hang out with their friends, and leave all of the studying for late at night.

So, returning to the original question, how long should you study? So, our recommendation is that you study for at least 2 hours every day (including weekends) (excluding time spent at the class). With approximately 30 – 40 hours of lectures per week.

However, rather than the number of hours, your priority should be efficient study! We know from experience that sometimes there appears to be no other option – you simply have to study for a longer period, such as 10 hours per day.

However, you should try to avoid such situations as much as possible. And you should consider what I would do if I only had two hours to study. Or, how can I get the same results in 5 hours rather than 10 hours?

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Reasons Why You Should Study

1. The thrill of success and accomplishment:

Nothing beats the rush of pride and relief you get when you achieve your goals or get the grades you want.

Especially if they are top grades, and these accomplishments provide significant boosts to self-esteem and confidence.

Until then, visualizing the moment you receive your grades can be a powerful motivator to continue!

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2. Receive compliments from others:

This may ring a bell if you like to please your parents and teachers, especially if you don’t want to disappoint them. Don’t forget to find a reason to continue your education for yourself!

Alternatively, maybe you want to get attention as intelligent and smart, and you need to study for the grades and qualifications that will help you get there.

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3. Strive to be the best:

Many of us have a competitive spirit that drives us to be the best in our class, year, field, etc. Competition is a common motivator!

Becoming the best in your field is a lofty (and likely impossible) goal, but you can strive for it.

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4. Work on your personal development:

This is another way to excel. Working to be the best version of yourself is highly motivating and rewarding, and it is a significant advantage of continuous study.

Furthermore, knowing that you’re forming good habits and constantly learning new skills can help you develop a strong sense of who you are and who you want to be.

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5. Achieve your academic objectives:

Effective study goals are a critical component of the motivational process. And those objectives are frequently linked to where you want to go academically – to your top-choice university or to study a specific discipline.

The desire to achieve those goals can be a compelling reason to continue studying!

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6. Realize your (academic) ambitions:

Do you have a long-held ambition for your (academic) future, such as attending university, becoming a doctor, or writing a best-selling novel?

If this is the case, pursuing that dream can be one of the most powerful and consistent motivators to study.

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15 Best Study Habits For College Students

Here are the best study habits for college students;

#1. Find a Regular Studying Location:

Finding a regular study location is one of the best study habits for college students. When it comes to studying, consistency is everything, so try your hardest to make it a habit!

It’s a good idea to find a location on campus where you feel at ease and inspired to dive into a productive study session.

The environment should be whatever suits you best, whether that is complete silence, light background music, or a more lively atmosphere.

Consider it and test out a few different locations. The sooner you find a study space that works for you, the sooner you can study effectively.

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#2. While in class, take and review detailed notes:

This is one of the best study habits for college students. Always take notes, whether you’re sitting through a lecture or doing an assigned reading.

You will absorb key terms and ideas more quickly if you write them down right away. If you miss a lecture, don’t be afraid to ask your classmates for a refresher.

#3. Organization Is Essential!

Get yourself a college planner. This can be a creatively designed planner, a plain notebook, a wall calendar, or even a small dry-erase calendar for your desk that changes monthly.

A wall calendar or desk calendar is ideal for double-checking appointments, events, and due dates, whereas a notebook planner of some kind is ideal for planning on the fly, wherever you are. This planner will keep you organized while in class or meeting with your advisor.

If you prefer digital (because you can sync it with almost anything – your computer, phone, or tablet), consider creating an agenda on your mobile device. Reminders can be set up for test dates, department events, study times, and assignment due dates.

You can also create a study outline on your device using Google Docs, Microsoft Word, or another digital format that works for you. Organization is one of the best study habits for college students.

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#4. Spacing Out

One of the best study habits for college students is “distributed practice.” Spreading your studying out over several short periods over several days and weeks. The most effective practice is to spend a short amount of time each day on each class.

The total amount of time spent studying will be the same (or less) than one or two marathon library sessions, but you will learn and retain much more for the long term—which will help you get an A on the final.

What matters is how you spend your study time, not how long you study. Long study sessions result in a loss of concentration and, as a result, a loss of learning and retention.

You must have control over your schedule to spread out your studying over short periods over several days and weeks. Keeping a daily task list will assist you in including regular active studying sessions for each class.

Every day, try to do something for each class. Be specific and realistic about how much time you intend to devote to each task—you should not have more tasks on your list than you can reasonably complete in a day.

For example, instead of doing all of your math problems the hour before class, you could do a few per day. You can spend 15-20 minutes per day actively studying your class notes in history.

Thus, your studying time will remain the same, but instead of preparing for one class at a time, you will prepare for all of your classes in short bursts. This will help you focus, stay organized, and retain information.

#5. Minimize Distractions

Minimizing distractions  is one of the best study habits for college students. Choosing a good study location can be the first step in staying focused on your work.

However, numerous types of distractions can reach you regardless of where you choose to study. Here are some suggestions for reducing these distractions:

  • Turn off your wifi: If you’re working on a computer and don’t need the internet, try turning it off. This can prevent you from inadvertently entering distracting areas of the internet.
  • Be mindful of your phone: Our smartphones can be extremely distracting. Turning off notifications, putting your phone in your bag, or giving it to a friend to keep you from checking it too frequently can all help you stay focused. You could also try a focus app, such as Forest or Focus To-Do, which can block distracting apps and set study timers.
  • Study with a friend: Whether you’re working on the same material, studying with a friend or two can help keep you accountable and focused. Make sure you’re all on the same page for studying and keeping each other distraction-free, at least until it’s time to take a break.

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#6. Do Not Cram For Your Exam

If you follow the preceding advice, you are unlikely to find yourself in a difficult situation, but it bears repeating: Remember to plan your study time wisely to get the most out of it.

According to studies, reviewing the material in smaller chunks over a longer period is more effective than cramming a ton of material into one session. You win by going slowly and steadily.

Once you have your course syllabus and schedule for the semester, look for opportunities to study in between classes and activities. This way, you won’t have to worry about reviewing everything the night before a big exam.

#7. Sort Through Your Class Materials

Organizing your class materials is one of the best study habits for college students. Rather than keeping a bulky binder or a backpack full of loose paper, separate your notes and handouts into folders.

This makes it easier to find what you need for each exam, keep your homework organized, and avoid overcrowding. Color-coding can also help you separate different topics.

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#8. Request Assistance!

This is by far one of the best study habits for college students. If you don’t understand something, ask questions! Visit your professors’ offices during office hours, or email classmates and professors.

Some classes may even have a Facebook Group to keep students engaged and to provide a forum for students to ask questions outside of class. In either case, your professors will be on your side – nonjudgmental and eager to help you understand the entire course.

#9. Solve Problems

Solving problems is one best study habits for college students. It entails working on and resolving problems. This is essential for technical courses (e.g., math, economics). Explain the steps in the problems and why they work.

In technical courses, working on problems is usually more important than reading the text. Write down in detail the practice problems demonstrated by the professor in class.

Annotate each step and ask clarifying questions if necessary. At the very least, write down the question and the response (even if you miss the steps).

Make a long list of problems from the course materials and lectures to study for tests. Work through the issues and explain the steps and why they work.

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#10. Take Breaks

Taking deliberate breaks improves retention, increased attention, and energy boosts. According to research, working for about 50 minutes and then taking a 15- to 20-minute break can lead to peak productivity.

Here are a few suggestions to help you relax:

  • Take a short stroll.
  • Listen to a song that makes you happy.
  • Unwind with a friend.
  • Stretch.
  • Meditate.
  • Daydream and zone out
  • Eat something.
  • Take a bath.
  • Clean your desk or your room.

All breaks are not created equal. Checking your phone or social media during a study break leads to a drop in performance. Taking breaks is one of the best study habits for college students.

#11. Organize a Study Group

Having a study group is one of the best study habits for college students. While studying alone is effective for many subjects, it may be easier to learn the material if you can bounce ideas off of your classmates.

Try out group study sessions during your first year of college. Your classmates are going to like getting together to review course materials. You might discover a new way to study while also meeting new people!

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#12. Get Plenty Rest

This may not sound like it, but it’s one of the best study habits for college students. To process and absorb new information, your brain requires a regular recharge.

All-nighters are unavoidable at times, but don’t let them become a habit because sleep deprivation can impair your ability to learn or think critically. Allow yourself to make up for lost sleep as well.

#13. Teach Someone

Teaching someone is one of the best study habits for college students used by most top graders. Teaching the material to a friend, family member, or even your pet is a great way to see how well you know it!

When you explain it to someone else, you’ll have a better understanding of which information you already know and which you should review for yourself.

Create a fun PowerPoint or Google Slides presentation, get creative, and present the information in a way that you and your audience will understand. Who knows, you might even use that presentation for your classmates in the future!

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#14. Reconsider multitasking

A substantial amount of research indicates that multitasking does not improve efficiency and harms results.

To study smarter rather than harder, you must eliminate distractions during your study sessions.

If you allow it, social media, web browsing, game playing, texting, and other distractions will severely reduce the intensity of your study sessions! According to research, multitasking (e.g., responding to texts while studying) increases the amount of time required to learn the material while decreasing the quality of learning.

By eliminating distractions, you will be able to fully engage in your study sessions. If you do not require your computer for homework, do not use it.

Use apps to help you set time limits for visiting specific websites during the day. Turn off your phone. Reward hard work with a social media break. Focusing on a task is one of the best study habits for college students.

#15. Set Study Goals For Each Session

Set study objectives for each study session. These can be either time or content-based. For example, you could set a timer for two hours of study or review three chapters of your textbook—or both.

Don’t be too hard on yourself if you didn’t get as much done as you had hoped; studying can take longer than expected. Continue to take well-timed breaks, and plan another study session. This of one of the best study habits for college students.

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Important Factors That Influence Study Time

The main reason why some students achieve great results with limited work while others do not is that they know how to study effectively.

Other factors, however, may influence the amount of time spent studying to achieve a high grade. These are the factors:

  • Your degree’s and university’s intensity – some degrees aresimply more intensive than others. The same is true for universities, where the environment at some prestigious institutions, such as Harvard, is far more competitive and demanding than at others.
  • Your prior knowledge of the subject – Because they are already familiar with the subject, some students can achieve high grades with little study time. For example, many Computer Science students already know how to code before starting university, giving them an advantage over those who did not learn how to code before beginning a CS degree.

Good Habits to Pick Up in College

#1. Make a list of your daily priorities: Creating a checklist of tasks to complete each day is a great way to stay motivated and organized. This is something I do to keep track of all of my daily college tasks. The more tasks you complete and cross off your list, the more motivated and rewarded you will feel.

#2. Do not wait for the “perfect time: Opportunities pass by faster than college students can keep track of them. A good mental habit to develop is to always seek out possibilities rather than waiting or “settling” for less. College is only four years long for most people. It is critical to seize opportunities now because they may improve your life in the long run.

#3. Work out: This habit can be difficult to maintain due to poor timing and inconvenience. Exercise is extremely important and has far-reaching consequences beyond your physical health. Working out will lift your spirits and provide you with the energy you need to complete your tasks.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best way to study?

If we only had one sentence to tell you the secret, it would be this: The key to doing well is to test yourself on what you’ve studied by asking yourself questions, finding the answers, going back and restudying what you didn’t know, and testing yourself again and again until you learn the material.

What is the topper’s biggest secret?

Most people don’t know that top students spend as much as 70% of their time practicing. The more they study, the better their test scores will be.

When should you study the most?

It’s known that studying at night will help you remember what you’ve learned and make it stick. Research shows that studying at night can also help you remember new skills, like learning a new language.

How long do the best students spend studying?

Many experts say that the best students study for 50–60 hours a week.

How can I study faster without losing what I’ve learned?

No matter when you decide to study, you’ll remember more if you study for 30 to 60 minutes at a time every day instead of cramming at the last minute.

What are the four ways to study?

These include setting up a good place to study, organizing your study schedule, getting tips while you’re studying, and improving how well you read.


Many of us think that the more we study, the better our grades will be. This is not true. But you shouldn’t focus on how much time you spend studying and more on how well you study.

So it’s the wrong question to ask how long top students study. You should ask how they study instead. Our list of the best study habits for college students should give you an idea of how top students study.



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