How To Develop Your Study Skills

An infographic on important study skills like time management, brain stimulation, study aids, study space, things you should avoid, and health.

If you would like to tell me some of your ideas for blog posts or printables, or you have some questions regarding the blog posts, I am happy to answer you through email or write a post for you! Tell me on the Contact Us page!

For more similar articles, make sure to subscribe to Students Toolbox on the sidebar, and also follow our social media platforms. Facebook |Twitter | Instagram | Tumblr | Feedly | Pinterest | Google+ | Bloglivin’ | Snapchat


As this is comic provides an overly simplified suggestion, please note that everybody works differently and you may have to adjust these rules accordingly to your lifestyle!  I tried to make it flexible enough to be applicable for every individual, tho I still feel like I’ve only scratched the surface on how to arrange your day to day chores tbh, so I’m not sure if I’ll even keep this up for long?  orz  I hope this’ll at least help with understanding the general idea.
Managing time for school work and your hobbies seem a bit daunting, but with a day planner, a weekly printout chart or even a little calendar you can filter out the unnecessary activities that are a distraction from accomplishing bigger things!  Not too long ago I was working two jobs as a full time college student while trying to squeeze in art, it was tough, so I really had to pick and choose what was most important to me in order to give it my all!
Also, please please please make time for sleep and take care of your health, above all things, no matter what!

Check out these 20 quick tips, how to filter out unnecessary activities, and this time managing masterpost for additional resources!!


other cheat sheets

before the start of the semester

  • if you can, schedule at least one break in between your classes so you have time to do homework – this has been a big lifesaver for me.
  • get to know your advisor – it’ll make working with them easier and they’ll be able to help you better.
  • make sure your class schedule is one you’re comfortable with. if you’re taking too many harder classes, or all writing intensive classes, it may be a more difficult/stressful semester. be realistic about how much you can handle at once, because it may look easy on paper, but it won’t be when you have three tests, a project, and two five-page papers all due at once.
  • when making my schedule i like to rank each class i need to take in terms of expected difficulty/work put in from 1-5 (for example: world civ is an estimated 4, art history is 2, and Pilates is 0 since it only requires my time in-class, and the total for my classes is 16). add ‘em up and see if your schedule is too much/too little - you can also do this for past semesters to put it into perspective.
  • before the first day of class, take some time to tidy up your room and workspace really well. you won’t have as much time later and it’ll make you feel better + less stressed.
  • just try to get things squared away in general before your break ends
  • write down some SMART goals for the semester (”I will make an A in Biology by studying everyday”) and stick them somewhere you’ll see them daily (binder, desk, etc)

at the beginning of the semester

  • download this app – I don’t use it to keep up with my actual homework, but you can add in all your classes so that if you forget what’s next/where you’re going it’s all right there in your notification center.
  • after your first day of class go through all your syllabi and put any major due dates in your planner – you may want to do this in pencil in case dates change.
  • find your perfect study spot. for me it changes semester by semester- right now (my favorite) it’s a lounge that no one ever goes to with a couch, desks, AND most of my teachers offices are right down the hall which is super convenient.
  • if you’re taking any online classes, stop by your teacher’s office during office hours and introduce yourself.
  • a lot of studyblrs say to sit on the front row for better focus, and that may work for you, but I focus best in the very back. bottom line- just because it works for someone else doesn’t mean it’ll work best for you, so sit where you want and do what’s best for you.
  • make eating breakfast – even if it’s on the way to school – a habit.
  • I like to put together a grades spreadsheet in excel (I use this template) so I can keep up with what I’m making and gauge how well I’ll have to do on upcoming assignments.
  • introduce yourself to someone in each class. you don’t have to be bffs, but you’ll be glad to have a friend to let you borrow their notes.
  • have a positive attitude from the beginning. that’s honestly half the battle

throughout the semester

  • start a list of things you know will be on the test/exam. anytime your teacher spends a lot of time emphasizing something or straight up tells you it will be on the exam, write it down. make it into a study guide.
  • daily/weekly/whenever you get a chance review (and rewrite) your notes. do this as soon as plausible after you take them so that you have the best chance of remembering what they’re talking about. i like to do this while i’m waiting for the next class to start.
  • while you’re reviewing your notes, go ahead and make flash cards of important terms. doing them as you go along means that you can spend more time actually quizzing yourself and less time making them right before the exam.
  • get to bed/wake up around the same time everyday & don’t sleep in too much on weekends – that’s what makes mondays so rough.
  • try not to exist only on red bull and chips, k?
  • take breaks!! hang out with your friends!!! talk to your family!! eat without a textbook in your hand!! school is not the most important thing out there
  • if you’re struggling, put in the extra effort as soon as possible. seriously. don’t wait until finals week.

before midterms

  • go through EVERYTHING – your backpack, folders, binders, all of it. toss what you don’t need (that sandwich from a month ago) and reorganize what you do (those bio flashcards that ended up with your history notes)
  • make a study group and split up the material to make a collective study guide & then quiz each other from it.
  • review your SMART goals and see if you’ve kept up with them/if the still apply. adjust according.
  • by this time you’ve learned what does or doesn’t work as far as supplies, studying, note taking goes. if there’s anything you can readjust to make the rest of the semester go more smoothly, do that now.
  • you still have time to pull a bad grade back up – figure out what you can do to do that (study more regularly, talk to the teacher, find some online resources, etc)
  • have a dance party because you’re halfway there!

before/during finals week

  • if your planner doesn’t have a daily view, draw out a schedule of the week and break down hour by hour what you’ll be doing/studying and stick it in your planner with a paper clip.
  • i like to schedule my days like this the morning-of since its hard to know what your days going to look like in advance.
  • give yourself some slack so you don’t get stressed out when something takes longer than expected.
  • don’t forget to give yourself breaks – the pomodoro method works well for me
  • get plenty of rest! staying up all night to cram is not worth it. that extra sleep will help much more than going over your notes a million times.
  • when you go into an exam, think only about that exam. don’t worry about all that you have to do later.
  • eat a light snack before exams and bring a drink into exams (i do chocolate milk because it’s more filling than water) for energy.
  • if you have a lot of papers/projects, do them in the library and not at home. during exam week i stay about an hour after class everyday and i’m so much more productive in that one hour than i would be in three hours at home.
How I Manage My Time

(Image credit to ME: PLEASE DO NOT REPOST)

Hi all!

I’ve had quite a number of asks wanting some time management tips, so I thought I’d make a post about my time management plan! 

1ST RULE: Break Long-term Tasks into Short-term Tasks

So on Friday evening, I sit down with a piece of paper and write down the heading: BIG TASKS, and list the major tasks for the weekend + following week under the heading.

Then I break each of these tasks into smaller pieces where I can. (Tests&essays are already planned for, using the study time planner I posted last week.)

Then I categorise each task as one of the following 4 categories:

1. Urgent and important
2. Important but not urgent
3. Urgent but not important
4. Not urgent and not important.

IMPORTANT task is something that has to be done. There are consequences if it isn’t done.

URGENT task has a deadline, and can’t be caught up with once the deadline has passed.

I made the following sets of questions to aid in categorising the tasks.

So from my example:

  • my philosophy essay is due on Monday; therefore it is urgent. If I don’t hand this essay in, I may fail my course; therefore it is important.
  • My mom’s birthday is soon, so I want to send her a card. This task is important, but not urgent; I can send it anytime, as long as she gets it before her birthday.
  • My dancing class is urgent; if I miss this practice session I can’t catch up later, since they move on anyway in the next session. But since I’m admittedly not committed to dancing, missing the lesson will not have huge consequences. It is technically not important.
  • My friends and I want to have a movie night sometime. This task is not important - it has no serious consequences attached to it even if it doesn’t happen. It is not urgent - we can throw it anytime we want.

I write the category number next to the task.

Once I am done categorising, I copy the tasks onto the following template:

Like this!

(If you guys want the time-square template, it can be found here, or here.)

2ND RULE: Task Decides Time

What I do next is assign X-amount of hours to each task. The number of hours I assign to each task depends on its category!

  • The minimum ratio that I have set between the number of hours assigned to the 4 categories is 4:2:2:1. 
  • i.e. Category 1 tasks must take up AT LEAST twice as many hours as category 2 or 3 tasks, and AT LEAST quadruple the amount of hours for category 4 tasks.
  • This ratio, of course, varies from week to week. But as long as the ratio is bigger than 4:2:2:1, I’m happy.

This week being a test week and all, there is a lot of work to be done so category 1 is pretty full. (plus the birthday party contributed significantly to category 3)

Next step is to divide these hours over the days of the week. Obviously I have to put the deadlines into consideration, and my set schedules (like lectures).

  • I assign a task/part of task to each day, and a number of hours to spend on that task. 
  • I don’t, however, specify the time. 
  • I personally find that time-specific schedulers don’t work for me, simply because of the fact that I suck at sticking to the times. It means that if I don’t finish your task by the set time (eg. study maths at 11:00am), that task is left hanging because I have to move onto the next task for the next hour (write essay at 12:00pm). This creates a build-up of incomplete work and is simply NOT efficient. That’s why I don’t use them. 
  • Everyday I keep my list of tasks in my head, and complete them one by one whenever I have the time. 
  • The goal is to get all of the tasks done before I go to bed.
  • Unless there is a time constraint attached (eg. meetings, or closing times for shops), whether I complete the task (especially studying) during lunchtime or before I go to bed doesn’t matter too much.

I draw a weekly planner into my bullet journal page.

Then I divide the tasks among the days!

I then transfer these tasks onto my daily bullet journal pages throughout the week.

3RD RULE: Leave Room For Compromise

I’m only human. I always end up doing something wrong and leaving some tasks incomplete during the week.

To compensate for this, I do 2 things:

  • 1. Abandon low-priority tasks

If I had category 1 and category 4 tasks left incomplete for example, and I simply had no time to do both things, I’d give up the category 4 task and give my undivided attention to the high-priority task! I have to know what I need to sacrifice for the greater good.

  • 2. Integrate “catch-up time” into your plan

Sometimes you can’t give up any of the tasks. CRISIS! To prevent situations like this, you should plan some “free time” into your week so that you can use them to catch up with things you are behind with. So my plan should technically never look full.

This has been another long post… 

I hope you guys foundd this post helpful! Inbox me if you have any questions :)



Quick Tips for Answering Multiple Choice Questions

1. Read question and underline what it’s asking you.
2. Cover the answer choices (a, b, c, d) with your hand and try to answer the question yourself, without any help. Seeing the answer choices will just confuse and distract you.
3. Use the Process of Elimination: 
    - Eliminate what is obviously a wrong answer
    - Now only focus on what’s left. Now you won’t pay attention to the wrong answer choice and it won’t distract you anymore. 

Note* Strongly-worded answer choices are rarely the right answer! See example on the picture :)

My econ professor told us a few of these- you still have to study, but these techniques makes it easier for you to find the right answer among all the wrong ones that distract you.  

** If you have any more tips you’d like to share with us, Submit them to me and I will post them and credit you, of course, or comment below! 


How To:

Tips, Tricks, & Page Ideas:



I’m sure we all know how tricky time management and productivity can be, and also how crucial it is to be good at it, to succeed. So, I’d like to share a strategy of effectively managing all of those tasks you have at hand! 

Introducing Dwight Eisenhower, 34th president of the United States. He lived a super productive life, and during his presidency he implemented many transformational programs including NASA and the Atomic Energy act. Before then, he was a 5 star general in the US army, serving as the supreme commander, he was also the president of Columbia University… I could go on. 

My point is, he did all of this while still having time for personal interests and hobbies like painting and golfing. He was amazing at time management, and his most famous method of handling tasks, is called the Eisenhower Matrix

It’s a method of prioritising and sorting out your to-dos based on urgency and importance.  

It is super helpful is making us question what is important and actually necessary to do. I think that we often fill up our time with tasks that do not help us in reaching our core goals, and this method helps us narrow down our todos, saving us from wasting time, energy, and resources.

The 2nd and 3rd quadrant (not urgent important, urgent-not important) is what really minimises our productivity, if not properly managed and scheduled

I personally think its a fairly good way of understanding all that you have to do, what you should do first, and how you can deal with the rest. You don’t have to necessarily plan everything out this way, but its a good mindset to adopt when managing your workload. 

I’m so so awful at being concise (I’m so sorry for the long post!!) But I help this has helped you guys. Hopefully I’m going to post a printable of the matrix in the near future, so keep an eye out for that :)

What is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important.
-Dwight Eisenhower

5 Tips for Staying Productive

1. Get ahead on your work. There is always something you can be doing. A great way to stay productive is looking forward a few weeks in your schedule and seeing what’s coming up. This is especially handy when you know you’ll have a few tests in one week. Staying ahead of your work allows you the freedom to focus more on one or two subjects without getting behind in the rest. 

2. Take breaks. Short, frequent breaks can help you stay productive and not get tired as quickly. You don’t want to burn out on your assignment and then rush through the rest of it. Also, it’s a good idea to break up large amounts of reading over a few days, so you don’t have to do it all in one massive tiring chunk. But, it’s important to set a time limit on your breaks. If you leave it open-ended, you may never get back to work. 

3. Work hard all week, relax more on the weekends. Put in the extra hours during the school week, and you’ll be able to have a much more enjoyable weekend. Your friends will probably want to hang out over the weekend more than the school week anyway, so it’s great to actually be able to take a break and do things with them rather than staying home to catch up on all the work you neglected. 

4. Don’t do unnecessary work. Learn what works best for you and tailor your study style to the class. If you know you can make an A in a class without doing the readings, then DON’T DO THE READINGS. It’s important to delegate your time wisely, or you will constantly be stressed and overworked. Be careful though, sometimes this can backfire. Pick and chose your workloads with a lot of consideration. 

5. Be proud of all of your work. If you just look towards a bigger picture goal- such as graduation or getting an A in a class- you will feel much less accomplished throughout the semester, even if you’re doing a lot of work to achieve your goal. Make smaller goals and be proud that you achieve them. Focus on the work that gets you to the accomplishment, not the accomplishment itself. 

“Productivity is about making smart choices (continuously) with your energy, focus and time in order to maximise your potential and achieve beneficial results.” – Mohammed Faris

1. Find your energy hours.

Everyone has a specific time in the day where their energy levels are much higher than usual. Use that time to your advantage. Take that energy and get the majority of your work done and out of the way.

For me, the mornings are usually when I feel the most energised, so I get to work straight away. To find your energy hours, try working at different times during the day. See which time of the day allows you to work at your very best.

2. Establish routines.

Once you have found your energy hours, base your day around this. Create a routine for each day of the week.

When do you study? When do you go to school? Do you relax for an hour after coming back from school? Do you tidy your room on Sunday?

Establish a schedule and you’re less likely to get side-tracked and much more likely to maximise your productivity.

3. Ditch the to-do lists.

Yes, it’s good to write lists of things you need to do, but you’re never going to get around to doing them if you don’t plan time for it. So instead of relying on a to-do list, add the task to your routine. Will you be able to work on this task on a Saturday afternoon? Great! Put it into your schedule. This will ensure the task is completed.

4. Don’t multi-task.

You can’t do multiple things at once. It seems like you’re able to, but what you’re really doing is constantly switching your attention from one task to another. Don’t do that. Focus on one thing at a time. That way, you’re putting all of your attention on a task and are likely to get it completed faster and at a higher standard.

5. Complete similar tasks together.

If you’re studying, instead of switching from subject to subject throughout the day, try to stick to one subject. On Monday, create flashcards for a Biology topic, then revise the topic and then do a Biology past paper. This will ensure your mind is concentrated on one thing at a time and not constantly switching gears.

So get your chores done together. Study one subject at a time. Send your e-mails and messages at one time. Dedicate today to your English essay. Don’t interrupt tasks with an unrelated task.

6. Finish quick and easy tasks first.

If you need to make a dentist appointment, do it. Do you need to write a quick e-mail to your teacher? Get it out of the way.

Finishing the quick and easy tasks right away will leave you with ample time to tackle the more challenging ones you’ve got up ahead. It will also give you peace of mind that you’ve gotten something done today.

7. Take breaks.

You’re not a machine. Productivity is not working 24/7.

“Being productive is about knowing when to have fun and when to work hard; when to relax and when to be serious. It’s about making smart choices.”

Allow your mind and body to take a break every now and then and relax. Scheduling these breaks can be beneficial so that you’re not constantly taking a break when you don’t need to.

8. Prioritise.

Yes, that idea you had on the train was appealing, but is it really that beneficial? Is it important enough for you to spend your valuable time and energy on it? Will it get you where you want to go? Probably not.

So prioritise projects and tasks. Ensure important tasks are completed first and well before any upcoming deadlines. Make sure that your time is better spent doing things that will actually benefit you and bring you closer to your goals.

9. Become accountable to someone.

It’s super easy to make promises to yourself, saying that you will do this and do that. Likewise, it’s also extremely easy to break those promises.

However, this is different when you have someone you are accountable to. Perhaps, at the end of every week, you can report to a parent or a trusted friend on your progress so far. It’s extremely difficult to tell someone that you haven’t accomplished your goals for the week. This will make it far more likely for you to get your work done.

10. Review your progress.

At the end of each day, you should evaluate your progress. What did you accomplish today? What did you do well? What did you not complete today? Why? How could you improve? When will you complete it?

Asking yourself these questions and being honest will help you see where you’re going right and where you’re not doing so well.

I hope this is useful to some of you and that you put your time and energy into good use. 😊

Ever made a list of to-do’s and ended up finishing less than half of it? Maybe this tutorial would help you.

Things you need: Pen, paper, tasks, something with a timer, and patience.

Step 1: Make a huge-ass bucket list of what you want done. List everything and anything.

Step 2: Cross out the currently unimportant ones. Like: Google Benedict Cumberbatch. (Unless you’re actually writing a paper on Benedict Cumberbatch)

Step 3: Line the rest up in order…
Important+Emergent Important+Non-emergent Unimportant+Emergent, and Unimportant+Non-emergent.

Step 4: Take a timer and time yourself on a task. Estimate how long it would take for you to finish, say, a chapter of biology. Then compare with the actual time it took to do so. Don’t worry if there is a huge difference: we could always work on that later. KEEP THE RECORDS.

Step 5: Repeat Step 4 as necessary.

Step 6: When you are done for the day, make a list of things you plan to finish tomorrow. Now that you have actual numbers to work with it should be MUCH easier.

Step 7: Do your best to finish everything the next day. If you find that difficult, take something off the list and try again (and vice versa). Most people find their balance within a week and I bet you will too.

This technique saves a lot of time. You would no longer need to think long and hard about what you should and should not put on your list. Just index your times under their respective categories, add them up, and you’re all set. As an added bonus, you could even try beating your own records!

Hope this helped a bit. :”)