Learning how to study is as important as studying


Lisa Alioto

14 March 2020 14 comments

Like you, when I first attended University my biggest goal was to get good grades. I wanted to succeed at this new adventure, my first true adventure that I had struck out on my own to complete.


The first thing I learned was that there was going to be no shortage of homework. I remember receiving the first day of class syllabuses that and with some fright wondering how I was going to complete that semester for that class, let alone all my other classes at the same time.  It was overwhelming to say the very least.

Time is your friend

I quickly learned that time is our friend in such situations.   That syllabus is for an entire semester, not an entire day!  The class was paced out and so I was going to pace out my homework as well.    While unfortunately my instructors didn’t coordinate their “high homework” days for me, I quickly learned to get ahead of the game in some classes to avoid falling behind in others.

Studying for tests: anxiety

However, I also learned that I had a studying problem, but not the one that you might think.  I didn’t have trouble making time for studying.  Rather, I didn’t know when to stop studying.  In short, when is enough enough?  I didn’t know when to stop!  I would study and study for a test and not know when to end.  Then, I would become anxious that I should review my notes one more time, that I should read the chapter again, or meet with my study group for longer.   I never knew when I had done enough, when I could stop.

What I learned about studying after my first semester

First, I learned that this type of attitude was exactly the one that earned me the A’s that I got in my classes.  But I also learned that most often I was over-studying.  Which in theory is not a bad thing.  I was tasked with learning this information and learn it I did.  But I also learned that what it boiled down to was that I didn’t have enough confidence in my abilities and that I also was a little too afraid to not succeed.

How I found my balance?

I quickly learned that I could study a bit less.  I developed mini-tests for myself and promised myself that if I passed them that would be my marker that I had studied enough. In short, I found a way to balance my amount of studying with what was needed to succeed in class.

I also realized that my confidence in myself needed some work too, as that was what was really behind all this.   So, I leveraged my past successes to boost my confidence toward future success.  It took some time, but eventually I realized that succeeding at University was mine for the taking, and my pattern of initial successes showed I could do it.  And that I could believe in.   And that was enough to give my confidence the boost it needed to help know when I had studied enough… or when a bit more of a focus was needed.

How do you know when you’ve studied enough?

What strategies have you used to figure out if you have studied enough or need to do a bit more work?  What’s worked for you in figuring this out?  What hasn’t worked?  I would love to hear how you struck the right balance for yourself.

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14 thoughts on “Learning how to study is as important as studying

  1. For me, there was never “I have studied enough” because my anxiety gets the better of me. I am always thinking there is some part of my notes I have not learnt or my studying is just not enough. I study till the test day. After the test is over, I figured out there was never a need to panic and I should be confident in my ability to succeed.

    1. Lisa Alioto

      I hear ya Rayo – I had some challenges with not feeling like I studied enough. So I overstudied and and overstudied again for much of my first year of college. And then law school every year. Tough challenge to overcome. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I have the opposite, where I struggle to motivate myself to study ???? I’m still working out how to find my balance, but I’m glad you’ve found yours!

    Beka | http://www.bekadaisies.com

    1. Lisa Alioto

      Thank you – it was definitely hard to come by but it’s a doable challenge. Good luck to you – I’m sure you’ll find your balance too Beka.

  3. Sometimes I feel like I’ve never studied enough cause I think there’s always a point I missed or a slide I didn’t go over properly. But as you said it’s all about finding a balance, so knowing when it’s appropriate to take a break and when to study.

    Great post!

    Karen x | thekcomponent.com

    1. Lisa Alioto

      Thanks Karen – I’m glad you enjoyed the post! 🙂

  4. Some useful points here – I do agree, it’s all about finding a happy balance 🙂

    1. Lisa Alioto

      Thank you for stopping by and sharing your comment Lisa!

  5. What an interesting read! So glad you found your balance.. I’m still looking for mine! lol

    Ashleigh x – https://www.ashleighsmoments.com

    1. Lisa Alioto

      Thank you Ashleigh – I hope you find your balance soon. It takes time, but you will find it. 🙂

  6. I was always happy that I had the core knowledge but what worried me was remembering smaller details like dates of events etc. I would always be trying to cram those in still at the very last minute. Knowing the correct balance for your own study style can be a tricky one x


    1. Lisa Alioto

      Sophie – you are so right. it can be very tricky to find that right balance – and it’s a bit different for everyone.

  7. It is always a challenge to find a good balance with studying, I guess it happens over time when you know what works for you. Mini tests is a really great idea – I did something similar with flash cards, once I could remember each one I knew I had done enough for my exam. Thank you for sharing Lisa, great post! <3 xx

    Bexa | http://www.hellobexa.com

    1. Lisa Alioto

      Ahh… I did the same with flash cards too!! Thank you for stopping by and commenting Bexa! Always enjoy hearing from you!

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