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Learning to Learn: Super Study Tips!

Written by Kim Angelo Santos on behalf of RU Student LIfe

Here’s the big question:

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…Not the easiest question to answer, especially when the learning environment seems so intimidating. Definitely, the academic side of university is one of the biggest changes to adjust to. Textbooks aren’t used for a few loose pages; readings may go up to 30+ pages a night.

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That may seem like a lot of studying…

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Here a few tips that will smooth out the whole studying process to a point where you won’t see studying as something to dread:

 1. Prepare Snacks

Save yourself the trouble of wasting cash on last-minute greasy meals at the closest burger joint.

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Prepare some little snacks to get you through those tough study sessions that could last hours on end. I’m not saying bring out a silver platter, a blender, a chopping board and enough ingredients for a 10-man cooking competition, but bring some snacks just to get you by.

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A small bag of cereal, an apple, a sandwich of your own making and a refillable water bottle should last you enough to breeze through those 40+ pages of notes. At least this way, you save time, money and also yourself from eating some drastically fattening foods.

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2. Study with a friend

Sitting alone at a desk from dawn ‘til dusk doesn’t sound like the best weekend plan, but if you really need to knuckle down and study, it’s best to hit the library with a friend at least. Having a buddy there can prove to be very useful. They can watch your stuff while you run to the bathroom (I’m sure you’d do the same if they needed to do their “business.”). The Ryerson Library has 9 floors of study space, with floors 4 and 8 ready for those who need to talk more with their study mates.  They can keep you up and motivated when the notes seem endless and you feel like no more information can be stored in that big brain of yours.

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Or, if you’re working on an essay or some sort of project, having a second pair of eyes doesn’t hurt and can sometimes catch stray mitsa–I mean mistakes here and there.

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 3. Get comfy

Find what works best for you: a standard desk/chair combination or maybe a couch pulled up to a coffee table.

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If  you find a way to make yourself comfortable, studying won’t seem like such a daunting task. If you’re going to be typing away or scrolling your eyes through a glowing screen for a prolonged period of time, you may want to seat yourself in a way that your neck doesn’t stiffen up after 30 seconds or where you don’t feel like your wrists will pop out when you reach to type.

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4. Put your phone away!

There are very few excuses to check your phone while you’re studying.

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Let’s not kid ourselves here; you know you need to study, those text messages can wait. If you really feel like your phone is a nuisance, face it down and take off that pesky vibrate. Priorities come into play heavily here in the sense that studying is more important than updating whatever social media platform on which you feel the need to say “I’m on that study grind! ^.^” Reward yourself at incremental times with a quick phone check; maybe every hour on the hour or after every 5 pages of notes are studied over. Just be careful. Keep those phone checks short and sweet so you can get back to those knowledge gains!

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 5. Gather resources and set yourself up

Get yourself prepped to study.

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If it’s an essay you’re working on, print out the readings you need to source, the outline and rubric for the assignment, and any relevant notes. Having all the resources at your disposal saves you some unnecessary travel time to the computer, to the website, to the printer, and back.

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Bring the tools you need, too: pencils (and extra pencils), highlighters (and extra highlighters), and a ready brain to study (though I doubt you have an extra brain to spare). For sure, once you set yourself up to study, the actual process of studying will seem a lot less scary.

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Speaking of  resources, it would be wise to check our Ryerson’s many learning support centres dedicated to improving your academic experience. Follow the link below for more information: Ryerson Student Learning Support provides multiple services that might help you if you’re stuck in a jam. University’s not easy, so if you’re struggling, don’t be afraid to look for help; that’s why these services are here. If you are seeking to improve your writing, leading to overall better note-taking, check out the Writing Centre, located in the Library Building in LIB 272-B.


At the end of the day, these notes aren’t going to read themselves. Study hard, take your time, and go at your own pace. You know yourself better than anyone else; you know your habits and preferences when it comes to studying. It doesn’t mean that your way is the only way. Maybe one of the tips mentioned above is something you’ve never heard of; what’s to stop you from trying it out? Now that I’ve shared some of my own tips with you, come up with your own as you hit the books!

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