Studying Effectively


Are there any study patterns from top students in New Zealand and abroad that is a proven method for success?


Interesting question,

I don’t know one study pattern among all top students. Even at Harvard, I see a significant number of people who pull all nighters before the exam and other who prepare days in advance. There are people who use quizlets; people who record their notes; people who color code, the ways they study are endless.

It is important to find what kind of study suits you. For example if you’re rely more on long term memory, than studying the night before will be ineffective; if you reply on short term memory than it’s important to review your notes thoroughly the day before.

But I think one pattern I do see, is that top students tend to be driven by a goal. I don’t know anyone who a Premier Scholar by chance. So who you’re studying, remember to envision your goal, and let that motivate you. :slight_smile:


Great question! It really depends on the person. Like @LouisaWang said, I’ve also seen people with wildly different study patterns - some cram the night before and pull all-nighters, others plan days in advance.

What matters most is finding out what is effective for you personally - and when it is most effective. I have a bunch of different study ‘tactics’ that I use - notecards, copying my notes, reading, studying with a group, etc. - and I employ them at various moments when I think it makes the most sense.



I agree that everyone is unique in the way that they study, however I can lend you one tip from my university course that’s personally helped me a lot at. It is an observed psychological phenomenon known as context-dependent memory.

Essentially, we remember information better if we recall it in the same context as when we learnt it. There is extensive evidence of this context referring to environment, mood, and even physiological states. My favourite example of this is a study carried out on divers, who recalled information learnt on land better when they were on land than underwater, and recalled information learnt underwater better underwater than on land. This is why many students I know at Cambridge do their work and revision in libraries: it is a big, quiet space filled with people and is a mildly stressful environment, which mimics the environment of an exam hall where our exams are sat. One tactic a professor of mine suggested too was to drink a sugary or caffeinated drink while revising, and then drink one again before the exam: the physiological state of having higher blood-sugar or caffeine levels provides a context for learning and recall, and can improve memory.

This is certainly not the definitive answer to being a genius, but it’s something that is fairly easy to try out and see if it works for you, and that I have found extremely useful when combined with regular breaks during studying!