Skip To Content
  • Life Hacks badge

17 Unexpected Studying Hacks

So no matter how hard you try, you're still having trouble studying. Here are some helpful tips that will train your brain into retaining information better.

1. Spray an unfamiliar scent while you're studying.

Spray it again right as you're about to take the test. The scent will jog your memory.

2. A weird kind of gum works too.

3. Before taking a test, write down all the relevant information you can think of on an index card, as though it were a piece of paper you were allowed to bring with you.

It's an extra writing exercise to help you remember the important things. It'll also serve as a nice review when it comes time for exams later.

4. When listening back to hours of recorded lectures, put on an instrumental Pandora station very low in the background.


It'll help you focus through the boredom. Try Sigur Ros, Tycho, or Autechre.

5. Leave yourself a gummy bear trail when reading.

6. Write down all your formulas at the beginning of the test.

7. When crunched for time, listen to recorded lectures at double the speed.

You can use a program like Audacity or VLC media player to do this.

8. If you're dyslexic, there's a special font called Dyslexie that could help you read more easily.

Read more about it here.

9. And if you're not dyslexic, Times New Roman is the fastest font to read.

10. Use a program to block distracting sites on your computer for a set period of time..

Use Cold Turkey for PCs or Self Control for Macs.

11. For history and anthropology classes, watch a documentary on the topic. / Via

It'll help you have a deeper understanding of the material. If no documentaries exist, open up YouTube and do a search on the topic.

12. Take better notes by pretending you're taking them for someone else. / Via

On another "note," try the Cornell Notes method. People swear by it.

13. While studying, do a short review session at each 20 minute interval of the newly learned material. / Via

"Humans tend to halve their memory of newly learned knowledge in a matter of days or weeks unless they consciously review the learned material." Reviewing is important and keeps you from forgetting key points.

14. Google "site:edu [subject] exam" to find many different college exams featuring problems pertaining to that subject.

15. Try an online interactive flash card site like Quizlet.

It's community-based, so not only can you make your own flashcards, but you can use ones that other people studying the same subject have already made.

16. Take notes using different colored pens.

This will fire up your visual memory. It also looks pretty and makes taking notes more enjoyable.

17. Take breaks every 25 minutes.

Like, set a timer and get serious about studying for 25 minutes. Reward yourself with a five-minute break afterwards. This is known as the Pomodoro technique.

Want to make sure you never miss a super-helpful tip? Sign up for the BuzzFeed DIY newsletter!

Want awesome DIY tips in your inbox three times a week? Sign up for the BuzzFeed DIY newsletter!

Newsletter signup form