Inside Quizlet

4 tips for forming good study habits

Quizlet HQ & Quizlet in Education ·

Quizlet is proud to partner with real students to showcase authentic voices on our blog. This guest post is by Trevor Mahoney, a Finance and Management Information Systems major at Santa Clara University.

At last, 2020 is behind us. A new year can feel like a clean slate, but for students, the new year also brings the second half of the academic year. Whether you are learning remotely or in-person, developing positive study habits will help you tackle your new classes and succeed this year.

Do habits really work?

I was skeptical about the necessity of creating good study habits for years. I preferred to wing it by studying and simply hope for the best. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the best strategy.

A habit is just an automatic behavior. And habits work. Buckling your seatbelt to keep yourself safe is an example of a habit you have developed over time.

You can do the same thing with your academics. By creating study habits, you can improve your focus and stay dedicated to whatever academic tasks you may have on your plate.

good-study-habits.jpgPhoto by Green Chameleon on Unsplash

How do you make a habit stick?

In a discussion of his book, The Power of Habit, author Charles Duhigg outlines three main components to building a habit: a cue, an action and a reward.

A cue is an action that directly precedes your habit, the action is the habit, and the reward is the positive result of the habit. For example, maybe you get out of bed every morning and throw on a pair of slippers without thinking.

The cue is getting out of your bed. The action is putting on the slippers. The reward is your feet being warm on a cold morning.

When trying to develop a positive study habit, you need all three of the above components. A cue to start studying, actually studying, and then a reward for your effort.

In my case, I began going to my campus library every time I needed to study. This put me in a productive mindset and allowed me to get all my work done. As a reward, I always bought myself a donut afterward from our library cafe.

Cue, action and reward.

By building all three of these, you can make anything you do a habit. Eventually, you’ll begin to do the action without needing to actively think about it, which greatly helps with improving overall motivation when it comes to studying.

With the above in mind, you’re surely wondering if there are any tips and tricks to use while trying to start forming your habits. We’ve got four of them to help you, so keep reading.

woman-trying-to-build-study-habits.jpgPhoto by Siora Photography on Unsplash

4 helpful tips to form great study habits

1. Organize your materials

To set yourself up for success, you’ll need to organize your materials. After all, if you’re gearing up for the library but have to stop to search for a textbook, you’re more likely to talk yourself out of going.

Instead, keep your books and other study materials organized and easy to locate. If you’re leaving your room to study, packing your backpack is a good cue to put yourself into a study mindset.

2. Start with small goals and build up

A surefire way to fail in building your habit is to take on too much at one time. Don’t overload yourself when it comes to studying. If you aren’t used to sitting down and hitting the books for long periods of time, start with short, 30-minute sessions.

Slowly, over time, build your sessions up until you can stand to be studying for an hour and a half or longer (but don’t forget to take short breaks). This strategy is called building a mini habit. As the name suggests, it’s just a smaller version of your large habit that is nearly impossible to fail.

You just set small and attainable goals for yourself until those mini habits become cemented, then you take it up a notch. Follow this pattern until you are at your goal habit.

3. Minimize external distractions

When you’re actually doing the action of your study habit, do yourself a favor and turn off notifications on your smartphone and laptop. Ideally, your phone should be completely off. If you’re anything like me and enjoy listening to music while studying, though, then this is impossible.

At the very least, unplug from social media and remove as many distractions as you can think of. The ideal study session consists of five minutes of light concentration, five minutes of moderate concentration, and 40 minutes of deep concentration.

By removing external distractions, you improve the quality of your study session. Make this part of your habit.

4. Pick a good reward

The final tip for building your new study habit is to incentivize it with a reward. If food isn’t your thing, consider leveraging social media. For every 30 minutes of uninterrupted studying, give yourself a five-minute break.

However, if you don’t meet your habit goal, you don’t get the reward. Keep yourself accountable or ask your friends to keep you accountable. The important thing is that whatever reward you pick needs to be something you genuinely look forward to getting.

You can’t build a habit overnight. It will likely take weeks, if not months, before you cement your study habit. But if you follow these tips and identify a cue and a reward, you will put yourself on the path to success.

Build your study habits today

Building a solid study habit can transform your grades. Focus on staying organized, setting manageable goals, minimizing external distractions and creating a trigger for your habits. In this way, you can adopt and stick with a powerful study habit that will take your academic career to new heights.

Trevor Mahoney is wrapping up his last year at Santa Clara University where he studies Finance and Management Information Systems. He has been an avid reader his whole life, which evolved into a passion for writing while he studied abroad in New Zealand last year. He is currently searching for a post-college job and hopes to work at the intersection of business and technology.


  1. MaKennaandBud

    This was very helpful! I read this while Quizlet was down for a short period for time and I'm so happy they had a link for this article!! Thank you, I will definitely keep these tips in mind while I study from now on. :)

  2. Koolraul

    Thank you! Thank you! And Thank you!

  3. KierstenLove13

    Thank You That Is Very Helpful

  4. Hking853

    :) thank you! Great helper

  5. incredibleemilysherd


  6. Octavia_Farney

    Thank you for taking all this time to write this but in my opinion It was kind of hard to get through my head and understand.

  7. ectexas2

    Thank you, this article is amazing and full of priceless information! :)

  8. Nurse12345-D PLUS

    Thank you!
    Very Helpful.

  9. katlynncooke

    Thank you, this article got me thinking about how i have poor to not real study habits. I will look into improving my study habits and probably use your information to do so. i think that would help me a lot. thank you!😁

  10. Kaitlyn_Besmer

    Thank you, this article is very helpful.

  11. AJ_1917

    This was really helpful. Thank you.

  12. Autumn14___

    Super helpful! Thanks

  13. joineam6809

    Thank you this will help.

  14. GY7098

    This is very helpful!
    Please make more like this😛🙂🤞

  15. Noemi_Vallejo17 PLUS

    Thank you for the advice! :)

  16. bluelightening05

    thank you,this will help me with my test friday!!!

  17. D12311891

    When I was in elementary school work was a piece of cake but now that I am in middle school its harder to get my work done so when I saw this I said I had to try it since I had a big test the week I saw this I tried it and I am glad I did!
    Thank you so much!!!

  18. Daniel171490

    thank you for the helpful tips!!!

  19. YayaTaino

    Thank you for your information. These tips will really help with Nursing school classes

  20. Rebecca_Gould56

    Hey girl thank you a lot

  21. a00024529

    Thx for the advice make more encouragement like this plz

  22. jimmy2708

    Some very important infomation

  23. aron123422

    Thank you so much!

  24. awesomestudygirl1

    thumbs up

  25. Molly_Herbst

    All i see are the words jumbled(totally not saying this was you i have a bunch of disorders)so i really can't read this sorry :(

  26. Nikkolaibell_fsms

    Love the music quizlet posts, these tips help along with it. Thanks!

  27. clarkzyt000

    Thank you

  28. Corey_Mullin3

    Thank You

  29. amazingqcarter1

    this dont work jp thank u

  30. Eisenhauer_Grace8

    Thank you this was very helpful and now I can use these tips to help me study. Again thanks!!!! You guys who created Quizlet. I love to study on it for my Spanish 1A class. I also love the videos yo guys post on how to use it and the videos with Study with me Angelica Song. PLEASE POST MORE OF THOSE STUDY WITH ME!!! Love you guys. Thanks for trying to help us in school. Thanks!!

  31. Brooklyn_Honer

    ok i will try that on quizlet

  32. Jonaheastham

    not helpful at all

  33. igarrigus2029


  34. kevinm44522


  35. mhart57110

    If you have a horse as your profile picture Thank you.

  36. Felisha792

    Love the music!

  37. ss34611


  38. StellaRokks

    Thank you! I will definitely use these tips!

  39. jojomartin29


  40. lizzie20208


  41. Lolzomg


  42. Eman7422

    Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your constant generosity and your wonderful stances. Words of praise do not fulfill your right, and all expressions of gratitude do not describe the extent of my gratitude to you.

  43. mable2345

    sylvie man LOL

  44. Teresa_Jones37

    Thank you it was helpful

  45. bmay340


  46. bmay340


  47. eluginbill767


  48. Positivity307

    Thank you very helpful!

  49. Damieon61

    Thanl u so much

  50. smithkayt111

    love it

  51. Iris_C8

    Go Broncos! Class of '91. I definitely learned I had to create better study habits in my time at SCU.

  52. Elsiefirefighter

    thanks super helful!

  53. MaddyAllen1

    Thankyou so much this artical is really helpful

  54. Allenhardin

    Thanks super helpful!! :D

  55. DDG26


  56. Zachary25500

    it did not help me

  57. babygirl_andrea05

    Thank You

  58. amazingnatavia

    Great Information.

  59. katie13n5

    salamat po! (thank you in tagalog) :D

  60. loganspenc

    I read this a few times and when I realized what the article was about it was actually really helpful thanks quizlet for releasing this article 5/5 would recommend

  61. Gavind10207

    Thank you.

  62. ssmorgan55

    Thank you! These are great tips. I have not been able to effectively study because I don't have any study habits. Tha you for the information. I will definitely put it to use. Hopefully, I will be able to stick with it.

  63. Luke_Behrle

    fire tips 🥶🔥💯

  64. AWorkma

    thank you and gread info

  65. AWorkma

    and your info help me alot thanks

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