A study guide to successful studies

Robert Lapic

Most high school students don’t enjoy studying; however, many students know that if they want to do well in school, studying is necessary. Studying habits vary from person to person: some people prefer to study directly after school, while others choose to allow themselves a break and wait to study. Sometimes these habits will change depending on a person’s motivation. 

According to the American Psychology Association, a student’s amount of motivation depends on two major things: first, how much energy a student has because, when humans are tired, they are less motivated. Secondly, to what extent the student enjoys the topic affects one’s motivation to study the subject matter. If you are interested in the class or topic, it is likely that you will have more motivation to study. Students can utilize these methods — changing their environment, increasing their energy level, enjoying their study material and creating possible rewards — to increase their motivation to study. 


Changing the Surrounding Area

Typing on his phone, a student is distracted from his studies.

The environment in which a person studies heavily influences their motivation. For optimal motivation and productivity, the environment should be easy to focus in.

One way to reduce distractions is to silence your phone. According to a study conducted by Florida State University, phone notifications are generally short in duration; however, they can prompt task-irrelevant thoughts or mind-wandering, which has been shown to damage task performance. Many environmental factors depend on the student. If the student gets distracted by music easily, then it can detract from productivity, but for others, music can help them focus more and be more productive, according to Florida National University. 

Another possible distraction is friends. If a student or their friends struggle to focus while around other students, then it’s best avoid studying with others. However, according to research by Torrens University, studying in a group can keep students motivated because of the shared responsibility. Overall, most environmental choices, like the study location, depend on each student’s preferences.


Energy Level

One of the main reasons students find themselves struggling to study is because of low energy. According to an article by The Sleep Doctor, when humans have low energy, it’s difficult to focus, which decreases a person’s motivation to study.

There are multiple methods to increase a person’s energy level. The first, and most obvious, is to take a nap. This is more practical for students who have a lot of free time. However, for students that have extracurriculars and don’t have time to rest, there are other options as well. These students can take a shower, as cold water is especially effective for waking the body up. Additionally, exercise can be energizing. Exercise will get blood flowing throughout the body and leave the student feeling more awake and ready to combat the practice of studying. If you don’t have a lot of time to exercise or take a nap, coffee is always a reliable solution.


Study Material

The subject a student is studying can increase or decrease motivation. When a student enjoys the material they are studying, then it’s naturally easier to study; however, the opposite also applies. If a student doesn’t find the subject matter interesting, it can be even more difficult to study it. One tip to combat a boring subject is to find one aspect or subtopic that is interesting and start by studying that. Then, try to use the momentum gained through that subtopic to continue.



Using rewards can be a great method to gain motivation. One common reward is a break. According to research by Cornell Health, a student should take a five to 10 minute break from studying about every hour.

Exercising during a study break, students utilize the reward method of studying.

 This break allows a student’s mind to reset and recharge before continuing. One possible way of implementing breaks is by using a reward system based on content instead of time. For instance, instead of taking breaks every hour, students can rest after they finish a certain number of problems or chapters. Breaks aren’t the only possible reward; treats such as candy or watching television shows are also common end prizes.


A variety of factors contribute to a student’s motivation to study. It is important to understand these elements so students can use them to their advantage. Most of these factors vary by student, so oftentimes the most motivating strategy isn’t that of your friends, but one that is custom to you.