Part of preparing for graduate school is learning to study well and take good notes. Here are some effective studying tips for grad students.

Graduate school is on another level from undergraduate life. More years have been added into your life, so you’ve become a little wiser, but most importantly, it’s like being on the peak of everything you’ve learned and gained so far in your life.

Needless to say, being a postgrad, whether you’re taking your Masters or Ph.D., is absolutely not a walk in the park. There are so many things you have to do and more responsibility to shoulder on.

Gone are the professors constantly monitoring your performance nor overbearing parents checking up on you. You’re an adult and you’re now solely responsible for your future.

Studying will be one hell of a ride, too, that’s for sure. But luckily, there are tips you can follow to help ease your burden by making it easier, even if it’s just a tad bit, for you throughout your graduate life. Continue reading to know about these tricks.

10 Studying Tips For Graduate Students (Masters and PhDs)

Are you struggling to make it out alive in graduate school? Learn how to study for your Masters or Ph.D. degree without worrying about burning out.

grad school study tips

1. Be organized

Not just your student life, but also your personal life, will improve if organized well. Keeping track of your course work helps you save time and easily find information or material you need.

Your work area should be clutter-free so you can focus more on your projects and studies. Graduate school requires far more comprehensive learning and information analysis and organizing is one huge step to success.

2. Map your everyday schedule of the week

Many grad students also work while completing their Master’s or Ph.D. degree. Planning comes very much in handy, especially when life becomes too intense. Juggling from your job to studies is probably the most difficult thing to do.

But with a schedule to guide you on what things and when they need to be done will help keep your afloat. Dealing with multiple things at once is common in grad school, so outlining your schedule for the week can be a great help.

3. Don’t lose hope

You may feel like giving up, but just keep on holding on. Accepting whatever happens helps in keeping your motivation intact. Sooner or later, you’ll get on the finish line, too. No postgrad student had it easier because there will always be crises and hurdles in their writing or research.

It’s normal to feel overwhelmed with the work. You can feel frustrated, but don’t lose hope. Give it time. The results will get there soon. You can take inspiration and strength in knowing that only a handful are courageous enough to do what you’re doing.

grad school advice for studying

4. Failures can happen

Sometimes, even the most skilled, smartest, and confident person can experience failures. And that’s okay. Whether it’s your fault, an innocent accident, or just a bad stroke of luck, failures always have a way of creeping in no matter what. Ironically, the best way to overcome your fear of failing is to experience it a couple of times.

When that happens, you’ll realize that at the end of each failure, there’s a valuable lesson you can learn from. Of course, no one enjoys failing, but don’t take it as if it’s the end of the world.

5. Know how to manage your time wisely

Switching between work, school, social life, and other activities can be mind-boggling, not to mention extremely exhausting. It takes a very disciplined person and good time management skills to do all those things with little to no compromises.

Make sure to set a non-negotiable schedule every day to do your schoolwork. You should never skip nor reschedule this.

6. Expand your knowledge

Aside from academic problems, graduate life also means facing challenges in creativity, motivation, and time management. Reading other types of material can help you cope better with other non-academic areas.

Make time to read some personal skills, productivity, and business books. They offer advice, study techniques, and general tips in building essential skills for all kinds of roles. Plus, sticking on just a single type of content could narrow your thoughts.

7. Be thorough when taking notes

Mind you, if grad students can go back in time, they’d likely want to do better in note-taking. Stay updated on all your research and it’ll be a lot easier when you need to do some writing up in the future. Make your notes thorough, gather your results in an orderly manner, and be on top of it as you go along.

study tips for grad students

8. Don’t ignore your small signs of progress

You may lose motivation halfway through your Masters or Ph.D. because you think you haven’t made huge progress. This usually happens when you’ve set your mind to think that achieving milestones like publishing a paper is akin to success. Sure, it’s a great thing to accomplish, but goals like those take a long time.

You should know how to praise yourself even for small doses of success. If you focus instead on these smaller signs of progress, you’ll see that your mind and heart feel so much lighter. Stop rushing and pressuring yourself. Seek satisfaction from any progress you’ve made.

9. Locking yourself up won’t help

You might be tempted to shut yourself in your room or somewhere to cut off communication from other people just so you can focus solely on studying. However, this isn’t healthy nor is helpful, as being with other people or attending seminars and conferences helps you learn new things.

Hiding won’t do any good. Rather, you should communicate with your friends, colleagues, and supervisors. Grab any opportunity to learn from others while you can.

10. Plan a trip away

There’s no better reward than going on a holiday trip. Plan a short vacation once you have enough time to unwind so you can be motivated even more to do good with your studies. Stress and mental problems happen a lot to postgraduate students, especially those taking a Ph.D., so it’s very important to take some time off once in a while.

With those 10 study tips, surely, you’ll be able to see a huge difference in your school performance. And remember, when starting anything new, especially as taxing as a master’s or Ph.D. degree, an adjustment period is normal. Don’t give up easily. You’ll eventually get to the end of the rainbow.


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