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Study Smart, Not Hard: 6 Effective Techniques for Avoiding Procrastination

Student Life

Mon, June 10

High school and college students often struggle with procrastination by starting assignments right before the deadline, making notes a day before an exam, showing up for group projects only at the last minute, and more. These habits only increase pressure and stress levels, often leading to deteriorating mental health and academic performance. At this point, identifying gaps in your knowledge will help you understand what to focus on. In this article, we will explore six unique ways to avoid procrastination and study smart.

Image Credits: Firmbee from Unsplash


Blurting is an effective active recall study tool that requires you to recall information from memory. Essentially, you 'blurt' out all the information you remember from your study session on a piece of paper or document as precisely as possible. After you have exhausted your memory, go back to your notes and use them to highlight the areas where there were gaps and where you were incorrect in your 'blurting.' This method allows you to identify gaps in your knowledge, which helps you know what section to focus on during a time crunch. Additionally, visual aids while studying are especially helpful for neuro-divergent students, as they support their understanding and communication.

Feynman Technique

Richard Feynman was an American theoretical physicist and Nobel Prize winner best known for his quantum mechanics and thermodynamics work. Feynman was a genius, and he said that information is not learned until you can explain it and apply it in various situations. "You must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool," a principle he applied to all his intellectual work. So, he devised the Feynman technique, a four-step method that Feynman himself used. The steps include:

  1. Pretend to teach a concept you want to learn about to a student in the sixth grade.
  2. Identify gaps in your explanation. Go back to the source material to better understand it.
  3. Organize and simplify.
  4. Transmit (optional).

This technique is best for subjects like biology, physics, and chemistry, which involve complex processes and rules.

Image Credits: Madhero88 from Wikimedia Commons

Mind Maps

Mind mapping is another visual aid technique, a visual tool for organizing and representing information. Essentially, you start with a central topic (e.g., DNA Replication) and add subtopics and related concepts, making connections and branches along the way. This is similar to blurting but more visual.

Mind maps are highly customizable and can be adapted to suit different learning styles and preferences. You can visualize complex processes and relationships.

Image Credits: Tina Witherspoon from Unsplash

Tea-Light Pomodoro

It turns out that the small candles you may have come across in Ikea have other uses other than tea lights. A normal tea light can burn for 3-4 hours, and certainly, not many can stay concentrated for that long, but thinking of it like a game can help the process. Breaking your session into short intervals helps maintain focus and avoid burnout.

You can customize the intervals and breaks based on your preferences and attention span, enhancing productivity and retention. Apps like Flora, StudyBunny, and more can help utilize this technique.


Ever wonder how those study influencers or vloggers stay so productive during their study sessions? Having a time-lapse or something filming can keep you accountable while creating a visual record of your dedication and effort. Additionally, reviewing the time-lapse footage can provide valuable insights into your study habits and areas for improvement.

Spaced Repetition

The spacing effect suggests that information is better retained when studied repeatedly over spaced intervals. Instead of cramming all your studying into a single session, spread it out over several days and gradually increase the time between study sessions. For example, you might review material immediately after learning it, the next day, and a few days later.

Each time you review the material, try to recall it from memory (use the abovementioned techniques), which strengthens memory retention. Knowt, an up-and-coming flashcard app, has an option where you can learn through spaced repetition!

To conclude, you can avoid burnout, procrastination, and stress by adopting proper and unique study methods!

Bhavana Rupakula

Writer since Feb, 2024 · 3 published articles

Bhavana Rupakula is currently a junior at Carmel High School, interested in computer science, journalism and history. She is part of her school's yearbook staff, choir program and several other clubs (SciOly, Math Club, etc). In her free time, she enjoys coding, writing, listening to music, sleeping and making unique recipes.