How to Study Without Boredom

Updated on November 19, 2014
My passion is history, what's yours?
My passion is history, what's yours? | Source

Study What You Love!

It may sound stupidly simple, but it works. Study something you enjoy! If you're passionate about a subject, you'll be more interested in learning, and you'll retain more knowledge. Studying won't feel like such a drag!

This is more often an option for high school and college students than for middle school and elementary students, since higher levels of education offer more freedom in choosing classes. Even if you're going for a lucrative degree or one with many employment opportunities (rather than one you love with all your heart), you should be able to complete most of your general education requirements by studying subjects you like, or ones you're interested in learning more about. Similarly, high school students often have the opportunity to choose elective classes. Do your research on the types of classes your school offers and keep track of selection and registration due dates to ensure that you get enrolled in classes you're excited about (or at least not dreading).

Love What You Study!

Okay, so studying what you love is not always an option. Sometimes you'll have to study subjects you find boring or worse, subjects you hate. Geometry was that subject for me.

If you can, try to think of things you find interesting about the subject. Listen for weird facts you can repeat to your friends or parents later; you'll sound smart. Try to figure out how the subject might be useful to you in life. For example, can you use basic math principles to improve your poker game? Will those dull, obscure grammar rules help you write a better resume to get that job you really want? Will quoting Shakespeare impress the cute girl at a party? Positive thoughts like this may serve as a gateway to become interested in subjects you have to study anyway, which will make the experience of learning about them much more pleasant and less boring for you!

Of course, sometimes you just can't bring yourself to try and enjoy a subject you loathe. I was never able to come up with anything even remotely good about studying geometry. That's ok! Don't give up yet. If you absolutely, completely hate a subject with every fiber of your being, consider your end game. Why are you studying this subject? I don't mean "because my parents made me" or "because I have to so I can graduate." What do you gain by studying? If you need to get good grades so your parents will raise your allowance, take a minute and think about all the things you could do with that extra money before you start studying. Let that cute summer dress or those new skateboard wheels motivate you. If you need to pass general education classes to get your degree, think about how proud you'll be on graduation day when you finally receive it. Let your ultimate goal be your motivation to stay alert and study hard!

Recently I had to study a bunch of geometry to pass the GRE. Nothing in the world could possibly make me enjoy it. But I thought about how getting a good GRE score would let me get into a much better graduate school where I could study library science and never have to see another geometry problem again. Understanding how a little bit of studying could help improve my life was a motivating factor to pay attention and study hard despite my frustration.

Geometry, my worst nightmare!
Geometry, my worst nightmare! | Source

Pick Your Battles

Wouldn't it be great if everyone was capable of earning straight A's in every subject? Well, given enough time, skilled instruction, and motivation, I believe that everyone can. HOWEVER, going for straight A's is not always practical. In cases where you have limited time and energy or a sub-par teacher, it's sometimes best to determine the effort to benefit ratio. If you're stuck studying a subject you hate, your teacher is crap, you have 4 other classes to pass, and the subject is not even relevant to your degree, consider how much you will actually benefit from earning an A vs. how much stress and difficulty you will go through to earn it. If your GPA is good and you enjoy your other classes, it is completely reasonable to shoot for earning a B or C instead of an A. In such cases, you should be able to cut down on the time you spend studying the hated subject and incur less boredom.

Just keep in mind that shooting for less than an A is not a good idea if you're on academic probation, if your previous grades have not been good, or if the subject matter of the class is necessary for your field of study.

Take Good Notes

Taking good notes is important! Make sure you have all the materials you need to facilitate studying. If your notes are messy and incomplete, studying will be a much more confusing and frustrating experience and you're more likely to get bored or give up.

Pay attention to the concepts your teacher says will be on the test. Make sure you record all the facts in a way that's easy to reference later so you won't have to spend extra time searching. A study guide helps a lot for this part of the process, but if your teacher doesn't offer one, just make sure your class notes and homework are neat and organized.

Pace Yourself

Make sure you start studying days ahead of time. Don't try to cram for your quizzes or exams. Studying for short periods of time is much better than studying for hours the night before. You should study a single subject for no more than one hour at a time, so make sure you leave yourself enough days to cover all the material. Once you've studied for an hour, take a break! Get something to eat, watch an episode of your favorite show, or do some housework. Studying the same subject for hours will cause you to get bored and burnt out much more quickly. If you want to continue studying after your break, make sure to switch it up. Study a totally different subject to keep your mind interested and engaged.

Choose the Right Time

Choose the time of day you're usually most alert and active to do your studying. This is different for everyone, so there isn't a single "best" time of day to study. But pay attention to your normal schedule and habits. If you find yourself getting sleepy and nodding off after lunch, don't try to study during that time! It will feel more boring and you won't remember as much. If you feel energized and awake after the gym, put in some study time then. If you're a night person, study in the evening, and if you're a morning person, get it over with early while you're at your peak.

Study With Friends!

This is possibly one of the best things you can do to avoid boredom while studying. Make friends in class or organize a study group. Teamwork always feels less like work and more like fun! Make sure you stay on track, but don't be afraid to joke and chat a little. Introducing humor into your study session will make it much less boring and it may help to jog your memory later. Studying with others is also a great option because they may have written down or remembered some information you forgot! Teaching and explaining are great ways to remember facts, so by helping each other, you'll help yourselves too!

Make Studying a Game

One final way to avoid boredom while studying is to make a game out of it. Try to come up with fun and clever ways to remember information. If you're studying in a group, see who can come up with the funniest rhyme or most witty pun. My personal favorite is "I ate and I ate and I got sick on the floor," which helped me remember that 8x8=64 in elementary school. Your memorization rhymes or phrases can be as silly as you want! Your teacher will never suspect that you earned an A by making up funny nicknames for historical figures or turning math concepts into bathroom humor!

Reward Yourself!

Now that wasn't so bad, was it? Once you've achieved a good grade, make sure you reward yourself. Pick up a bottle of your favorite soda on your way home from class, or allow yourself an extra hour of TV.

If you didn't get the grade you were hoping for, don't beat yourself up! Consider asking your teacher for pointers on how he or she would recommend studying the material. Remember, nobody's perfect. But if you keep trying, your new boredom-free study habits are sure to pay off over time. Just keep doing your best!


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    • brakel2 profile image

      Audrey Selig 2 years ago from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

      Hi Christy - I am crazy enough to love studying and love school. My friends were all like me, so it was fun studying in a group. Your ideas make sense, and the 8 times 8 is so hysterical. My daughter made up stuff like that for financial exams. I am sure many students will love your ideas. Pinning, Blessings, Audrey

    • Martin VK profile image

      Martin VK 4 years ago from Copenhagen, Denmark

      Thank you for this. Studying sometimes gets boring, but most often I find it to be a matter of finding the right approach and angle on a topic.. I don't think that sounding smart or impressing anyone should be the motivator for gaining knowledge, though..

    • profile image

      loksmi 4 years ago

      hehehe :) I used to reward myself for studying what I didn't like to :P

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

      Vinaya Ghimire 5 years ago from Nepal

      While in college, I usually joined my friends for a combine study when I encountered boredom sometimes. Thanks for other useful tips.

    • Christy Kirwan profile image

      Christy Kirwan 5 years ago from San Francisco

      Thanks! :)

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 5 years ago from New York

      Good information for trying to get through your studies. We all face things in life we don't like and if we can learn to handle them in school they may be easier later on!

      Voted up, useful, and interesting.