UNITED STATES—When it comes to studying is there a right way? That is a question I have asked myself for years. For some of us, studying is easy, for others it’s a challenge that is very hard to overcome because you have to train yourself and your mind that if you want to do well you have to study.

The biggest question I get time and time again in the world of studying is rather time matters. That is a question that still remains debatable in my opinion. I believe that the material that you’re studying and the type of exam that you’re taking determines how much time may be best suited to studying. You might ask why I make that argument. Well, I’ve seen people spend hours and I mean hours studying for an exam and bomb horribly.

I understand the amount of time spent studying versus quality studying matters more than one can expect. Not many people think that. You can’t live with the perception that if I study 10 hours, I’m going to automatically earn a perfect score on the exam. Yes, most of us would like to think that, but its quality that wins every time. I am indeed a firm believer that you cannot study and watch TV at the same time. It limits your ability to properly focus on the material that is staring you in the face. Go ahead and tell yourself otherwise, than come test time see yourself have an epic brain freeze where you remember nothing that you ‘studied’ hours for.

Find a secluded room or area where the distractions are limited. It’s hard to make that happen, but it’s something that has to be completed. For most college students, it’s the library, but sometimes the library is a place that has more distractions because there is so much noise and melee taking place the ability to focus is lost. Sometimes the place where you least expect, turns out to be the best place to study.

For me that place is the laundry room. Can you believe it: you get to wash your clothes and get your reading or studying done at the same time! It’s pure genius! I’ve learned this over a series of years that my level of focus is at its best while doing laundry. I get into a zone; I can actually read material and comprehend what I’m reading without feeling confused as to what I just read. When it comes to math, the best way to prepare for the test is to practice actual problems. By doing so, you become comfortable with the steps.

When it comes to a memory test, I hate to say it, but flash cards work. It’s not easy to just read terms and the definitions and remember without any hiccups. The brain can only store so much, so recalling key terms or key phrases related to the actual term will deliver lightbulbs to the brain if you’re dealing with fill in the blank, multiple choice or matching questions.

Now for the big kahuna: essay questions. I find these the most difficult to prepare for because the level of material you have to prepare for can be small or grand in nature. That’s problematic, the more material you have you never know precisely what to study and what to overlook. It doesn’t help when the teacher or professor doesn’t give an indication as to what you should focus your attention on, and what you should disregard.

I have heard the excuse from several previous professors of mine that the reason they decide not to disclose what is on the exam is to see if students are able to prepare by taking slices of all the material to grasp the big picture. Yeah, trying to pinpoint what material in over 400 pages of material is more important than others is no easy task.

Studying is something that we all have to learn at some point in our lives, even at work you have to ‘study’ to become routinized to certain tasks and grasps a level of mastery with certain things. We might hate to study, but there is a reason it’s important it helps us maintain knowledge.