UNITED STATES—With school being back in session that means one thing: studying is a must. Rather you’re in grade school, middle school, high school, an undergraduate, graduate student or doctoral student, studying is part of your curriculum. There are some people who study with ease, and there are those who have a constant struggle to focus and balance studying with their social life.

For starters, I was someone who never really had to study much in grade, middle or high school, but once college dawned upon me that was an entirely different demon. Why? I never had to cram or memorize so much information in such a small amount of time. You know what scratch that, college teaches you to synthesize information to focus your abilities on the details that matter.

Yeah, some would call it a dirty trick by professors not telling students what to focus on and what not to focus on. I guess this is there way of getting you to think critically and be able to sift from the important versus the non-important. However, the biggest question to be raised when it comes to studying is rather there is a right or wrong way to study?

Hmm, I guess it all depends on the person. I know people who will look me dead in the eye and tell me they can study while watching TV. I would beg to differ. Can you finish homework, while watching TV? Yes, but can you absolutely STUDY while watching TV? No. Why? You’re not focused if you’re watching TV; you’re distracted and your focus is elsewhere. This is quite important when you are preparing for a major exam or test.

There are people who say they can only study at the library. For me it’s the WORST place to study. Why? It is not as quiet as people suspect, especially where I attended college. The level of noise absolutely drove me crazy. Our university had a West Wing and an East Wing.

The West Wing tended to be a bit more rowdy and loud, whereas the East Wing was a great place for absolute peace. If anything it’s the perfect area to study for an exam or to get some reading done. My only concern was that it was so quiet that it would at times be scary. With that being said, there are those who study better solo versus with others. Again that is a testament to one’s personality. I know whenever I studied with friends, nothing would ever get done; all we did was chat and discuss everything, but school.

However, you might be the type of person who can get a group of people together and stay on track to focus on the subject matter at hand. For those that can make that happen, more kudos to you. It is also important to note that, you need to be careful not to overextend yourself when it comes to studying. I would never recommend pulling an all-nighter.

Not only is it not smart, but it places you in a situation, where you might retain the information, but fall asleep while taking the exam or completely blank out once the exam is sitting in front of you. One of my best places to study for me was the laundry room. Do not ask me why because I cannot give you an answer, but I would get some of my best reading in the laundry room and I would maintain the information and the details that I read. Nope, it was not the study lounge, not my dorm room, not my bedroom, not the library. Whatever place helps you stay focused on the material you’re studying let that be the top priority.