Online students may have difficulties finding information on how to develop study skills, all in one source. Doing a Google search will return an overwhelming number of sources, browsing this material will take time. You can start your path to success in online learning by following these simple techniques:

  • Select a time for study, and don’t change it
  • Write down your notes during online lectures using prepared notebooks
  • Find other students close to you and set up study groups

Study time

It is important you study every day, at least one hour per subject. Do not procrastinate, you will fall behind soon. Find a time during the day that works for you and don’t change it, unless something unexpected happens. Consistency and diligence will pay off in the long run. You will be able to keep up with classes and assignments if you follow these recommendations. Once you sit down to study do not stand up every minute for random excuses, this is the first hint you are procrastinating.

Some days you may feel bored or tired or and you might consider skipping study time for one day. Watch out because you are tricking your mind into giving up. Motivate yourself to keep going, you could have a treat after you finish your first hour of study. Do not reward yourself with screen or social media time, this will interfere with your learning. Some might say music and TV playing in the background is fine, I disagree.


When reading a textbook, avoid highlighting and preferably take notes on your notebooks. Use pens of different colors to draw attention to concepts and definitions. You can create minds maps and charts that condense the material you are reviewing, this way you will capture the essence of the textbook section or chapter. Additionally, you could make notes on the book margins, although this will not work for ebooks, so just write down your notes in your notebook.

It is important you interact as much as possible with your books, you may scan the assigned chapters before you take your online class, when you come back to study, read the book carefully and write down questions you may have from the lecture, after you review the book. Make connections between your class notes and your textbook notes, there you will elaborate more questions you can bring to your instructor.

Before your daily study, you may want to spend some time reorganizing your class notes. Preferably, write them down again in a more organized structure. Create special section in these notes for examples and exercises the instructor worked out during the online lecture. Sometimes they will distribute notes or materials related to the lecture, you may take notes there but write those again in your notebooks.

Study Groups

Unless your classmates actually live far from you, find a study group to meet for “study dates”. Even though an online course is convenient for those living far from campus, you should not be isolated during the duration of the course. A study group can help you create a deeper understanding of the material by quizzing each other, sharing notes, working on assignments and group projects.

For those students far from other classmates your instructor may have set online chat or discussion forums. An option used by many instructors is the virtual meeting where web cameras can share video streaming. These tools are meant to create an online community where students interact and create collaborations for group assignments and projects. The sessions could be conducted by the instructor or student themselves.


Follow these tips and you will be setting yourself up for a good start in your online classes. These are not the only practices you could implement in your studying but they are the most important. Setting study time that works for you creates a routine for keeping up with your classes and assignments. Organization of your notes is essential for an effective studying session, working on your notes and notebooks is not a waste of your time. You will reap the benefits when you study for your exams. Finally, interact with your fellow classmates either by meeting for study sessions or in virtual settings to work together in class assignments and projects.

Study Tips for Online Students