🎓 The Ultimate Guide to Studying

Studying for exams is one of the best things in the world. Isn’t that right?

If there's one thing that's going to completely transform our school, college or university experience, it's how to study effectively. But the weird thing about studying effectively is that we're never taught how to do it. We may get the odd bit of advice from a teacher but usually not much more than that.

I discovered all this effective studying stuff when I was in my 2nd year of medical school, and it completely changed the game for me - not only in terms of making my studying more effective but it also freed up my time to start my own business and later my YouTube channel, while still getting pretty good exam results at university.

My Free, In-Depth Masterclass

The best way to get started and learn about the most effective, evidence-based study techniques is to take my How to Study for Exams Masterclass on Skillshare. If you don't have a Skillshare subscription, you can sign up to a free 2-month trial. You can always cancel your subscription during the trial if you don't want to pay for it, although for $10/month, it's totally worthwhile.

How to Study for Exams - An Evidence-Based Masterclass | Ali Abdaal | Skillshare
Being able to study efficiently and effectively is a superpower. As students, it boost our grades, reduces our stress levels and frees up our time to do more i...

All posts by date

How To Study: The Essay Memorisation Framework

March 30, 2020

As a medical student, I did have to undertake some exams that required writing essays. One of the questions I often get asked is how you can apply techniques such as active recall and spaced repetition – that I frequently discuss as being ‘the best’ revision techniques – to essay-based subjects. During my third year […]

How To Study: Using the Method of ‘The Great Explainer’

March 20, 2020

“The first principle is that you must not fool yourself and you are the easiest person to fool”  Richard Feynman   When we’re studying, it can be easy to think that we have a grasp of a subject, especially if we feel confident that we’ve learnt our notes and we feel that we can adequately […]

How To Study: An Effective Learning Framework To ‘STIC’ With

February 20, 2020

With spring just around the corner and winter fading away, thoughts are starting to turn towards a different season – that of exams. Being able to study in a way which is both efficient, effective and successful is the dream of all students and it’s an area that I’ve researched quite widely. I’m sure we’ve […]

The Pomodoro Technique – The ‘Tomato Inspired’ Strategy to Improve Productivity

February 18, 2020

The Pomodoro Technique is perhaps the simplest productivity and time-management strategy which we can all use – you don’t need any technical apps or sophisticated technology; all you need is a timer! The technique was ‘invented’ in the early 1990s by developer, entrepreneur, and author Francesco Cirillo. Cirillo noticed that when faced with large tasks […]

How To Study: The Power of Retrospective Revision Timetables

February 13, 2020

Revision timetables are often praised as the best way to structure your time in a coherent, logical manner. It’s certainly true that they can have some benefits and I know that revision timetables can work for some people – that’s absolutely fine. But are we using them in the correct way? Is the standard ‘prospective’ […]

How to Study: Spaced Repetition and My ‘Magic’ Spreadsheet System

February 11, 2020

The amount of time we spend revising is always a controversial issue – some people prefer to downplay how much time they’ve spent revising whereas others are keen to tell you how much revision they’ve done. The fact is we’re all different in how much time we spend studying but if active recall is an […]

How To Study: Active Recall – The ‘High Utility’ Technique You Should Be Using

February 9, 2020

If rereading, highlighting and summarising aren’t effective methods of revising, then what should we be doing? The two most effective methods that I’ve come across are active recall and spaced repetition which, in combination, will help make your studies more efficient, effective and rewarding. I’ll cover spaced repetition in a future post but for now I’ll concentrate on active […]

How To Study: 3 Popular Revision Techniques You Should Avoid

February 4, 2020

Revision is personal. How we revise, the techniques we use and the time we spend trying to revise will vary but we do all drift towards techniques that feel intuitively productive. We’re never sure what is the optimal technique but research has shown that by far the most popular strategies revolve around rereading, highlighting and […]

Force yourself to start

September 23, 2018

If you want to start something, don’t wait, just start. Writing a personal statement or an essay? Great, just start typing and force yourself to write something. It doesn’t matter if it sucks, because you can always edit it later, but you need to write something. Want to start a blog? Great, start writing your […]

Dealing with Bad Grades

July 29, 2017

I’ve had a few messages from students who were disappointed by their exam results and wanted some of my wannabe-life-guru advice on how to deal with the sadness they were feeling. Let’s tackle the symptom first, and then the disease.


I've created a load of videos on my YouTube channel which talk through my study techniques in detail, but I've linked a few of my favourites here to get you started.

How to study for exams - Evidence-based revision tips
🎬 Check out my FREE 36-video online class on how to study for exams - https://skl.sh/2UOx68x Today we’re learning how to study for exams with scientifically-...
How I take notes on my iPad Pro in medical school - Cambridge University medical student
📝My favourite iPad Screen Protector - Paperlike - https://paperlike.com/ali 🎬 My FREE 4.5-hour 36-video online class on how to study for exams - https://skl....

My Ultimate Guide to Studying

There's a large amount of scientific evidence out there that can tell us a lot about how to study in a way that maximises our results and minimises the amount of time we have to put in. I've created these resources for you which share my recommendations.

✏️ How-To Study Guides

How To Study: Active Recall - The High Utility Technique you Should Be Using

How To Study: The Essay Memorisation Framework

How To Study: The Power of Retrospective Revision Timetables

How To Study: Spaced Repetition and My 'Magic' Spreadsheet System

How to Study: An Effective Learning Framework To 'STIC' With

And here are the 3 popular revision techniques I'd recommend avoiding too, as they've been proven not to boost performance.