Study Tips: Human thinking explained

human thinking explained

It isn’t easy to have human thinking explained. For most of us, thinking is at least somewhat unpleasant. We try to avoid it, where possible.

The reality is that we all have blind spots in our thinking due to the fundamental way that our brains work. One way of modeling how the brain operates is as though there are two systems at work.

Drew and Hazelyn

Psychologists call them system one and system two, but maybe it’s useful to think of them as characters. So let’s call system one Hazelyn and system two Drew.

Drew represents your conscious thought, the voice in your head. This is the voice that says, “I am who you think you are.” He’s the one capable of following instructions. Drew can execute a series of steps too. But Drew is lazy. It takes effort to get Drew to do anything, and he is slow. But he’s also the careful one, capable of catching and fixing mistakes.

Now meet system one, Hazelyn. She is incredibly quick, which she needs to be since she’s constantly processing lots of information coming through your senses. Hazelyn picks out the relevant bits and discards the rest, which is most of it. She also works automatically without Drew being consciously aware of it.

The way I like to think of these characters is related to one of your main memory structures. Hazelyn’s automatic responses are made possible by long-term memory. This is the library of experiences you’ve built up over your lifetime.

In contrast, Drew exists entirely within working memory so he’s only capable of holding four or five novel things in mind at a time. This is perhaps one of the best-known findings from psychology. Our capacity to hold and manipulate novel information is incredibly limited like when trying to remember a string of random numbers.

But we are able to overcome these limitations if the information is familiar to us.

How to test Drew

Let me give you four random digits “8102″. Now these would normally take up most of your working memory capacity just to remember. But if you reverse them, 2018, they are now just the present year.

The process of grouping things together according to your prior knowledge is called chunking. You can actually hold four or five chunks in working memory at once. So the larger the chunks the more information you can actively manipulate at one time.

Learning is then the process of building bigger chunks by storing and further connecting information in long-term memory. This is essentially passing off tasks from Drew to Hazelyn. In order for this to happen, Drew first has to engage with the information actively, often multiple times.

For example, when you were first learning to tie your shoelaces, you probably recited a rhyme to help you remember what to do next. You used up all your working memory in the process. But after doing it over and over and over again, it gradually became automatic. Drew doesn’t have to think about it anymore because Hazelyn gets it.

Musicians and sports stars refer to this as muscle memory. Of course, the memory is not the muscles. It’s still in the brain, just controlled by Hazelyn. Slow and deliberate conscious practice repeated often enough leads to automatic processes.

99% of the time what appears to be superhuman ability comes down to the incredible automation skills of Hazelyn and developed through the painstaking deliberate practice of Drew. What’s interesting is that it’s actually possible to see how hard Drew is working just by looking at someone.

Here’s an exercise

I’m going to show you four digits, I want you to read them out loud and then after two seconds, I want you to say each number, but adding one to each digit.

So, as an example, 7 2 9 1 should be… 8 3 0 2. This is called the Add One task and it forces Drew to hold these digits and memory while making manipulations to them.

Now it’s important to say the numbers at the end of two seconds, but this time try to add three. Ready? Here’s another one:






What you’re unaware of is that as you’re completing this task, your pupils are dilating. When Drew is hard at work as he is in this task, you have a physical response. This includes increased heart rate, sweat production, and pupil dilation.

When this research was originally carried out, the researchers made a surprising observation. When the participants were not engaged with the tasks and were just chatting with the experimenters, their pupils didn’t really dilate at all. This indicates that the Add One and Add Three tasks are particularly strenuous for system two. Most of our day-to-day life is a stroll for Drew with most tasks are handled automatically by Hazelyn. We spend a lot of our lives lounging around. Our brains also spend most of their time doing the mental equivalent.

And I don’t mean to make that sound like a bad thing! This is how our brains evolved to make the best use of resources. For repetitive tasks, we developed automatic ways of doing things, reserving Drew’s limited capacity for things that really need our attention. In some circumstances, there can be mix-ups of course.

For example, if you spend any amount of time in Australia, one of the first things you will need to relearn is to turn the lights on by flicking the switch down. If you grew up in North America, Drew, “knows” that “down” was “off” in Australia. Oops!

Drew endorses the idea of flipping the switch down to turn off without being consciously aware that the answer came from Hazelyn. He goes forward without checking it. After all, the direction sounds reasonable and Drew is lazy.

So how do you get Drew to do more work?

Researchers have found at least one way. When they gave out a clearly printed test including the “Bat and Ball”question to incoming college students, 85% got at least one wrong. When they printed the test in a hard-to-read font with poor contrast, the error rate dropped to thirty-five percent. The harder to read test resulted in more correct answers. The explanation for this is simple. Since Hazelyn can’t quickly jump to an answer, he hands off the task to Drew who then invests the required mental effort to reason his way to the correct answer.

When something is confusing, Drew works harder. When Drew works harder, you’re more likely to reach the right answer and remember the experience.

This is something the advertising industry can use to its advantage.

Here’s a billboard with no clear meaning:

human thinking explained studygate

There is no logo and no indication of what it is for. This seems to go against all the basic principles of advertising. The viewer should see what the product does, how it’s better than the competition, and observe clear branding. The goal is usually to make the message as easy to understand as possible so Drew doesn’t have to work very hard.

But if you look at a lot of effective advertising today, it’s changed to be more confusing. There really is an “Un” advertisement campaign in Sydney, Australia, and they are everywhere. With “Un” there is no stress, just unstress. No hassle, just unhastle. With “Un” you can undo what you did, you can undrive through the car wash with the window down or unbreak dance in front of your teenage son. And his friends. “Un” makes life relaxing and unreal. “Un” your life. Be happy and live for now. Don’t worry. Unworry.

Can you guess what the ads were for?

They’re actually for insurance.

Now that advertising is everywhere, Hazelyn is skilled at filtering it out. If I see another insurance ad, I never would give it a second thought. But if something doesn’t make sense, my mind refers it to Drew.

This same realization has been happening in education. Lectures which have long been the dominant teaching method are now on the decline.

Like the old form of advertising, they’re too easy to tune out and often, especially in science lectures, too many new pieces of information are presented. That exceeds Drew’s capacity because he doesn’t have big enough chunks to break the material into.

In place of lectures, universities are introducing workshops, peer instruction, and formats where students are forced to answer more questions, and do more work than just listen and take notes.

This will undoubtedly make Drew work harder, which is good because that’s how learning happens, but a lot of students don’t like it because it requires more effort. Just as it’s hard to motivate someone to get off the couch and exercise, it’s hard to get Drew to give his full effort. There’s an appeal to doing things you already know.

That’s why we need Hazelyn to push Drew and do something new.

Original content by Veritasium

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8 Advanced Study Tips

8 Advanced Study Tips

Advanced study tips you’ll get from professors and other people who want you to be better in school are too often really basic.

They’ll tell you to sit up front in class and scan your textbooks instead of reading every single chapter.

Maybe you want something better to increase your focus. When you play fighting games, you want to know the frame rate in every single move set and analyze each matchup instead of just playing the game and “having fun.”

You’re the same way with studying. You want to find really advanced tips to hack your learning. You want to find things that don’t come up when you get your basic study tips. This is the blog for you. Are you ready for 8 advanced study tips? Let’s get started!

Advanced Study Tips Infographic

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Use the Corson technique

Dale Corson was the eighth president of Cornell University, and he was also a chemistry professor. He said that students in chemistry and other science and math programs often have to work really hard to crack problems one sentence at a time as they go through their textbooks or problem sets.

Sometimes you get to a point where you just can’t crack the problem on your own and you need to ask for help. So you go to your professor!

What Dale Corson wants you to think about before you actually talk to a professor is to pause and ask yourself: what is it that I truly don’t understand?

He wants you to get away from this thing that a lot of students do where they go to their professor and with a general wave of the hand and say “I don’t understand what I’m looking at, like this is just confusing to me, I don’t get it.” Instead, he wants you to pick apart the problem one sentence at a time and figure out the exact point at which you don’t get what’s going on.

When you can pinpoint that, you’re going to impress your professor with your preparation and the amount of effort you put into the problem. You will get some brownie points there, but you’re also working to practice the art of recognizing confusion and following it down to its actual source.

Spaced repetition

Spaced repetition is the art of studying things at increasingly bigger and bigger intervals of time. It’s a very efficient way to study, but it also takes advantage of the way your brain works. If you know that individual fact very well, you will not see it for quite a while. In contrast, if there is a fact that you don’t know, you’re going to see that more and more frequently.

Your brain is trying to recall information and you’re forcing it out at the closest time possible to when you are about to forget it. This makes your brain work as hard as it possibly can to recall this information and it encodes it better. This makes you more efficient so you can actually learn a lot faster now.

The best way to take advantage of this is to use a free and generalized program called Anki. You can actually create your own card sets for any type of data that you think you would want to study or you can download shared card decks here.

Definitely check this out. Preparing your own card decks is very useful, but even going through the shared decks and studying them is more efficient than using flashcard study methods on paper.

Method of Loci

The method of loci goes back to the Greek and Roman times. It is a memorization method that has been used by memory champs for a long time. It essentially takes advantage of your brain’s ability to remember spatial information very well through visualization. The classic way to do it is to associate certain sets of data with different rooms of a house.

For example, this is the symbol for “King” in Japanese:

The way that you say “king” in Japanese is “Oh.” Unfortunately, “Oh” is a really simple pronunciation. It doesn’t really lend itself to well to mnemonics. If you wanted to adapt the method of loci to learning this word, you could associate “king” with “toilet.”

No, I am not against using five-year-old humor here!

What do you say when you smell the toilet?

If you really wanted to make this study technique useful,  you could go into the bathroom and put a flashcard on the toilet. Then you can walk through my house and use this method for all sorts of words. Now the method of loci is not as easy to apply as Anki, but if you’ve got a lot to memorize and nothing else has worked, this might be worth your time.

Hack akrasia

Akrasia is a term that has been written about for centuries and it goes back to Plato. It’s essentially a lack of command over oneself.

There’s another even more complex term called picoeconomics. Basically, we discount the value of a task the more it is delayed and the more the reward is pushed off into the future. We tend to procrastinate and do fun things that don’t really align with our values in the short term and avoid doing things that really do line up with our values because the reward is delayed.

So there are two ways to hack akrasia.

First, use a commitment device bind yourself to getting your task done on time. I love Beeminder.

Second, add a shorter term reward to completing a task. You can put gummy bears on your textbook. As you read each paragraph, you can allow yourself to eat each gummy bear. You can also let yourself watch an episode of Game of Thrones once you finish an assignment.

Game of Thrones 8 advanced study tips
Give yourself a reward after you complete that assignment!

Just make sure you give yourself some fun experience and a goal when you finish the study problem set. Otherwise, you risk causing akrasia.

Improve the Pomodoro Technique

In case you haven’t heard of the Pomodoro technique, it’s simply where you set a timer for 25 minutes and then work only on one task during that 25-minute session. Then you take a 5-minute break.

It’s very useful, but there are some areas for improvement:


Tocks are essentially a Pomodoro session except that you use 45 minutes and then take a 15 minute break instead of the classic 25-minute 5-minute break structure. The tip here is to experiment with the time intervals. Don’t just set yourself to 25 minutes and assume that that’s the only potential interval that you could study at. Find what works for you!

Distraction list

Put a piece of paper next to you during your Pomodoro session. Whenever anything comes up to distracts you like a phone call or the urge to check Facebook, write it down. This lets you remember what the distraction was and if it happened to be something urgent you can take care of it during your break time. Also, as you continue to do lots of Pomodoro sessions over many weeks, you start to see the common problems that distract you. You can then take steps to prevent these things.

Focused and diffused thinking

In A Mind for Numbers: How to Excel at Math and Science Even if You Flunked Algebra, Barbara Oakley describes the chess strategy of Magnus Carlsen. He is currently the number one player in the world, but back in 2004 when he was just 13 years old he played Garry Kasparov to a draw. Kasparov is still considered one of the best chess players in the world. But look at what Carlsen does from these screenshots here!

Diffused thinking 8 Advanced study tips
Playing chess with Kasparov
Diffused thinking 8 Advanced study tips
Carlsen getting “distracted,” but not really
Diffused thinking 8 Advanced study tips
Diffused thinking to study the moves of others

Oakley has pointed out that Carlsen uses diffused thinking. Focused thinking takes advantage of your prefrontal cortex to focus on one specific set of data and one specific problem. But it sort of doesn’t let the rest of your brain become activated.

A lot of ideas come from different nodes of your brain connecting different completely unrelated ideas in new and different ways. That’s the diffused mode of thinking. So when you’re learning something new, you want to use diffused thinking. You can grok the present problem and then tie it to other nodes in your brain to understand it. If you only try to focus on the problem and do nothing else, you’re going to have a lot harder time solving the problem.

Gauge your classes

The goal is to measure the speed at which your professor moves and at which you’re able to understand. If your professor tends to go too fast and you can’t really understand everything he’s presenting, then you want to take some steps to fix that problem.

One thing you could do is read through the chapter before a lecture. Maybe if you have some material that outlines what’s going to begin the lecture, you can look at the most relevant parts of the textbook to prime your brain for the lecture.

Another thing you can do if the class pace is just too fast is to simply ask your professor for help or ask questions in the middle of class. Professors are there to help you and you should take advantage of that.

Start alone to recognize confusion

When you do a problem set with a partner you’re kind of robbing yourself the opportunity to really pinpoint gaps in your understanding. If two people are going at the same problem at the same time, one person might be able to do the entire thing. The other person can sort of kind of get where the first person is coming from. You’re going to latch on to their answer and say “yeah I sort of get that” and then you’re going to move on. But if you do it alone then you’re going to be able to pinpoint those areas of confusion and address them before you get into a group.

Content originally presented on YouTube.

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11 Secrets to Memorize Things Quicker than Others

Infographic Memorization Tips

Have you seen the movie Limitless? The main character found a special pill that allowed him to recall all experience and memorize things quicker whenever he needed to.

Too bad this isn’t true for real life! Unfortunately, we forget a lot of information over the course of our lives.

In this post we’ll share with you some simple memorization tips and a universal formula that will retrieve any information from memory when you need it. Ready? Let’s get started!

First of all, it’s important to remember your brain is like a hard drive. The space is limited! Remember that Sherlock Holmes couldn’t name all the planets of the solar system. He wasn’t stupid, it’s just that he was too smart to have such irrelevant information in his memory.

Instead, Sherlock deliberately erased facts he would never need from his memory. We all do this to some degree. Some of us are less conscious about it than Sherlock, but your brain deletes unneeded information for you regardless. This protects you from overloading with information. That’s why all new data is stored in the short-term memory not the long one. If you don’t repeat it or use it you forget it very quickly.

A German psychologist named Hermann Ebbinghaus researched the memory and its mechanisms. He described the forgetting curve by showing that just one hour after learning something new we forget more than half of the learned information.

One day later we remember only about 30%. You get the idea!

So how to remember everything? There is a memorization technique called spaced repetition to keep some information in your head for a longer time when you need something in your long-term memory.

Forced memorization is not very effective in this case because your brain can’t make sense of the information quickly and form strong associations. It all depends on the reason why you are learning something.

There are two big strategies to consider to memorize things quicker:

The first is when you need to learn the information quickly, use it once, and forget most of it. This looks like a typical exam preparation.

To memorize something quickly, repeat the information right after learning it. The second repetition should be after 15 to 20 minutes. You don’t need to return to the information between repetitions. Instead, just rest and do something different to let your brain relax. Then repeat the learned material the third time after 6 to 8 hours. You should have the final repetition 24 hours after the first contact with the information.

But how do you memorize something if you want to remember things for a long time? If you need to extend the memorization period, here’s the plan:

a. The first repetition should be right after learning just like in the previous technique. Then repeat the material after 20 to 30 minutes.

b. The third repetition should be only after one day.

c. The next one comes after two to three weeks.

d. The final round is after two to three months.

This way you can learn something for a very long time. The brain thinks that if you return to the information it means that it’s necessary, so it doesn’t get erased.

With that said, here are eleven simple tips that will help you memorize things quicker!

Memorize things quick infographic

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1. Try to understand what you learn

You probably know the feeling when you’re learning something but you don’t understand. The information usually turns into a nightmare because it looks like learning a poem that has no rhyme.

Another bad thing about learning something you don’t understand is that

if you forget some part of it you will not be able to continue. This is because you have only memorized the order of words and not their actual meaning. Instead, you should read the entire piece of information and figure out what the main point or points are.

Try to retell what you have read using your own words. Do it as simply as you can. If you are successful that means you understood the information and now it will be way easier to memorize the details.

2. Learn the most necessary information

If you feel like you have too much on your plate, set your priorities correctly. Decide what you have to know and what you can do without just fine. Focus on the key parts of what you need to memorize. If you find some time to devote to the less important information, that’s great but it can be done later.

3. Embrace the serial position effect

No this is not when you position your Cheerios on the right side of the table and your homework on the left when learning something new! Things that are at the beginning and the end are memorized the best. Use this effect to your advantage. Sort the information so that the key parts are at the beginning and at the end.

4. Interference theory rocks!

Switch your attention from one topic to another and from one activity to another. For example, you’re preparing for a public talk. You’ve learned the text for 15 minutes. Now it’s time to take a break and rest every 15 to 20 minutes. This is the period when attention is at its best.

Unfortunately, people usually stop being attentive during this time. The best thing you can do is switch to something completely different like playing the guitar or blasting bush campers on Fortnite.

Another thing you should be careful with is learning similar information. Interference theory suggests that similar memories get mixed up and become a mess. That’s why if you know you’re about to learn something that at least remotely resembles what you’ve already learned, we recommend taking a long break before starting something new.

5. Learn opposite things

Opposites are easily memorized in pairs. If you’re learning a new

language, work on learning at the beginning of the day and at night too. This way, you will build a connection between these two events in your mind. If you forget one study session, the second one will help you recall.

6. Build your own mind palace

This is about Sherlock Holmes again. Do you remember how he could travel in his mind palace for hours looking for the necessary information?

The idea is to associate items to memorize with a certain object. If you are in your room, try to connect the thing you are learning to something in your room. Recall the objects a few times after that to recall what the room looks like in your memory and repeat the things you associated with each object.

Want to make this technique even better? Divide all the concepts you need to memorize into a few parts. Then place these parts in different parts of your apartment. Better yet, place them in different places in your city.

This way the memorized information won’t be something dull or boring. Instead, it will be associated with some other memories like smells of places and people you saw there.

7. Use nail words

The point of this technique is to nail one learned thing to another. If you need to memorize the French word for nail, you should also look up wall, hammer, and other related words that you can logically connect to nail.

8. Make up stories

If you need to memorize a lot of information in a particular order, try to put the pieces into a story. It’s important that the pieces are connected to each other with some kind of plot. This way, if you accidentally forget something, you can always recall what was supposed to happen next in the story.

Yes, this might seem like you need even more effort but it’s true! Believe us, it works wonders!

9. Use a tape recorder

Record the information somehow you are learning and listen to the recording a few times. We don’t think anyone uses tape recorders anymore, but you get the point!

Yes, it might take you some time to get used to the sound of your voice. It might seem strange or unpleasant in the beginning, but this method is handy because it allows all types of memory to work.

First, you read the information so you can see it with your eyes. Then you hear it with your ears. The more contact you have with what you are learning, the better you can memorize it!

10. Visualize

Use your body language when learning. This will help you trigger your muscle memory. Use expressive gestures to recite to yourself what you just learned in front of a mirror. Emotions like anger and awe have the strongest effect on us. With a little acting, this technique will internalize your studies.

11. Choose only the best materials

Don’t use outdated books and methods of learning. Things have changed a lot since textbooks were written. Don’t waste your time on something that may turn out to be wrong. Go online and check the most recent information on the subject.

Content originally posted on YouTube by Brightside

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How to destroy homework procrastination using YouTube

Study With Me

College and high school students are turning to Study With Me videos to destroy homework procrastination. Their lives are no different from older generations. Today’s students seek support. They feel lonely sometimes. To solve this, students turn to technology to increase their motivation. They hold each other accountable. They take the library to their laptop with study tubers.

This trend has a long history of development on the web that starts with ASMR.

SWM videos are a mostly European trend gone global
SWM videos are a mostly European trend gone global

ASMR Origins

The term ASMR has its online roots in chat forums and stands for Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response dating back to 2007. Maria of Gentle Whispering ASMR fame associates the trend with childhood. “Whenever your mother would treat you delicately, or your doctor or teacher would talk to you gently… The caring touch is the biggest trigger.”

ASMR creators assume that people need to feel personally comforted on the Internet. As early pioneers like Maria realized that quiet soothing sounds produce spine-tingling sensations in people, they used sound to facilitate the experience. Things like the sound of scissors when getting a hair cut. Or crunching food as it is being eaten. Even just whispering can have an effect.

Study With Me Origins

Now imagine a world where life as a student sucks. Everyone expects you to succeed. You’re not doing that. Homework procrastination is so easy. The pressure to succeed is overwhelming.

From that pain point, study tubers today get millions of views on YouTube from doing just one thing: study. In front of a video camera. All by themselves. With the ASMR sounds of pencils scratching notes on paper.

Study with me videos have their origins in ASMR. ASMR creators would make low-budget videos based on their surroundings in their bedroom and living rooms. In September 2014 YouTuber Oldwonderfulsounds read a particularly boring academic article titled “The High Prevalence of Injury Among Female Bassoonists” to put her readers sleep. She stapled the papers together carefully at her desk. She even took notes as she read to her viewers.

Other YouTubers intent on creating alternatives to their normal content would get stuck with revising for exams. In April 2015, ASMRAlice in the UK used her school homework as a tool to create ASMR effects. With whispers and explanations, Alice flips through sticky notes and scratches words on paper from her desk in her video.

This video has since been deleted

The combination of study ASMR didn’t exactly create award-winning content.

Study With Me Study Tuber #1

Mercifully, there was Heleen from Brussels. Anxious about finding some study buddies, she posted in May 2015 about creating a place for people to connect and learn together.

Determined to stop her homework procrastination, Heleen took action. She did not focus on not getting more friends in school. Her channel never showcased fashionable style to get extra clicks for video production. Heleen realized beautiful stationary and back to school videos would not inspire an A. Instead, she shared her desire to build a connected community focused on study.

Three years later, Heleen tells me that people keep coming back because they can find a positive environment to study in. Visitors chat during scheduled 10 minute breaks. As for Heleen, she is on the verge of beginning a career in chemical engineering as she finishes her master’s degree.

Her demeanor is simple, straightforward, and always friendly. According to Heleen, “If I had never started streaming, I would continue procrastinating. I was getting bad grades in math and would have failed. This is an accountability system for me. There is a sense of collaboration and usefulness to our work together.” During our conversation, I was most struck my Heleen’s sense of gratitude to give back to the community that had inspired.

It was as if she owed them something.

Since Heleen posted the first ever study with me video on June 1st, 2015, thousands of students have joined the movement to create their own videos. Millions of students are following these channels across YouTube. You can read more about the varying approaches to study with me videos here.

Expert Perspective: What the Critics Say

Smaller education companies are getting in the mix too. At Studygate, students are creating micro Study With Me sessions with their classmates. Too often, you know what you need to do but just can’t take the first step. Study with me sessions solve that and gives you a place to feel connected with your classmates.

Of course, there are many reasons to question the value of studying with other humans online. MIT professor and psychologist Sherry Turkle believes “the Internet is taking us places we don’t want to go. We remove ourselves from our grief or from our revery, and we go into our phones… we sacrifice conversation for mere connection. We short-change ourselves. And over time, we seem to forget this, or we seem to stop caring.”

Turkle is right that emotions of sadness and excitement are neutralized online, but other professors are slower to condemn a movement dedicated to beating homework procrastination.

Mitchell Nathan is professor of educational psychology and learning sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He compares Study With Me videos with parallel play when young children build blocks next to each other without directly getting involved in the other’s actions. Interest is there, but full engagement is not needed. Nathan describes study with me sessions as a time when “You’re ignoring each other, but that’s still much more preferable than doing it all by yourself.”

Stefan van der Stigchel teaches experimental psychology at the University of Utrecht and describes Study With Me videos as an opportunity to find a place of belonging. “You have the same thing in a library, you just have to look around you to see that you’re all doing the same thing, that’s motivating.”

The Future of Study

Today it’s easy to look at the lives of future generations and believe their experiences will be worse than our own. If humans use technology to be more productive and get better grades, we still have to apply these to things that matter. What are we doing to positively impact the lives of others?

Heleen used the digital tools around her to build a group of friends. To encourage accountability. She made discipline out of homework procrastination. And she did it on YouTube.

As Study With Me videos continue to grow, we should look at the trend as a tool to inspire tomorrow’s leaders. So thank you YouTube. And thanks Heleen. For taking homework procrastination out of the Internet.

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Study with me: 11 study tubers to inspire your next A

The study with me genre is going global. Expect to find videos filled with students doing just one thing: studying. Get ready for lots of silence (music optional) as smart people get to work and invite you to join them.

Why study with me?

There are some great reasons to watch these videos:

  1. Friendship with tons of comments from likeminded students
  2. Community of people committed to learning with you to the next A
  3. Single screen to focus on instead of distracted browsing everywhere

The following are some of the hippest students on the planet, presented in no particular order. Each offer their own flavor and personality to compliment your study session.

Study with me Studytubers

1. TheStrive Studies


STUDY WITH ME–let’s study together! | TheStrive Studies! (no music)

Jamie is a medical student with a polished video style based in NYC. Studying with her honestly feels like entertainment AND working in the presence of a guru because she shares so much about her life as a successful medical student. The perfect balance between genius and fashionista, she shows off her space with just enough with multiple camera angles to inspire without distracting. The result is more views than any other video on this list.

2. Study To Success

STUDY WITH ME: 3 Hour Live/Real Time Study Session (Pomodoro)

Estella’s channel packs a flamboyant attitude, proving once and for all that such a thing can exist in AP Statistics. She is focused and tends to show some rough around the edges to keep it real (this video was made before an all nighter). Overall, expect carefully organized highlighters on this channel along with stationary and assortments of neon objects decorating her Instagram profile. She is one of the few Studytubers I found using Google Meet sessions, but there is the added bonus of her phone to track Pomodoro on a 3-hour video. 

3. UnJaded Jade

Real Time Study With Me *with break* 💪 2 Hours of Productivity & Motivation
Real Time Study With Me *with break* 💪 2 Hours of Productivity & Motivation

Birmingham (England, not Alabama)-based Jade kicks ass with a high energy channel that keeps it real. She is not a fashionista, at least not a self-conscious one. While many YouTubers use sophisticated editing techniques to produce their work, Jade films with her phone. Without a doubt one of the most popular studytubers on YouTube, she constantly comes across as a really authentic person, which is actually pretty impressive since she is studying biology.

4. Study Vibes

Study with me | 2 hours
Study with me | 2 hours

The Belgium-based Study Vibes channel consists almost exclusively of study with me videos. That’s unique in a studytuber culture that often mixes fashion or life hacks into its content uploads. One of the more introverted channels I have found, Heleen interacts with a small but highly engaged group of users with enabled live chats during Google Meet sessions. Not only is this the longest tenured channel I found during my research (since 2014), but it represents the only channel treating its viewers like true study partners and not just another view to entertain. 

5. Thomas Frank

Study With Me - A 25-Minute Pomodoro Session
Study With Me – A 25-Minute Pomodoro Session

Thomas Frank might be the king of the studytuber genre, but that isn’t really fair since he is one among very few guys to post in it. Considered slightly old compared to most other study with me creators, Frank admits to finding these videos cheesy and wouldn’t dare go to the trouble of making a whole subcategory of videos like this. For efficiency, he treats this video like a single-view pomodoro session. As Frank would say, “let’s get to work.”

6. 사랑Sarang

STUDY WITH ME | 같이 공부해요
STUDY WITH ME | 같이 공부해요

By far one of the more inspiring channels I found, dental student Sarang shows off an artistic side that constantly comes out in her videos. We find it in the flowers on the intro segments and slightly unfocused camera angles of her videos. Sarang is lucky to be in dental school after taking a long and winding path from Korea to study in the US. Maybe that’s what makes her focus and fancy hair so inspiring. And her study with me music ROCKS with selections by Eventide. To keep it real, expect to hear Sarang highly focused and talking to herself in between tracks.

7. Cracker ASMR

📚 No talking ASMR | Let's study together! Studying ASMR, writing , page turning, white noise
📚 No talking ASMR | Let’s study together! Studying ASMR, writing , page turning, white noise

Another Korean channel, Cracker ASMR contains by far the best sense of aesthetic on this list without overwhelming or distracting. The creator keeps it real by making videos where the sound of what you’re hearing represents the perfect experience to compliment the visuals. Best experienced with headphones, this YouTuber will tickle your ears with paintbrushes and Q-tips (no kidding) on other videos, but no talking. Ever. All you hear are the scratches her pencil makes on the paper she is taking notes on.

8. iMia


Study with me is taking over France too, and Marion aka iMia is one of its pioneers. Her videos profile the life of a medical student studying abroad in Italy. Often, she talks about her life studying medicine and has recently taken a plunge into the genre with a very dark back view of her multi-screened study space. The accompanying music is energetic and straight-forward, a great example of how this video genre is revolutionizing how people learn and evolves around the world.

9. MedBros

Study With Me (2 hours w/ music)
Study With Me (2 hours w/ music)

Don’t expect a Pomodoro session from MedBros. Honestly, how could you learn everything you need to get in 25 minutes after all? Much better to learn alongside someone for an extended period of time, and that’s exactly what is provided here with a nearly 2 hour session. Chill hip hop beats are included (or not, your choice). Thankfully, Shaman keeps it real with some minor humor. 🙂

10. Mariana’s Study Corner

STUDY WITH ME IN REAL TIME » 20 minutes of Spartan History
STUDY WITH ME IN REAL TIME » 20 minutes of Spartan History

This Portuguese channel is another one of the more artfully crafted study with me videos. There is the wood finish table, which is gorgeous. Then there is the trendy use of an iPad on Google Drive. Finally, Mariana uses clean pens and highlighters to work out of her notebook with her muted pink fingernails. Users can see her fantastic technique of reading and extracting relevant material from the PDF for later review. We only wish it could be longer!

11. Melissa Brady

study with me (cramming w coffee)
study with me (cramming w coffee)

This American Youtuber has three things going for her: excellent musical taste with saxophonist Dexter Gordon ❤️️❤️️❤️️, an old school iMovie filter, and a snarky personality to make any study session a joy to complete. In this video, her concept is to visit coffee shops around the town where she lives and take us along with her. With those giant glasses, she just might be the hippest study buddy on the list, fashion and video editing heavy.

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StudyMate: Test Preparation Pointers For The Stressed Out Student

Test preparation has always been very stressful. You’ve got to plan your study time around all your other classes, your travel time, and your time with friends and family. If you’ve got one, or two, or three tests coming up, it feels like there isn’t enough time in the day to get anything done! We know your time is valuable, so we’ve thought of some tips to help you get ready for your next test (and ace it!).


Know EXACTLY What You’re Studying

Be fully aware of what will be on the test. Know exactly which book chapters and concepts you will be tested on. You don’t want ANY surprises. This is pretty straightforward if we’re talking about a math or science course, but if you’re in a humanities or English class, make sure you’re familiar with the texts and outside materials you’re supposed to be reading. If your professor gives you a study guide, congratulations! You’re ahead of the game! If not…


Go Over Your Notes

Review and organize your class notes as soon as the test is announced. Immediately.  Your notes should at least give you basic knowledge of the subject you’re being tested on and can help you cut down on study time. If they don’t, check out our hints on effective note taking! When you review your class notes, you should be asking yourself what you remember about the material. Do you have a rough idea of what it’s about? Or are you struggling to remember definitions? This will give you an idea of how long you should study, and it’s a HUGE time saver. Try it with your friends and ask each other questions!


Speak Now!

A lot of students don’t like talking to their professors either because they’re embarrassed, or they’re scared of them, or they don’t want to reveal that they haven’t been paying attention in class. Here the thing:

Your professor WROTE the test, and if you ask nicely, they’ll probably tell you EXACTLY what’s on it.

Seriously! It’s that easy! Meet with your professor after you review your class notes so you get a complete idea of the test questions and format. Make sure you ask for any helpful hints that might help you get through the test. Trust us, most professors would love to give you as much help as possible.


Take Action!

Everyone has their own way of studying. If you’re a visual learner, consider using a whiteboard or a piece of paper to write out concepts where you can see them (this works wonders for math and science courses). If you learn best by listening, maybe read your notes aloud, record them and listen to them as you go through the day (or you and a friend could record each other’s notes if you don’t like the sound of your own voice). Can’t sit still? Walk around or do an activity while you study! Anybody can sit in a cold library and stare at a textbook. Change it up, know yourself, and start studying your way!


Take Care


Yes, you have a lot of homework to do.

Yes, you want to get good grades and be successful.

Yes, you want to know as much as possible so that you do well on your test.

These are all important things. You cannot do any of them if you’re running on half a banana and 30 minutes of “sleep”. Be nice to yourself for a change. Give yourself enough time to review and GO. TO. BED. Eat breakfast and bring snacks for the day ahead. Take good care of yourself.

We get stressed out while preparing for a test because we’re trying to both remember and memorize everything we’ve learned in a very short time. Good test preparation is all about gathering information ahead of time, and then reviewing it at your own pace. Go on, try these tips for yourself on your next exam and see the difference it makes! For more helpful test preparation advice and homework help, visit us at!

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StudyMate: 5 Helpful Tips For Taking Notes

Note taking can be confusing. It can be difficult to tell what’s important, what isn’t, if you wrote too much or too little. That’s why StudyGate has put together a list of 5 helpful tips that will make your notes work smarter, not harder.

Listen, Listen, Listen

Obvious, right? This one is important. You cannot take notes if you don’t know what the teacher is saying. Good listening skills are the foundation for taking good notes. When your chemistry teacher is giving you a clear definition for a word or concept, write it down. When he’s going on and on and ON about that science museum he visited last weekend, maybe you should skip it. Decide for yourself what your notes should include. Active listening keeps you alert and in a great position to learn new things.

Less Is More

Good notes should not be a word-for-word transcript of what happened in class. Think of them as a way for you to teach yourself new things. Why waste time trying to write down an entire lecture? Instead, try writing down key words, using headings and bullet points, writing things in your own words, and making your own codes, shorthand, and quick ways of writing things down. This way, you take notes that you know you can understand.

Eat, Sleep, and Breathe It, Rehearse and Reread It

This is probably one of the easiest ways to study. Reread your notes when you get the chance. The best time to do this is directly after class. Take a separate sheet of paper and copy your notes—only this time, fill in any information you remember from the lecture. This will help the information stick in your mind, while also testing your knowledge and giving you a better understanding of the material. Do this, and you’ll never have to cram before a test again. EVER.

Keep Them Organized

Admit it. As soon as class is over, you get up, stuff your notes in your notebook, stuff your notebook in your bag, and that’s that. We’ve all done it! Instead, keep your notes in a binder, and organize them in order of when you wrote them. Now you’ll have a record of all your notes in order—like a book! When it’s test time, flip to the right page and just read what you wrote. Simple as that.

Have Fun With It

Some lectures are a little dry. It’s not always easy to stay focused, and sometimes your mind just wanders off. Keep yourself interested! Use the margins of your paper to draw or write down things that come to mind. Scribble lyrics to a song you like, make little reminders for yourself, or even write down your future goals. You know you’re going to think about other things. The goal is to let those thoughts come, recognize them, and then let them go so you can stay focused.


There you have it! Happy Note Taking! Visit for any homework help or more great study tips.

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