How to Study for Online Classes: 13 Tips to Study Smarter, Not harder

Although taking online classes may seem simple, students often run into problems. It is easy to lose track of details when the instructors aren’t around to instruct you. To help you study for online classes, I created this guide.

Are you a student taking online classes? Making good grades and getting great instructor feedback is not easy, but you must keep your eye on the prize. I have some tips to help you with this challenge. 

Not sure where to start when taking online classes? Look no further because this article will give tips on studying for online classes. First of all, get organized. Now let’s get into the nitty-gritty.

1. Treat online classes as if they were regular classes

Online courses can be hard to take. It requires a lot of hard work and attention. Maybe it hasn’t worked out because you’ve been trying to study for online classes.

The key is to treat your studies like the same class you would go to physically. Are you studying the course materials, taking quizzes and notes, and doing homework?

If not, you need to treat your online classes like real courses. The idea is to use the same study techniques in other, more traditional settings.

This is an especially important strategy if you are new to online education.

2. Set realistic goals 

The most challenging part of studying for online classes is committing to a set schedule and sticking to it.

It is much easier when you set realistic goals of what you want to get done each day and prioritize those goals for the day.

However, before you can consider a method for studying for online classes, you need to decide what you want from the class.

Are you aiming for an A or a B? Do you want a passing grade? Do you care about your attendance, participation, and other such factors? 

I advise all students that setting goals for themselves and sticking to them is just as important.

3. Practice time management

So, you have an online class to take. Now what? You might be thinking, how do I study for advanced classes only offered as online classes?

This is a tricky question with a straightforward answer: Schedule your time. 

Knowing how to study for online classes can be quite a task. You’ll often find that there isn’t much of a way to study in the traditional sense for these classes.

Proper time management plays one of the most important roles in being successful in online classes. 

4. Designate a regular study area and stay organized

One of the easiest ways to stay organized as an online student is to designate a regular study area and keep everything you need there.

It won’t be easy to figure out which materials belong to each course if you study in different rooms in your house. 

Plus, if you’re like me and don’t keep up with the housework, it’s easy for your study area to become cluttered with newspapers, random mail, school papers, etc.

In addition, avoid scheduling time in the same space where you watch television and engage in other non-academic pursuits.

Focus on using this space solely for studying and home-based work.

5. Eliminate distractions

The most overlooked but important part of studying is eliminating distractions. You should never overload yourself with other activities while studying because you will get distracted and lose focus on your work.

The first step is to recognize those distractions, both internal and external. We’ve all been there: you’re sitting in an office, but your attention is divided.

You’re distracted by the loud banter of employees in the break room directly below you. Or by email notifications on your iPhone or Samsung, which must be checked every few minutes.

The key to getting the most out of online classes is eliminating distractions that may prevent you from focusing on what’s important: your learning.

6. Find out what learning style works best for you

How can you make your online classes a little more personal? There are many ways to do this, starting with “learning styles.”

Learning styles have been defined in various ways since the late 1920s, but most people tend to fit into just 1 or 2 categories. 

Whether your primary learning style is visual learning or auditory learning, you can maximize your time and resources by knowing what you learn best.

By identifying your learning styles, there are ways that you can make studying for online classes easier for yourself. 

More importantly, if you do identify what your learning styles are, there are ways you can incorporate them into your lesson plans.

7. Actively participate

Teachers, professors, and instructors will lead the classrooms. However, certain traits of a good student can help you better understand the topic of discussion.

Don’t just take the classes. Participate in them. This will help you absorb the information better and make you a more successful student.

Even if you read the textbooks diligently, it is not enough to excel in an online class. The information won’t stick. You must participate in your online classes to get the most out of them. 

What does that mean? It means attending class discussions, posting where you can, and asking questions when appropriate.

You’ll be surprised at how much more you take away from a lecture when you ask a question or clarify something and get a reply from your instructor.

8. Don’t procrastinate

Do you get excited about an assignment and then put it off for no reason? I know I have been doing that all my life; it’s part of procrastinating.

But the truth is, there is nothing better than being prepared and organized. It’s not a good idea to wait until the last minute to prepare for your classes.

By cramming, procrastinators risk getting poor grades on exams and papers. Furthermore, procrastinating can lead to unnecessary stress and health problems. 

It would be best if you started planning early, so you have time to organize your work. Also, break your assignments into smaller units so they do not overwhelm you.

You can use this tip, especially if you have multiple classes going on simultaneously, part-time jobs, and family obligations.

9. Beat assignment deadlines

Are you finding it challenging to complete your online assignments on time? Do you stress out when assignment deadlines are approaching?

It’s understandable. Quite a significant number of students often find themselves in a similar situation. 

Despite the temptation to wait until the last minute to begin your paper, you are more likely to stress yourself out and not be able to finish your project on time.

Assignment deadlines are always hard to meet. But the good thing is that they can be beaten

All you need to do is ensure you don’t last until the due date—start working right when you get your assignment.

10. Engage in conversations during and after online classes

Do you know that interacting with your professor and classmates in some online classes is just as important as working on assignments?

Keep up by setting aside an hour or thirty minutes each day to check the course forums and respond to any posts your professor makes.

Join discussions about the topics or themes of the week and make observations or ask questions based on your reading of the material.

You’ll learn more from what you have read in class, get great ideas for follow-up papers and projects, and help other students if they’re having trouble understanding something.

11. Leverage online resources 

It’s almost impossible to learn everything you will need to know for every course, especially if you have a scarce amount of time to dedicate to it.

Thankfully, there are plenty of resources available online, such as the following:

  • EBooks
  • Journals
  • Videos
  • Recorded lectures
  • Quizzes
  • Discussion forums
  • Live Q&A sessions
  • Interviews

Many universities now offer online classes. The same rules apply to online classes as to regular classes.

Take advantage of everything you have at your disposal. You can supplement your classroom learning with online resources whenever possible. Ultimately, this will raise your grade.

Focus on your weaknesses and find a resource that will allow you to practice what you’re having trouble with.

If you’re an auditory learner and need help remembering ideas, try searching for flashcards or lectures on specific topics.

12. Maintain a positive attitude

The biggest hurdle for online students is the worry that they will fail. The worst thing you can do is let your fear control you and cause you not even to try.

Taking online classes means you have ultimate control over your education since you will be in control of your schedule.

Online classes can be both a good and a bad experience, depending on how you choose to utilize them. 

The focus of your attitude should always be positive, regardless of what obstacles may come your way.

Be prepared and anticipate obstacles while still maintaining a positive attitude.

Your success in your online courses will be significant due to your attitude toward the learning experience.

13. During times of exhaustion, remember to take breaks 

It’s difficult to study for online classes when you are feeling exhausted. However, taking breaks can increase your productivity and learning ability.

In fact, you must take time out to re-organize your thoughts, stay motivated, and be more focused. 

Effective studying requires a certain amount of concentration, which requires considerable energy. When you are exhausted, your mind does not function well.

Taking breaks will help to fight off fatigue. Students should study for online classes without going beyond their limits.


Are online classes all that effective?

Yes, online classes can be very effective for students who live far from the schools or have some physical problems attending classes.

Online classes also benefit students who can’t attend school because of their health issues or jobs.

What is the best time of day to study?

The best time to study is when you understand the subject the most and feel connected to it.

This may differ from student to student. Some students may perform well in the morning, while others may perform well at night.

Final Thoughts 

There are no real secrets regarding studying for online classes. It takes time, dedication, and effort.

But if you plan, structure your study time properly, and utilize the right study tools, you can complete your courses successfully. 

Good luck with studying for your online classes. I hope these tips make it easier.  Keep in mind that you can do it.

Online classes are not something to be afraid of. Think of all the people who have taken online classes and finished with flying colors. You can do it too.

I have an article that may interest you if you decide between taking an online course or traditional learning. The article highlights both the advantages and disadvantages of online learning.

Following reading the article, if you are enthusiastic about enrolling in online classes, you should read the article outlining the best online learning platforms to learn anything.

Thanks for reading.