What is the Difference Between ‘Study Well’ And ‘Study Hard’?

Study well,study hard or study smart are three different phrases used to stir up a person who is preparing for an exam, interview or presentation.

These are three different occasions where people are preparing to either write a quiz, an exam or they are preparing for an interview.

Either way each of them have different things which they mean. They may appear to have the same meaning, but their meanings are quite different. 

In this article, we will explore the meaning of these three phrases, the comparison amongst themselves and the fifteen (15) different alternative ways to say study well.

What is the Difference Between ‘Study Well’ and ‘Study Hard’?

What is the Difference Between 'Study Well' or 'Study Hard'?

To study well means to read and memorize your books, texts, and courses using the right method while studying hard means putting so much physical effort into studying but not doing it properly to get the results you want.

The difference between the two is that while the former is done the right way and yields results, the other is done strenuously but yields little to no result. 

Studying hard takes a lot of time and is quite stressful. It’s just like working like an elephant while eating like an ant. It can be frustrating as the person may probably keep failing over and over again despite all efforts. 

On the other hand, studying well is knowing the right way of studying for results and getting it.

This can be explained using a scenario where someone studies all textbooks, materials, and handouts relating to a course but ends up answering the questions all wrongly because they did not study what was in the curriculum for the term. 

To study well, there are certain actions one must take. They include:

  1. Setting up a study space.
  2. Create a daily study schedule.
  3. Organize the materials you study with.
  4. Get rid of distractions.
  5. Revise your notes.
  6. Take note of key information.
  7. You can rewrite your notes.
  8. Do a mock quiz, exam, or presentation.

What is the Difference Between “Study Hard” and “Study Smart”?

While we have extensively looked at study hard above, we merely explained it and its distinction to study well. Here we would be comparing studying hard and studying smart. 

There is a popular saying that one should learn to work smart, not just work hard. It also relates to what we wish to talk about here.

Studying hard is like a student who crams for exams while drinking too much coffee to stay awake. The end result is that the student is extremely tired, sleepy, ill-prepared and overly caffeinated. 

Most students have the wrong notion that this is the way to show seriousness and prepare for exams. Other students pressure themselves this way out of fear of exams. However, this is not considered a smart choice especially if the student wants to excel in his studies.

When a student study smart, they are well-rested, thinking straight, and able to be productive. The following are ways a student can study smart:

  1. Start studying early into the semester.
  2. Don’t cram for your exams.
  3. Have a study group.
  4. Study focus points.
  5. Answer your questions per your lecturer’s style.
  6. Eat healthy snacks.
  7. Read alternatively to avoid being burnt out.

What can you say instead of “study well”?

“Be devoted”

When you tell someone to be devoted in the context of studying, you are simply telling them to concentrate on their studying and not allow any form of distraction. The aim is to work towards a goal and achieve it. 

The goal may be to ace an exam or to do excellently well in a presentation. The devotion may be a short term stuff, right until after the exam is over or the presentation is done with.


If you tell someone to be focused, you are simply telling them to make studying for their exam or presentation their primary focus or center of activity. 

You are telling them to make studying the right way their point of concentration. It means that you cannot entertain any mental or physical distraction of any kind. 

You have to control your mind and train it to focus on studying. You should also refuse social media distractions.

“Get down to it”

What is the Difference Between 'Study Well' or 'Study Hard'?

Imagine knowing that you need to study or prepare for an exam or presentation, but you never get around to it. 

When someone tells you or you tell someone “Get down to it”, they are challenging you to become serious with your plans, which is of course to study. It is not coming from a place of rebuke but a place of love.

“Break a leg”

This is theatrical slang that means you are wishing someone the opportunity to perform and get paid for their services. Using it in place of studying well means you are telling the person that you hope that their studying pays off. 

It’s a positive sentiment that means you wish them luck and that you hope they get a good result as a reward for their efforts.

Go kill it.”

“Go kill it” means to do something extremely well. Thus, when you tell someone to Go kill it, you are telling them to take their studying seriously and to do it well. 

This could come after you have probably given them some piece of advice or encouragement about how to study or after you have studied or revised with them, then you can say ‘Go kill it’. If you are among those taking the exams, you can then say, ‘Let’s go kill it!’

If the person is preparing for a presentation, you could help him/her to study, practice, and select the right clothing for the presentation.

After which you can wish the person to kill it. In this context, it would be telling the person to be awesome. It expresses your confidence in the person’s ability.

Be smart.”

In our explanation of studying well, we said it means to study the right way. It could be used interchangeably with study smart. It means that instead of doing things the hard way in the name of being a hardworking student, you could do things smartly. 

The latter way will save them time, brain power, prevent unnecessary spending of effort, and possibly get the good results you were aiming for.

If the person was going for a more practical or physical exam like a presentation or interview, saying Be smart to them is simply asking them to answer whatever questions thrown at them smartly and boldly.

Give it your best shot.”

“Give it your best shot” is a perfect alternative for saying “study well”. The truth is that no matter how hard you prepare for something, it may not be what you expect that you will see. However, you still have to give it your best shot.

At least, that way you know that you tried your best, and your best gave you what it did. Besides, you will never know till you try right?

Generally, telling someone to give it their best shot is simply telling them to do things the best way they know how to; the best way they possibly can.

Not that you necessarily expect to win at that thing, but you believe in their abilities enough to encourage them to try hard.

Be intentional

What is the Difference Between 'Study Well' or 'Study Hard'?

Most good things in life are a product of intentional decisions and actions.

When you tell someone to Be intentional, you are simply telling them to be deliberate about what they want and that whatever action they take, they should bear in mind that they have a purpose / goal to achieve.

A person who is intentional will show through his/her words and actions, that whatever he/she is preparing for is important to him/her; and his/her choice will communicate the same. 

With intentionality, one can have a positive mindset, be more present, have more clarity, and achieve their goals.

Be positive”

Be positive or be optimistic. Either way, this is you telling someone to always look at the bright side. It is encouraging someone to always have hope and instills confidence in them. 

This is a good stance to take with someone, especially someone that is about to sit under tension. It will make them feel less burdened, happy, and worry-free.

Who knows? This attitude may bring good results and success.

Keep at it.”

To keep at it or to persevere is one and the same thing. It means you encourage someone to keep grinding and pursuing something even though there is no surety that they will get such a thing. 

For instance, this may not be the first time that they are taking the paper or doing the presentation. So telling them to Keep at it, is encouraging them not to give up. 

The fact still remains that consistency most times yields immense success that’s why you have to keep at it till you succeed at it.

Take a stab at it.”

Taking a stab at something or taking a shot at something or taking a chance at something means trying that thing out. It means to make an attempt at something. 

In this context, it means that for the sake of the exams, you are about to write or the quiz that you are about to take, try studying. You never know if you may pass the exams.

This phrase is also commonly used for a type of exam that is infamous for being hard to pass. Therefore, telling someone to take a stab at it is telling them to give something a try even when they do not know what the possible outcome is.

Bone up.”

To bone up means to try to master something very important as quickly as possible. For instance, if you have a short time between preparation and the main exam, someone could then tell you to bone up. 

That is to renew your skill or to refresh your memory on the subject you are about to write before you actually take the exam.

The idea behind this phrase originated from the ability to use a bone to polish leather the same way you would polish your mind by studying your books.

Work hard”

Even though studying well involves being smart about the way you work, it doesn’t totally cancel out the fact that you have to work way above and beyond the way you normally work. 

You do this when you intend to attain a certain level of success that is higher than what you are used to attaining. The process of hard work involves staying motivated, and being focused and consistent enough until you produce your desired results.

It also means using your mental and emotional energy to achieve purpose through your actions.

Do your utmost.”

What is the Difference Between 'Study Well' or 'Study Hard'?

Doing your utmost means to do something well enough by applying great effort. This simply means that the individual needs to put in their very best effort in their study preparations to be able to get a successful result. 

Now the effort that is applied here is not like the usual, neither is it average. It has to be the greatest, the highest effort that you have.

You have to treat your studying with all seriousness and dedication. There should be no doubt as to the fact that you gave it your all.

Give it your all.”

This means putting all you got into studying – your time, books, resources even your attention. That is, putting all your effort in without any reservations. 

This is done with the aim of achieving something or supporting a cause. In this context, it means putting your all into your studies in order to achieve success in your exams, quizzes, interviews, or presentations.

Wrap Up

Here, you must try as hard as you can to succeed at what you are studying for.

You do it by using all your energy, time, resources, and effort towards the task or act of studying because you are in pursuit of success. It must be done fully and completely.

Leave a Comment