You Should Study Harder – Is It Okay To Say That?

In a grammatical context, there’s nothing wrong in telling someone “you should study harder” to encourage their academic efforts.

However, in some situations, it would be better if you offer more supportive and constructive advice like “Keep pushing yourself; you’ll achieve great results!” 

Studying hard is essential for any student who wishes to do well academically. A study from Stanford psychology scholars revealed that college students employing a strategic approach to study hard improved their exam scores by an average of one-third of a letter grade.

But when a student’s desire to do well isn’t forthcoming, you may be moved to encourage them to buckle up in their studies. There are many words of advice to use in this situation, and one of the popular ones is “You should study harder.”

However, this expression can quickly come off as a cliche. It can sound generic, too, especially when you have little idea about what the student is going through in such an academic performance slope.

So, when you tell someone, “You should study harder,” it is perfect to say? 

Is It Okay To Say, “You Should Study Harder”?

Telling someone “you should study harder” is a suggestion (or an order, depending on the context) that the person needs to put in more effort and dedication towards their studies. 

It’s okay to use “you should study harder” when you believe the person’s current level of effort is insufficient to achieve their academic goals.

However, this expression can sound judgmental or condescending, especially if the person is already trying their best or facing external challenges affecting their studies. 

As Harold S. Koplewicz, MD, a child and adolescent psychiatrist of the Child Mind Institute, puts it, “pushing a child [students, generally] who is already stressed or dealing with personal issues to do more in academics may add more pressure and demotivate them.”

Your intentions may be to genuinely advise a struggling student, encourage your friend to improve their grades or motivate someone to reach their academic aspirations. Still, it’s not the idea you pass across. It’s how you pass it. 

Instead of saying, “You should study harder,” consider more supportive and constructive alternatives like:

  • I believe in your abilities, and you can excel with more focus.
  • Find a study routine that suits you better and boosts your progress.
  • Is there anything I can do to support your academic journey?

Even though you feel you should use “you should study harder,” be mindful of the person’s feelings and circumstances before offering such advice.

Look at this example: 

You Should Study Harder - Is It Okay To Say That?

Why Do People Then Use The Phrase “Study Smarter, Not Harder”?

You Should Study Harder - Is It Okay To Say That?

Some people prefer “study smarter, not harder” when emphasizing innovative learning methods over simply putting in long hours of effort.

It’s okay to use this expression when advising someone to look at their study approach differently to get results. 

For instance, the person may struggle with low grades despite studying for hours. In such a situation, they need to find a different approach to optimize their study habits, techniques, and time management with less overall effort. 

So you can use “study smarter, not harder” to convey the idea of focusing on quality rather than quantity.

If you’re a fan of the 2017 film Spider-Man: Homecoming, you probably remember a scene where Peter Parker’s best friend, Ned Leeds, discovers Peter’s secret identity as Spider-Man and is amazed by his double life. 

Determined to assist his friend, Ned offers to be Peter’s “guy in the chair,” helping him during missions.

When Peter struggles to keep up with schoolwork while juggling superhero responsibilities, Ned advises him to study smarter, not harder, by using his suit’s built-in learning tools to learn on the go. 

“Study smarter, not harder” encourages someone to adopt intelligent study approaches that require less rigorous study hours but still maximize academic performance. 

What Can You Do To Study Harder? 

There’s never a one-way guide on how to study harder. Improving your study habits takes time and dedication. However, these are areas you can consider to increase your chances of seeing results from the complex study:

Create a study schedule

Have you considered planning your study sessions and sticking to a consistent schedule? This will help you develop a routine and avoid last-minute cramming.

Also, you can break your tasks into smaller, manageable chunks so that studying doesn’t become overwhelming.

Use active learning techniques

 Instead of passively reading or listening, be involved with your materials. As Te Pūkenga – New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology says, “Take notes, summarize concepts in your own words, or teach the subject to someone else.

Practice is the recipe for mastery

Regular practice can help you understand and retain information. Solve problems, work on exercises, and review your notes consistently.

But don’t forget to give yourself short breaks during study sessions to avoid burnout. Taking breaks can improve focus and productivity.

Form study groups

Studying with peers can be beneficial as you can discuss concepts, share ideas, and reinforce each other’s understanding.

While you study with friends, you all can create diagrams, charts, or flashcards to help you visualize and memorize information effectively.

Use technology wisely

Utilize educational apps, online resources, and digital tools that can enhance your learning experience. My favorite is RefME, but you can consider alternatives like StudyBlue and Evernote. They all work on both IOS and Android with free plans. 

Key Takeaways

  • “You should study harder” is a way to encourage, order, or suggest someone improve their academic efforts. 
  • There’s nothing grammatically wrong with telling someone to study harder. But it can sound judgemental, especially if the person already puts in hours to learn but still gets poor results.
  • Studying harder doesn’t necessarily mean learning longer hours. You can encourage someone to study smarter instead. And give a supportive demeanor. 


Leave a Comment