Study Strategies for Engineering


Are you an Engineering student intimidated by subjects like calculus and operations research? Don’t fret…the simple strategies and study skills listed in this guide will help you ace Engineering exams.

Study skills: How to study for Engineering courses

Note taking:

Be an active listener.

Take descriptive and legible notes during the lecture.

Ask questions, if you have doubts.

Mark points that are being emphasized. These will come handy while preparing for exams.

Practice effective note-taking strategies such as flow charts and diagrams.

Review notes:

After the lecture, go over your notes to ensure you understand everything. Check for any mistakes or missing information.

Make a note of points you need help on. Consult your study group or text books to fill in the gap.

Study skills:

Unlike high school, technical disciplines such as Engineering are primarily self-taught, with guidance from lecturers.

Work on your study skills and learning techniques to master tough subjects.

Instead of reading, focus on what, why and how to solve problems for difficult subjects like electro-magnetics in Electronics Engineering or Thermodynamics in Mechanical Engineering.

Do your homework:

Turn in your assignments on time.

Avoid missing classes and, if you have to, inform your professor in advance.


Some lectures that are full of theoretical concepts and zero real-world examples can get boring. Don’t let that become a dampener. Use the Internet, library and handbooks on the subject to draw connections.

For instance, if you are a Mechanical Engineering student poring over the engine architecture of a bike, make it interesting by reading about the crankshaft design of a Harley Davidson bike. How is the single-pin crankshaft in the 45° V-Twin responsible for the roaring sound?

Study groups:

Join a study group of serious students.

Work on your assignments regularly, hold discussions and review your notes collectively.

Office hours:

Need a practical example for a law or the steps to arrive at an equation? Meet professors or teaching assistants during office hours to get your doubts clarified. Some lecture classes are 200+student-strong, making it impossible to interrupt the professor for every doubt.

Office hours are for the benefit of students, so don’t be shy to make good use of them. Go prepared and the professor will be glad to help you.


File notes, lecture material, and photocopies separately in a folder for each of your Engineering subjects.

Do this regularly to save time during exams.

Course material:

Read your Engineering textbooks thoroughly to gain a complete understanding of the subject.

Theory complements illustrations and examples of real-world applications.

Time management:

Avoid procrastination.

Set a routine to study during your most productive time.

Spend at least 40 hours per week in class or as the course demands.

Study help for Engineering exams:

Start early: No strategy works as well as starting preparations early.

Study guide: Prepare a study guide of important concepts, definitions, laws, equations and formula covering the exam material.

Review your notes before the tests: Focus on topics that have repeated in old exams. Use flash cards.

Crack the surprise factor: Being prepared for any surprise questions will reduce the anxiety of an exam. Go through the old papers to analyze if there is a pattern or a twisted angle to questions.

Rework assignments: Solve homework problems you had difficulty with to improve your understanding and speed.

Say no to cramming: Memorizing the night before the exams will not get you good grades. Engineering is about understanding concepts and getting enough practice for solving problems.