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A Harry Potter themed-study guide to make your learning magical

By Zier Zhou, 2nd year Life Sciences student


It’s been more than 20 years since the publication of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, but the series still remains as relevant to our lives as ever. Perhaps your invitation letter from Hogwarts never came into existence, but there is certainly no harm in adding a creative twist to your study session by setting an enchanting atmosphere. Furthermore, discover what each of the four Houses have to say about learning, and unlock your greatest potential.

Sounds for your ears

Aside from the classic Harry Potter soundtrack, with well-known tracks including Hedwig’s theme and Harry’s Wondrous World, listen to ambient sounds of the crackling fireplace in the Gryffindor common room, the scribbles of quills and flipping of parchment in the Hogwarts Library, or the happy chatter in the Great Hall during the holidays. You can search for such videos on YouTube, and they might just help you increase your concentration.


Perfect places to study

While it’s fine to stay at home with a cozy blanket and a cup of your favourite tea, a change of scenery is at times necessary for restoring motivation and boosting productivity. Some of the nicest spots on campus that resemble something you would see at Hogwarts are the main room at the Lederman Law Library, the Fireplace reading room at Stauffer, and of course, the famous Harry Potter room on the third floor of Douglas.


Inspiration from the Houses



Ravenclaws are known to be studious, not because their minds are superior to those of other Houses, but because of their boundless curiosity and love for knowledge. The brain prioritizes information by meaning and relevance, which means that you remember things much better when you’re interested in what you’re learning. If you have time, read ahead before the lecture to get a general idea of the covered topics, since you can make strong neural connections by associating new concepts with those that you already have stored in memory. You’re also more likely to do extra practice questions in the textbook or look for answers on your own when you enjoy the content. For a Ravenclaw, there is no such thing as overlearning.



When it comes to realizing their ambitions, Slytherins succeed in large part due to their cleverness and tenacity. Set high expectations for yourself, and then take pride in your accomplishments. When it comes to studying, be selective by setting your priorities straight and starting with the most crucial tasks. Pay attention to the words in bold when you’re reading, as well as the material that’s emphasized and repeated during lectures. Visualize not only long-term goals, but the time you plan to spend on various activities using a weekly schedule. Be creative with your learning by drawing out mind maps that categorize and connect the main ideas. Finally, remember that self-confidence is a powerful thing. If you think you can do it, then you probably can.



For their kind and industrious spirit, Hufflepuffs deserve way more recognition than what they are often given. Develop good habits this year by attending all your classes, keeping up with the readings, and reviewing notes as frequently as needed. Make flashcards and use mnemonics to remember facts, dedicate extra time to understanding a difficult concept, and never hesitate to help others understand it too. You can tell that you have a good grasp on it when you’re able to teach it to someone else. Stay organized by consistently updating your planner, and break down your study goals by creating daily to-do lists. With enough hard work and patience, you will eventually realize wonderful self-growth.



Everyone knows that Gryffindors are applauded for their exceptional courage and integrity. In class, don’t be afraid to sit in the front row, or start a conversation and befriend the person beside you. Raising your hand to answer a question won’t make you seem like a know-it-all, and asking one doesn’t mean you’re dumb at all. It’s useless to worry excessively about what others might think. If you’re going to do something, you might as well do your best, so be active when it comes to learning. Pay full attention by reading and reciting the content out loud. Visit your professor during their office hours if you need clarification on a challenging topic. Studying in groups can also be very effective when you quiz each other on the material. You will encounter setbacks along your journey, but try to eliminate those negative thoughts, and instead view them as valuable prospects for improvement.


Whether it’s casting spells or writing midterms, remember that you are in control of the powers within your mind. Best of luck with this semester, and happy studying!




Photo courtesy of Queen’s University under Flickr Creative Commons Attribution license 2.0.