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Many students use their daily bus journey time to unwind, catch up with friends, or simply zone out. However, these journeys are a great opportunity to transform your learning by turning them into productive study sessions. In this article, we explore how you can turn your bus ride into a learning opportunity and boost your grades with only a few extra minutes a day.

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Why Study on the Bus?

Bus journeys can be long, boring, and when the weather or traffic is bad, they can feel endless. By turning your bus rides into a great opportunity to build new study habits, you can start to look forward to these daily journeys.

Making the most of dead time

Depending on the route taken, distance from school, and traffic conditions, students can spend a lot of time on the bus. If your bus ride to school is just thirty minutes each way, you have an hour of time everyday to spare. If wasted, those five hours a week are not productive, but they are not full of fun activity either.

Instead of letting time pass by staring out the window or just listening to music, you can actively use it to get ahead with your studies and make progress on your grades. It feels good to make use of time without wasting it.

Relaxing later in the evening is easier knowing you spent your time wisely during the day and you are not worrying about things on your to-to list.

Reduced distractions

It is true that a bus is usually full of other people, so it might sound strange to say it offers less distractions than the environment at home. The distractions that take us away from studying are usually the number of options we have at home.

The bus doesn’t have your TV, your gaming console, or your waiting chores to provide distractions like home. The bus ride is also a finite amount of time, a simple block of time with a start and a finish.

Being in a public place doesn’t automatically mean you can’t focus. Working adults go to coffee shops, parks, and libraries frequently to be able to get more work done.

Improved focus

A lot of people find the rhythmic movement of being on the bus to be very helpful for concentrating. When we can get “in the zone” with learning, a lot more of what we study stays in our minds. It can help us be fresh for tests that day, and help with long term retention of information.

Feeling relaxed and ready to study helps the brain to get to work. The gentle movement of a bus ride can help to make that happen.

Reinforcement of learning

When we review material quickly after we learn it, retention is much better. This makes it much more likely to recall it easily at a later time. The bus ride home from school is the ideal time to set that information in your brain.

By taking a second look at some of the material from the day’s classes, you can save time closer to test day. When you don’t have to relearn everything beforehand, a test is much less stressful.

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Choosing the Right Homework for the Bus

Not all types of homework are equally suited for the bus environment. Consider the following when selecting the right tasks for studying on the bus:


Any problem that takes a long time or has many different steps may be a little complex for the bus. Being interrupted by reaching your bus stop, or working on a problem that needs a lot of notes can turn your study session into a waste of time. Choose fast, easy, or creative tasks you know you can finish for study time on the bus.


Not every school subject or topic is ideal for studying on-the-go. Art projects or geometry problems needing a pointy compass or protractor are definitely not a good idea. The best topics to learn on-the-go are ones that need very little equipment except maybe a book, pencil, flashcards, or a tablet.

Time sensitivity

Studying on the bus can be very helpful for keeping your grades up, but it isn’t an excuse to not do your homework at night. Bus work should always be extra work to save you time or boost your learning. If you rely on your journey time to do things with a deadline, it will make your study stressful and any unexpected happenings on the bus could distract you.

Only work on problems and projects that are not due soon to make the most of your extra time every day.

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Top Homework Categories for the Bus

Some categories of study and homework are particularly well-suited for the bus environment. Start by introducing some the following study types into your bus journey routine:

Review and recall

During a bus ride you can revisit recently covered material from classes to solidify your understanding and prepare for upcoming tests. This can also be done with the help of a friend. A morning bus ride is the perfect time to do extra preparation for any tests ahead that day, keeping information fresh in your mind. There are many ways to review and test yourself with information, including:

  • Flashcards for testing your knowledge
  • Rewriting notes until they sink into your memory
  • Using apps to review information and test yourself
  • Studying with a friend to ask each other questions

Active reading

The bus journey is also a great time to really sink into a textbook and make progress on a subject for better understanding. With the extra time in your study schedule, you have the opportunity to go beyond simple reading by:

  • Annotating textbooks
  • Highlighting key points
  • Making notes and summarizing chapters
  • Spending some time truly thinking about the subject, deepening your understanding
  • Re-reading sections you feel unclear about

Practice problems

Simple math and science problems that need no extra equipment are perfect for bus journey study sessions. Using homework problems or helpful tech such as apps on your tablet can help to gamify your learning and give instant positive feedback when you get the answers right.

Practicing problems can make test-taking much easier. As you complete the problems on a regular basis they become less intimidating and stressful when they appear on your tests.

Reading and comprehension

Reading books with the gentle hum of bus sounds in the background is an ideal time to catch up on your literature books, history, or other subjects with deeper reading involved. Rather than zoning out and looking out of the bus window, you can disappear into another world and really take the time to feel the content of your book.

Creative writing

Turning your bus journeys into an ideas machine is a great way to get ahead on your homework and assignments. Use your travel time to jot down ideas that come to mind for projects. It will be much faster to complete them when you sit down to do homework as you have already brainstormed your ideas.

Inspiration often comes to us when we have the freedom to think and let our minds wander. Using your journey to let your brain be creative is an amazing way to use your bus time.

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Maximizing Your Bus Study Session

With any study, the key to a good session is preparation. If you spend the whole time looking for the right books in your bag or deciding what to study, the journey is over before you start your session. Just like so many things in life, the best way you can help yourself in this situation is to have a plan. Use some of the following tips to stay ahead of the game for your bus study sessions.

Organize your materials

Put the books, pencils, or the tablet you will need for bus study in a place where you can access them easily. If you have to dig into your backpack and pull everything out to find one book on the bus, you won’t want to study anymore and you might end up losing some stuff in the process. It is also vital you can put everything away quickly when it comes close to your bus stop without a rush as it approaches.

Set specific goals

To make efficient use of your time on the bus and not waste it deciding what to do, it’s vital to have a plan. Before you start your journey it is a good idea to already have in mind:

  • One subject point you will study for the journey
  • Specific problems or passages chosen to complete on the bus
  • Which lists of vocabulary or foreign language words you will master
  • Set time blocks, chapters, or page goals for reading books

Take breaks

Using the bus journey to study doesn’t mean you can’t engage or take a break at all. In fact, taking a break is good for you, especially if your bus ride is long. Use a timer on your watch, phone, or tablet to set short ten or fifteen minute sessions for study. This allows you to take short breaks to chat, listen to music, or take in the view outside to give your brain a rest.

Minimize distractions

When you want to study, it’s ok to let the other people around you know. Explaining to your friends why you are choosing to study and how much time you are saving may inspire them to do the same. If music tends to distract you rather than help you concentrate, leave your tunes until you get home.

Wearing your headphones without sounds can still help to minimize any noise around you and encourage privacy. There will be some journeys where distractions on the bus are inevitable. Maybe your friend needs a helpful ear, or something happens that needs your attention. Don’t be discouraged if you miss one study session, simply go with the flow and get back to studying on your next bus ride.

Reward yourself

All habits are easier to build and to keep when you reward yourself for your efforts. To begin with, each time you complete a study session on the bus, assign a small reward for yourself. Rewards can be as simple as placing a sticker in your diary for that day, or allowing yourself some time to watch your favorite TV show when you get home.

Over time, the benefits you feel from the extra study and more free time you have due to being more organized will start to feel like a reward by itself.

Embrace the Opportunity

In just a few extra minutes a day, transforming your bus rides into productive study sessions can significantly enhance your learning and academic performance. By choosing the ideal tasks for you, embracing study strategies for your learning type, and creating a focused environment, you can turn your journeys into valuable opportunities to build great habits and unlock your full potential.

Study Resources

To keep your study sessions at the highest level of learning, without stressing you out, practicing good study hygiene and habits can change your feelings about learning after school. This PrepScholar article does a deep dive into all the ways you can improve your study.

In Conclusion

The daily bus ride doesn't have to be wasted time during your day or just a means of transportation; it can be your personal study sanctuary. By embracing the possibilities and implementing the strategies outlined in this article, you can maximize your learning opportunities and achieve academic success. So, next time you hop on the bus, remember – you're not just commuting, you're investing in your future.


  1. Learning Commons, UBC - This source provides a comprehensive guide on how to study effectively during bus commutes, offering tips for both visual and auditory learners. It includes strategies for reading course materials and utilizing audio formats, along with general tips for studying on the bus??.Learn more at Learning Commons.
  2. Grade Pivot - This site discusses various methods for studying while commuting, both in cars and on public transport. It emphasizes the use of flashcards, downloading readings, reviewing notes, and the effective use of headphones for studying in noisy environments??. Explore more at Grade Pivot.
  3. - Offering a list of 13 different ways to study during a commute, this source is particularly valuable for students who travel by different modes of transport. It provides unique study methods tailored for driving, walking, or using public transport??.Discover tips at
  4. Thomas Edison State University Blog - This blog post provides 10 ways to turn a work commute into a study session, with a focus on using technology like smartphones, tablets, and laptops. It's especially helpful for those who have a long commute and want to use this time productively??. Read the full article at Thomas Edison State University Blog.
  5. Wealth GlowUp - This website offers practical study tips for commuter college students, emphasizing the importance of using commute time for reviewing study notes and other learning activities. It also stresses the need for effective time management and prioritization for commuter students??. Visit Wealth GlowUp for more information.