How to Improve Your Study Habits

Everyone knows that good study habits are keys to academic success.  But how do your study habits actually help you? There are observable reasons to say that our study habits affect our academic performance as well as our other habits.  We know that a student with good study habits is expected to academically excel in class.  The same study habits translate to other habits which in the long run would benefit you.  So, it is important that you do not only develop good study habits, you must also improve your study habits. 

Developing Good Study Habits

Cramming on the day before your exam is one of the many habits you should get rid of.  While others believe that by hurrying they retain more information, but the truth is, what you can recall is what you already learned in class.  What this means is that cramming is useless! It is better to try to understand the lesson on the day that it is taught, and then review your notes right after to make sure that you understood what your teacher taught you. 

This brings me to my second point. Take notes in class.  I cannot stress enough how important taking down notes is.  Listening just won’t cut it.  While our brains have the capacity to store huge amounts of information, it cannot process and save all of the information fed to it, given the many functions the brain has to do.  So it is best that once we hear information that we feel is important, we preserve it by writing.  You don’t necessarily need to have a notebook with you every time. The fun part is that you can use your smartphone! Apps like One Note and Evernote, among many others, are free and can be synced on many other devices that you carry all that you need in such a small device.  Makes sense, right?

So, yes, I am advocating note-taking, and I know that you may be thinking, isn't audio recording better than taking down notes?  Well, the answer is: Maybe it is, maybe it isn't.  To me, taking down notes is not only quicker, but it saves time.  I don't have to listen again to the whole lecture in an audio file and try to make out which are important ideas.  By attentively listening in class, I can pick out which idea or information is important, and that is what I write down.  Secondly, taking down notes during class helps me focus on the lesson which also helps me understand better.  Essentially, it is all up to you.  If you feel like listening in class and an audio recording will make reviewing easy, then go ahead.  It is really up to you.

Lastly, you can develop good study habits by systematizing.  Nothing gets more confusing than chaos itself.  By creating a study system which you feel works, you will later see the improvement in your grades which you can later see is adapted to your work habits.

Improving Study Habits

Having good study habits though does not mean that you will automatically see improvement in your grades.  So it is important that you should always be aware of which study habit you need to improve one.  There is quite a difference between efficient and productive students versus students with good study habits.  For one, successful students plan when they study.  By allotting a scheduled time, these students do not need to spend hours and hours studying on examination days.  By creating a pattern of when they study, they can divide their work and have some time left for other activities. 

Another study habit effective students try to improve is how they study.  Like I said earlier, stuffing your brain with a lot of information in a short period only wears you out.  Imagine staying up late, and waking up early to take the exam exhausted and feeling nervous that you did not do enough and worried whether you passed the test or not.  It is an unnecessary stress that you do not need, right?  The key is to space your studying.  Schedule your study hours for short periods and take breaks.  The short breaks will help restore your mental energy.

Finally, set specific goals for studying.  Your goals are your indicators of progress.  By setting goals, you see exactly what you have finished and what remains for you to study. I don't know about you, but I think this is smart studying.  You get more work done by creating a checklist of what you need to accomplish, and you do not get to be overwhelmed by the other tasks that you need to do during the day.  After everything is done, wouldn't it be wonderful to have some time left in your hands to enjoy with your friends?