Study habits: the good, the bad, and the ugly
By paying attention to how you study, you can improve your chances of being successful. Take our quiz and get tips to fix your bad study habits.
When it comes to studying, there’s no one right way to do it. There are many different ways to understand and absorb information, and there are always things you can do to get better and more efficient with your studying.
There are many study tips, tools, and methods available, with some more effective than others. But the first thing you should do is an overall assessment of how you’re currently studying. Identify those habits that work for you and those that don’t. The problem is if you’re unaware of questionable tendencies, it’s difficult to correct them.
How did you do? Did you answer “yes” or “no” to most – or all – of the questions above?
The first three questions are related to time management, questions 4-6 relate to location and atmosphere, 7-9 relate to distractions, and the last three questions are about group studying.
Whatever area you struggle with, here are some tips to help you study smarter.
If you answered “yes” to questions 1-3, you likely have trouble with cramming and procrastination. It’s easy to push studying off until the last minute, but as you know, that doesn’t do you any favours when it comes to actually studying. While cramming may be a short-term solution, it doesn’t allow your brain to make the proper connections to retain that information.
Instead of cramming, schedule shorter blocks of time to slowly read over and absorb the material, take good notes (use visuals as well as text), and keep your resources organized. On top of that, always be sure to get a good night’s sleep before your test.
Location and atmosphere
Studying in your cozy bed may feel like a great idea, but if you answered “yes” to questions 4-6, you need to find a new place to study. Here’s a simple rule to follow: don’t study where you can easily fall asleep.
Instead of studying on the couch or in bed, try going to the library or another quiet spot. Or, if you prefer studying at home, create a dedicated study space. Try a few different places to see what works best for you, and to give yourself a serious chance at successful studying, leave your phone in your bag while trying to study.
Beep! Buzz! Ping! We’re all familiar with the usual study distractions that we face on a regular basis, but fear not; there are a few things you can do to study more effectively.
Chrome extensions like Focus allow you to block certain websites (e.g. all social media) for up to an hour at a time. This way, even if you want to check the latest gossip on Twitter or Facebook, Focus will stop you in your tracks, and remind you to work on the tasks on your to-do list.
Studying in a group is a double-edged sword. When you have the right group of people, it’s incredible. It opens up great discussions and allows group members to share different perspectives and to help each other understand the material. That said, when it doesn’t work, it’s a disaster.
Putting the right group of people together is a challenge, so focus on studying with people you perhaps don’t know as well to avoid study sessions turning into hangouts, or work with people you know to be strong students. If you notice the group becomes more focused on socializing rather than studying, be confident in either steering the focus back to the task at hand, or knowing when to limit your time with that group.
Whatever area of studying you think you could improve, go for it. By bettering your study habits, you’ll better the results of your study sessions.