Whether you’re a full-time student or taking some courses on the side, everyone benefits from having a good study routine. Strong study habits keep you focused, disciplined, and motivated. However, not everyone studies and absorbs information in the same way. For example, are you more of a visual learner or an auditory learner? Do you learn better by taking notes, or do you prefer problem-solving exercises? No matter how you learn, there are many study strategies out there that benefit everyone. What are six effective study habits you need to be successful?
Start with a Healthy Mindset
Even if you like what you’re learning about, studying can feel like a chore. Many people procrastinate until the very last minute, leaving them stressed and frustrated before they even begin. While you can’t force yourself to enjoy studying, you can try to change how you think about it. To start, don’t approach your study sessions with negative thoughts. For example, if you think “I’m never going to remember all of this” or “I don’t have enough time to study”, it may become a self-fulfilling prophecy. You also don’t want to compare yourself to others. Instead of thinking about being better or worse than your classmates, focus on doing better than you did last time.
Create a Study Schedule and Workspace
Oftentimes, people don’t study enough because they treat it as a secondary task to their other commitments. To avoid putting it off and running out of time, create a dedicated study schedule you can stick to. This might mean thirty minutes per day after class or an hour-long session before bed. Having a set time can be especially helpful if you prefer studying with someone else, as you can hold each other responsible. You should also look for a designated workspace that helps you concentrate effectively. Take the time to find a location that is quiet, well-lit, and free of distractions.
Steer Clear of Distractions
No matter what we’re doing, phones, computers, and other devices are usually within arm’s reach. Instead of focusing on the task at hand, we end up checking them repeatedly to respond to messages or look at our newsfeeds. Before you start your study session, ask yourself – do I really need to have them with me? For example, rather than reading your notes from your laptop screen, print them out instead. Keep your phone in your bag, not on your desk. Even if you’re using your devices to listen to music or look something up, try to keep screentime to a minimum.
Avoid Multitasking and Cram Sessions
People often recommend learning how to multitask so you can make the most of your time. However, this can negatively affect your productivity and worsen your retention. By reviewing multiple subjects at once, you might end up remembering very little of any of them. You may also confuse yourself if your topics are too similar. When revising, focus on one subject at a time and don’t let your other responsibilities distract you. On the other hand, you also shouldn’t study for several hours at once. Divide your study sessions into manageable chunks to avoid boredom and burnout.
Be Open to Asking Questions
For some people, asking questions can be more intimidating than it sounds. It shows a lack of understanding or knowledge, which can put you in a vulnerable position. However, don’t be afraid to ask your teachers or peers for help. For example, if you’re struggling to understand a concept or apply a formula, ask someone to demonstrate it for you. If you’re having trouble finding resources for your paper or project, ask someone if they have recommendations. Not only will this contribute to your overall study habits, but it also demonstrates your willingness to truly learn and understand the material.
Take Breaks and Prioritize Sleep
One of the most important study habits to have is taking the time to rest. Many people find school overwhelming, especially if they have other commitments like work and extracurricular activities. Instead of forcing yourself to squeeze as much out of your day as possible, take breaks when you can. That might mean taking a ten-minute walk between study sessions or going to bed an hour earlier than usual. Sleep is essential for our physical and mental health, as it helps us think, focus, and process information. If you don’t get enough sleep, all of your efforts may go to waste, no matter how hard you worked.