Is there a secret to getting good results in college? The answer is yes! Cultivating good study habits is one of the keys to succeeding in college.
However, cultivating good study habits isn’t exactly straightforward. It requires a lot of diligence and will power. But it’s something you can excel in.
Below are some research proven strategies you can employ when trying to imbibe good study habits.
Habit #1 – Find the Learning Style That Works for You
Learning styles refer to how people gather, interpret and store information for future use. Each learning style makes use of different parts of the brain.
No two students are the same. What works for one student may not work for another. While one student might stay up at night to study, another may prefer to study during the daytime. Also some students are prolific crammers while others assimilate lessons just by listening in class.
One of the most popular learning styles is VARK. VARK is an acronym for Visual, Aural, Reading and kinesthetic:
Visual Learning Style
Students who learn under this style use images and diagrams. In humans, the brain’s occipital lobes manage the visual sense.
Aural Learning Style
For aural learners, the preference is usually discussions, sounds, and music. The brain’s temporal lobes handle auditory content.
Reading/Writing Learning Style
Learners under this category prefer to learn from textual contents. Textual contents can be in the form of lists on notes, print form or online.
Frontal and temporal lobes within the brain handle this learning style.
Kinesthetic Learning Style
Students who use this learning style prefer practical exercises, examples, and trials. The parietal lobes of the brain drive this learning style.
it is possible for students to have a mix of these learning styles. However, one style might be more dominant than others.
Figuring out your preferred learning style can help you determine the best ways to study. It also enables you to maximize your study time.
Habit #2 – Set Realistic Study Goals
Setting study goals is another good study habit. It helps you develop a direction for your studying.
Before setting a goal, carry out the following:
- Assess how your previous learning style impacted your grades.
- Determine if you need to change the learning style.
The outcome of the evaluation should form the basis of your study goal.
Ambiguity, when setting up goals can lead to failure. The same applies to setting unrealistic goals as they are demotivators.
You can utilize the SMART Method to set study goals. SMART is an acronym for:
- Specific: Each study goal must be clearly defined
- Measurable: You must be able to quantify the goal
- Achievable: The study goal must be viable
- Relevant: The goal should be results-based
- Time-bound: Have a target date for each goal.
Below is an example of a study goal using this method:
Memorize 5 formulas to score 50% in the theory session of the upcoming Mathematics exam.
Start writing the first three chapters of your book, if part of your degree requirement includes the completion of a full length book as a thesis.
Setting SMART goals can improve your academic records.
Habit #3 – Add Your Study Time to Your Daily Routine
Incorporating study time into your daily routine is a good study habit. Establishing daily Studying routines helps you to avoid last minute preparations which may affect your exam grades. Being pressed for time may cause you to resort to cramming.
Creating a study routine does not mean dedicating long hours to studies. It means studying for short hours with greater intensity. Studies show that this study habit is more beneficial. It saves you from feeling the pressure that generally comes from studying for longer hours.
Scheduling your study time between 11am to 9:30pm may help you study more effectively. The brain is said to be more active during those periods.
As you choose a study time, ensure you are consistent about it. You can do so by:
- Identifying your weekly or monthly activities
- Assigning periods to each activity
Doing this ensures each hour is accounted for. It also makes you better organized.
Finally, on this point, ensure that you incorporate some flexibility. Unforeseen events may impact your schedule. Make provisions for those times so that you will always have time to study.
Habit #4 – Establish Your Study Zone
What is the study zone? A place where you find it easy to concentrate. A space where you’re the most creative and attentive.
This is a place where the external environment won’t distract you, while you read or write.
Everyone gets distracted by something. It is essential to do away with distractors in the study zone.
Such distractors include cell phones. Picking calls and texting periodically can make you lose your focus.
It is important to note that learning styles impact study zones. Some might prefer a quiet space while others like a little noise.
Your study zone is not just about the environment. It is also about the items at your disposal. Without the necessary items, your study may be affected.
Ensure you have those things that will make learning easy like a desk, a comfortable chair, and laptop before you start learning.
Another vital thing to do is to have more than one study zone. This will ensure that you always have a backup. Also, occasionally changing your environment improves creativity and concentration.
Habit #5 – Review Lesson Notes
Another promising study habit is reviewing lesson notes. According to the forgetting curve principle:
Information gets lost over time when no attempt is made to retain it
When is the best time to review your lesson notes? Any of these methods would do:
Lesson notes should be reviewed within 24hours.
It has been proven that students who review their notes within 24hours recall 75% of its contents.
You can also review your notes before bed. Information read before sleeping is easier to retain.
Reviewing your notes helps you learn a new concept. It also allows you to build upon previous knowledge.
Habit #6 – Take Great Notes
Taking notes while doing revisions is another good study habit. The essence of taking notes is to highlight significant points.
However, there are different methods of notes taking:
- Cornell Method: organizing class notes into summaries.
- Mapping Method: using visuals to organize class notes.
- Outlining Method: using headings and bullets to organize topics.
- Charting Method: make use of columns to group information.
- Sentence Method: writing down each topic as a sentence.
How you take notes may depend on your learning style. For instance, visual learners may prefer the mapping method.
You don’t have to take notes of anything and everything. All you need to do is note down the crucial points. Important points include focus areas suggested by the lecturer.
Habit #7 – Take Breaks
You don’t want to sacrifice your rest time for studying. Overworking yourself will only lead to burnout and stress.
Therefore, when planning your study hours, ensure you incorporate breaks. Studies suggest that students learn better when they are well-rested.
This also relates to pulling all-nighters. All-nighters occasionally are fine but don’t make it a habit.
Having a proper rest, not only keeps alert, but helps you to maintain good mental health. Alertness is a crucial ingredient to assimilating better.
Good study habits are essential in becoming a successful student. All you have to do is choose a conducive study zone, take down notes while revising your notes, find out your preferred learning style and all the other aforementioned good study habits.
And here’s another bonus tip: take mock tests. You can use past questions to test yourself, see how well you tackle these questions. This will help you acclimatize to conditions in the examination hall. Also, past question papers will help you to know how to study each subject and what to expect.
Ready to succeed in your college exams? Great. Simply implement these habits and watch your performance improve.
Are there other good study habits that work for you? Please let us know in the comments section. We’ll love to learn from you.
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About The Author
Maria De La Pena is a content writer for the unlimited graphic design service Delesign with a keen interest in eCommerce and internet marketing. She is a communications graduate and understands what it takes to write persuasive copy and blog posts. Outside of work, you can find her mini-blogging about her life on social media.