Do you have good study habits? Do you know what makes a good habit? Well, if you find yourself struggling to come up with a few examples of good study habits, then chances are … you probably don’t have them. Or at least, you’re not making the most of them to learn how to be successful in school and life. So, we’re going to take a look at 17 of the best things that you could be doing.
We’re going to talk about how to improve your memory, how to improve study habits, and even how to improve study skills, as well as how to create a study plan template for students. Because when you improve the skills that you already have, you’re setting yourself up even better for success in your education (and the rest of your life). So, let’s take a look at what you need to be doing to make the most out of your ways.
First Things First: What are Common Bad Study Habits?
The first thing we need to talk about are the bad study habits that far too many people fall into the trap of. Do you find yourself struggling to stay on task when you’re studying? Do you find yourself always falling behind in studying or forgetting information when it matters most? If any of these sounds like you, then chances are you’re probably falling victim to some bad study habits like these ones.
1. Cramming for Tests
The truth is, cramming for tests is a very bad study habit, and it’s something you want to avoid doing. If you cram, it means that you’re not studying at all for most of the time and then trying to study for everything all at once at the last minute.
2. Succumbing to Distractions
If you turn on the TV or a movie or too much music or even if you have other people around you, then you could be succumbing to distractions. That means you’re not actually absorbing the information you need, and you’re going to end up struggling to use it later on.
3. Not Paying Attention
If you don’t pay attention to what you actually need to study, then you could miss out on it. You could end up spending a lot of time studying but not the right things. And that’s definitely going to mean trouble for you when it comes time for the test.
If you’re trying to study more than one thing at a time or you’re trying to study and do something else, then you’re definitely not as effective as you would be if you were entirely focused on one thing. This can make it take longer to learn the same amount.
5. Not Having a Plan
When you sit down to study, you should know what you’re doing and what your end goal is. You may even want to write out what your study plan template for students is for your time, so you know if you actually hit those goals or not.
6. Not Being Organized
Chances are you only have a set amount of time that is available for studying or that you set aside for studying. If you’re not organized (meaning you don’t have the materials you need together and ready), you’re not going to be able to get as much studying done.
7. Not Having Notes
You should always be taking notes in your classes. If you get to studying and you don’t have notes, it means you’re only going to have your textbook to get you through, and that can be more difficult. You want to have something you can look at easily and review key points.
8. Not Getting Help
If you’re struggling with any aspect of your studying or the material, it’s essential to get help immediately. If you don’t get the help, you’re going to find yourself having even more problems as you continue moving further along with the subject.
9. Focusing on Memorization
When it comes to studying, your goal should be to understand the material, not just to be able to regurgitate the content for the test. If you only try to memorize, you’ll have trouble bringing it out later on, whereas actually understanding the material will help you later.
What are Common Good Studying Habits?
So, if we’ve already talked about the lousy study habits, what are some of the good things that you should be doing in order to set yourself up for success in studying? You want to know how to improve your study skills and memory, right? Or you want to know how to make a study plan and stick to it. Well, we’re going to talk about a few of those things right here.
1. Getting Organized
This one is something just about everyone knows, right? We all know that it’s essential to get organized. It’s just hard to actually do it or to stick to it over the long term. That’s where it can get a little difficult. But it’s still important to figure out an organization method that actually works for you.
2. Create a Study Plan
If you have a plan for when and how you’re going to study, it becomes a whole lot easier for you to do. You can focus on the fun when it’s not time to study, and you can concentrate on studying when it is. You don’t have to feel guilty for going to that movie because it’s not study time. Take out that planner that we’re going to help you pick out later and write out your study plan in there.
3. Be Prepared for Class
If you want to have good study habits, you should absolutely start by being prepared when you get into class. You want to make sure that you always have a notebook and pen or computer to take effective notes for each class. Then make sure that you’re reviewing those notes early on so you can record anything vital that you remember.
4. Have a Study Group
Study groups can be great to help you master the information you otherwise struggle with. They can also keep you focused when it comes to study time. This is a classic idea when it comes to understanding how to study even better. Just make sure that the study group you join or form is actually dedicated to studying just like you are. Otherwise, you could end up with a social group instead of a study group.
5. Have a Good Workspace
You may be studying at your kitchen table, or in your bedroom or the basement or at the library. The key is to make sure that you clear out your space of everything but your study materials. If you have anything else in the space, it can be distracting while you’re trying to look over your notes and textbooks. You get to decide what your study space looks like, but you want to keep it neat and clean.
6. Stay Offline
If at all possible, stay entirely offline. In fact, if you can study only with physical materials like printed or handwritten notes, flashcards, or textbooks, that’s the best way. Otherwise, you may want to turn off the Wi-Fi on your computer or tablet so you can’t get distracted. Definitely stay away from social media while you’re supposed to be studying, since it’s going to be a huge distraction.
7. Use a Reward System
Setting up a reward system can be a great way to get yourself even more motivated. After all, who doesn’t like to have a little something special to say ‘good job’ for something they don’t really want to do? When you’re studying, it’s not going to be fun, but if you have something to look forward to at the end, that’s going to make it worth it. It could be something little or something big, but it should be tied to the type of achievement you’ve made.
Why are Good Study Habits Important?
Maybe you’re not even really sure why good study habits even matter. Well, if you’ve gotten this far, then chances are you know that there is something important in the process, but … maybe you just don’t know all the reasons. Well, we’re going to talk about what you need to know. Good study habits are going to set you up for the rest of your life, and here’s why you need to start with them early.
1. Help You Improve in School
When you study, you’re going to get better grades because you’re actually reinforcing the material that you’re learning in each of your classes. You’re going to have a better chance for that material to stick, and that’s going to be better for you moving to the next year and the next. In fact, each year will continue to build on the next, especially since your study habits are transferable.
2. Learn New Skills
It’s not just about learning how to study for class. You’re also learning things like dedication, follow through and just plain positive habit building. All of these skills will actually help you throughout your entire life. It’s not just about your classes, but also about skills you can apply to a job and even to your personal life in many ways.
3. Get a Good Job
We’ve all heard that in order to get a good job, you need to do good in school, and that definitely does matter. By doing well and graduating from college or from a trade school, you’re going to have an opportunity to get the job that you really want. And that comes from knowing just how to study well and how to use those other types of skills we mentioned above as well.
4. Keep You Healthy
When you have good study habits rather than bad habits, you’re going to feel a whole lot better about yourself and your abilities. You’re going to be spending less time studying but doing so more effectively, and you’re going to be less stressed. All of this is going to help you be healthier overall, and it’s definitely going to keep you happier at the same time.
5. Improve Your Retention
When you’re using the right study habits, you’re also going to have a better chance of actually retaining the information. You’ll be able to use that information when it comes to your classes, future studying, taking tests, or anything else because you’ll have it stored more firmly in your mind than if you studied in less ideal ways.
6. Improve Your Motivation
If you have excellent study skills, you’re going to feel better about studying. You’re going to be more willing to study because it feels like it’s actually doing something, right? By studying right, you gain something from it, and then you get the motivation that you need to keep studying. It creates a never-ending cycle for you to build on.
What Makes a Good Study Habit?
We’ve talked about some of the good study habits that are out there, but there’s no way we can give you an exhaustive list. So, how do you know if you’re making the right decisions? How do you know if you’ve found a good study habit? Well, chances are it’s going to fit at least one of these criteria.
1. It Works Every Time
Okay, so may everytime is a little bit of an overstatement. But a good study habit is one that you can turn to consistently and expect it to work for you. You should be able to follow that habit and actually get some benefit out of studying using that habit. And you should be able to expect that you’ll get something good each time you try it out. Otherwise, you’ll get discouraged with your studies.
2. It’s Easy to Do
Convincing yourself to sit down and study is hard enough sometimes. If the technique that you’re trying to follow is complicated or confusing, once you’ve gotten to that point, you’re definitely not going to stick with it. So, your study habits should be simple to do and simple to follow through with.
3. It Keeps You Focused
You need to make sure that your study habits are actually going to keep you focused and on task. If they’re not, then it doesn’t do any good to have the best possible practices. You should look at the way different habits make you feel and how well they keep you working. Then keep the ones that keep you going and trade out the ones that don’t.
4. They Make You Feel Smart
You should feel good using these study habits. When you work on them, you should feel like you’re really learning and like you are making headway on any subject you study. You shouldn’t feel like you’re just wasting your time on the process, and it shouldn’t make you feel bad about yourself either (which can happen if you have a lousy study habit).
How to Improve Your Study Habits: 7 Tips
All right, now you’re fully prepared with tips about some of the bad study habits you might be falling victim to and some of the good habits that you should be putting into practice. But … just how are you going to actually improve your own study plans for college students? How can you make sure that you’re putting those good habits into practice? Hopefully, these seven tips are going to help you.
1. Put Your Phone Away
One of the first things you should do to build better habits is to put your phone away. Put it in a drawer or leave it in another room. This will keep you from getting distracted by those dings and other notifications that come through regularly. Put your phone on silent as well, so those sounds aren’t going to get through wherever you put the device.
2. Use a Stop App
Use an app like Focus Booster, AntiSocial, or SelfControl to keep you from going on social media or any websites that tend to distract you when they shouldn’t. These apps and programs will allow you to set the programs that you don’t want to be able to use and will keep those sites locked out.
3. Utilize Mnemonics
When it comes to remembering some of the more specific information (like laws of science or formulas in math), mnemonics can be helpful. You can create your own ways to memorize these specific items (since you’ll need to have them memorized even after you fully understand how to use them).
Yes, we actually mean sit still and focus on your breathing for several minutes. You can choose to meditate for five minutes or even for longer than that. Set up your space and then sit back and close your eyes. Focus only on your breathing for however long you choose. Then, set your intention and your goals for your study session, open your eyes, and get started.
5. Walk Away
You’re going to need to take breaks, and we already talked about that in an earlier section. But make sure that when you do take breaks, you actually walk away from the table and away from all of your materials. Take a full break where you’re doing something you enjoy or just relaxing for the full break and then getting right back into it.
6. Know What You Don’t Know
When you find yourself struggling with anything, write it down. Take a note of the topics or specific aspects that you struggle to keep track of or that you don’t remember enough about and keep moving on. You’ll want to go back to those subjects as you continue studying and devote more time to them as well. Be sure that you spend some time putting those subjects into your study plan.
7. Take Quality Notes
You need to have great notes in order to actually be able to maintain the best habits. So, learn some quality ways to make notes when you’re in class and even while you’re studying. You may want to make categories of the main subjects and sub notes underneath. Maybe you want to use color-coding or specific notations (dashes/bullet points).
How to Improve Your Study Skills: 5 Tips
What if you already have some study skills, or you’ve started implementing some of the ones we’ve talked about? Just getting starting is part of the battle, but it’s only going to get you so far. You’re also going to need to actually hone those skills and start improving even further. And these five tips are going to help you with that.
1. Know How You Learn
Are you a visual learner who does best with images? An auditory learner who learns through sound and music? A kinesthetic learner who learns through doing? A logical learner who learns through logic and reasoning? A verbal learner who learns best through words? A social learner who learns best in groups? A solitary learner who learns best alone? By knowing your learning style, you’ll be able to focus on that method of studying instead of wasting time on other techniques.
2. Study a Little Every Day
Instead of sitting down and studying for several hours at one time, study for a short amount of time each day. This makes it easier to stick to your plan and keeps you from feeling overwhelmed in those long study sessions that you might require otherwise. Plan it out and make sure you set aside a little bit of time each day so that you schedule too much into your day.
3. Get Your Mind Right
You may not be overly excited about studying, but you don’t want to go into it feeling too down or frustrated. This can actually set you up for problems when you’re trying to get yourself to focus. Instead, approach your study time with an open mind and a neutral feeling, at least. This will allow you to be more successful and to retain the information you read.
4. Use Your Planner
We’re going to talk more about the different planners that you should take a closer look at, but first, we’re going to tell you that you should have one. Use your planner to write down each of your classes, your assignments, and your study schedule. Then make sure you stay in tune with that planner and keep track of everything.
5. Avoid Unhealthy Snacks
This may not seem like a big deal when it comes to your study skills, but it absolutely is. Avoid the high caffeine drinks, sugary treats, and anything else that you know isn’t good for you. You don’t have to avoid all of your favorite treats, just make sure you’re limiting them and that you don’t use them immediately around or during your study time.
How to Improve Your Memory When Studying: 5 Tips
When it comes to doing well on tests and exams or even in your classes, you need to be able to memorize content, right? So, how are you going to do that? What can you do to make sure that you’re memorizing your content the right way so you can use it when you need to? Well, we’re going to talk about just that in 5 tips here.
1. Take Breaks
It may seem strange that taking breaks is an excellent way to improve your memory, but it absolutely is. Research shows that 56 minutes is the maximum amount of time that you should study at once, followed by a 27-minute break. By taking those breaks, you keep yourself from getting overwhelmed and allow your mind time to process. If you struggle to keep working that long study for 25-minute bursts using the Pomodoro technique.
2. Cut the Distractions
Some people can listen to music while the study. Others can’t. Make sure you know whether music is going to be a distraction or an aid. And as for everything else? Turn it off. Get rid of the TV, movies, podcasts, video games, even friends, and others who might pop in randomly. You want to be focused only on your studies.
3. Use Aromatherapy
Scents like lavender, sandalwood, and frankincense are great for focus and memory, which can help you with your study. Adding these scents when you’re studying can actually give you a little bit of an edge, and you don’t have to worry about them distracting you (just keep the scents light).
4. Get Enough Sleep
Make sure that you’re getting plenty of sleep every night. If you get at least 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night, it’s going to help your brain to actually store and file all the information you learned that day. Not to mention it’s going to prepare you better for what you’ll learn during the next day.
5. Use Visualization
If you can actually visualize the information that you’re studying, it can help you to remember everything. You’ll be able to picture those same images when you actually get into class, when you’re working on homework or when you’re working on a tests. You may want to visualize the way different events happened in a specific order in history. Or maybe visualize specific poems and books in your English classes.
What are the Best Study Planners to Use and Stick to?
Are you ready to get started putting all of these plans into action? Are you prepared to become an even better planner, a better studier, and a better student all around? Then you’re definitely going to want to have a high-quality planner that will allow you to get organized and keep track of everything that you need. And the best options are available right here.
1. The One You Design
If you’re feeling a little artistic or even just have some time on your hands, the best planner can be the one that you design for yourself. That way, you can focus on the areas that you need and ignore the ones that aren’t as important to you.
This planner is actually a high-level one that provides you with spaces not only to record everything that you need to do but the due dates as well. It lets you record and evaluate different skills; it has calendars to be used as you like, and it can be put into your standard binder easily. It even teaches you how to manage your time better.
- 07/29/2021 (Publication Date) - Guilford Press; Csm Spi edition (12 Jun. 2015) (Publisher)
Last update: 2021-07-29
With this planner, you’re not just recording tasks but actually learning new skills while you’re at it. It teaches you a technique called FOCUS, which works through a series of different sessions and a time frame of 100 days to achieve them. You also learn about preparing yourself for one day after another and to build a level of structure.
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Last update: 2021-07-29
4. Flagship Collection
Here, you’re going to have actual hourly scheduling options, spaces for gratitude messages, areas for top 3 lists for your things to do that day, and even to-do lists overall. You get a quote or a proverb on each day page, and you can add in more printables like exercise logs, bucket lists, and a whole lot more.
The final pick in our planners is this one, and it gives you a whole lot of great features like daily, weekly and monthly planning sections, plenty of space to write things down and also eBooks and videos that are designed to help you achieve the goals that you have for the period.
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Last update: 2021-07-29
Wrapping Things Up: Keys to Improving Your Study Habits
Now that we’ve gone through all of the tips and tricks you’re going to need. Hopefully, you’re ready to get started improving your study habits. Whether you started out with a few good ones or you have to start from scratch, you should be off to a pretty good start by now.