Study Tips: 11 Bulletproof study habits successful students swear by
Do you study to study, or study to learn?
The question might sound silly, but it's actually pretty important. If you study to study, chances are that you're not studying effectively and not giving yourself the best chance at achieving the results you want.
You'll flit between different textbooks and online sources without ever fully digesting the information in any one of them. And when exams roll around, you will feel stressed out about having to remember what you memorised and not what you actually know.
The number one study habit that almost every grad student will tell you is this: study to learn. That is, study until you can answer most questions about the subject matter independently.
The reason why successful students do this is because they know that studying to learn is the best way to fully internalise the knowledge they need to ingest so they can do the best they can.
Effective study methods
Linked to this first study habit is another one you should avoid: cramming.
Cramming relies on the fact that most people will forget what they study right after they study it because there was no time for it to sink in, so the memories are stored superficially. If your current study method involves a lot of cramming, when exams roll around you may have a hard time remembering your notes or how what you're learning fits together.
As a result, you may not perform as well as you could have because your study techniques are self defeating.
This study habit can actually make you study worse over time.
Other good study habits are giving yourself time to learn on a continual basis. This is the best way to avoid the need to cram before exams and important tests.
Making good use of your time and studying in small amounts each day instead of waiting until the night before an exam will ensure you are well prepared for your exam.
Avoid long study sessions
Linked to this technique is rest. Did you know that your brain is one of your body's biggest consumers of energy? This is why getting sufficient rest before an exam will ensure your energy levels are high, your concentration is laser focused and your brain's ability to retrieve information will be quicker.
Removing stress associated with being unprepared will aid your ability to focus and concentrate.
Last but not least, study in a stress- and distraction-free environment. This may mean you study in your pyjamas or study at the library instead of at home or in your res room. The point is to make studying as enjoyable and stress free as possible.
Keep your focus on your goals and remind yourself why you are studying what you are: doing this will keep you motivated to put in the effort needed to study to learn, and not simply study to study and pass.
Self care is important
University life is your opportunity to create new memories that will last a lifetime. This phase in your life will pass in a short time so it's important to have fun too.
This is why the best use of your time is not sitting holed up in your room learning; and it's not staying out all night, every night partying with friends.
It's about balance. Do as much of what makes you happy and challenges you to grow and understand who you are.
Some extra beneficial study tips
- Ensure you have the correct and most up-to-date course material
- Search for and download some of the best study apps to help you
- Make good use of your time and learn at specific times
- Set alarms for your study sessions
- Find and join a study group
- Create a calm and focused study space free of distractions
- Speaking of distractions, switch off your phone so you don't keep getting Whatsapps, text messages or social media notifications
Studying can feel a bit like a balancing act. You need to study enough, study efficiently without wasting time, and study in a way that doesn't add additional stress to your life.
Follow the study tips above and you'll be well on your way to becoming the best at what you want to be.
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