All college students understand that for the foreseeable future, they will have to study. It’s the core of being successful in college. Studying seems like a pretty simple concept - take notes, read your textbooks, make flashcards, repeat. Although it seems simple, many students are guilty of having poor study habits (myself included!). Having bad study habits can greatly impact your college career, so it’s important to identify them as early as possible and turn them around. Here’s a list of five common study habits that students should stop if they not only want to get good grades, but actually learn this semester.
1. Choosing the Wrong Study Partners
As we all know, studying can be incredibly boring, which is why it can be a good idea to do it with other people. Not only can you understand and retain important information easier, but you can have fun doing it, too. Having a study partner or being part of a group can be a great thing… if you’re around the right people. A mistake that some students tend to make is studying with people that don’t help them advance in their classes. Studying with people who are lazy or unmotivated won’t help your GPA, so even if this describes one of your good friends, you would probably be better off finding a new study partner whose learning style is more in line with yours.
2. Your Note-Taking Skills Could Use Some Work
Everyone takes notes a little differently. Some type their notes, others write them in a notebook, and some people record them so that they can listen to them later. All of these are valid ways to gather information from class, but do you know which is the best note-taking form for you? If you’ve noticed that your grades aren’t exactly where you want them to be, your notes may be the culprit. Essentials to good note-taking include organization, highlighting only the important points of a lecture or textbook chapter, and putting this information into your own words so that it’s easier for you to understand.
I’m definitely guilty of this bad habit. I sometimes enjoy looking over my notes at home, sitting on a comfy couch with the TV on in the background, while petting my dog. Sounds like a relaxing time, right? It is! However, it’s not a good environment for me to focus on my schoolwork. A proper study space should be comfortable, but should still allow you to stay alert so you can concentrate on the class material. Good study spaces can be found in your school’s library, a cozy and quiet coffee shop, or even your own room (if all distractions are removed, including pets!).
4. Poor Time-Management
Although we want to make time for lots of things in our day, sometimes we put in less effort for the things that we don’t really want to do. Studying can easily fall into this category. Even though everyone knows studying is incredibly important, they might not always make the effort to put the time in to do it. You know how on the first few days of class, professors tell their students how they should put in a minimum of 1-3 hours each day or week towards studying? Well, they’re right. Even though it may seem like a giant pain in the butt to spend so much time looking over class material, it’s important to give yourself enough time to clearly understand what you’re reading, so you’re not cramming last minute when a big test comes up.
5. Plain Old Procrastination
Ah yes, I’ve saved the worst for last. This is probably the most common bad study habit because it’s so easy to do. Professors give out a syllabus on the first day of classes (or even before school starts), which gives you a schedule of how the semester will go. Usually, important quiz or exam days won’t be for a while when you’re looking at it for the first time, so students tend to put off their studying until then. This method might work for some, but unfortunately, most of us don’t have a fantastic memory, and we end up cramming for quizzes and exams at the last minute. If you want to avoid the stress of studying like a madman right before the exam, space it out and study a little bit each day. This way, you can retain smaller bits of information more easily, rather than trying to remember a lot of material in a small amount of time.