Are you making one of these six classic study mistakes?
The books are open, the pencils are sharpened, your class notes are ready—so what are you doing wrong? Read up on these six classic bad study habits that college students make, and how to easily break them!
1) Cramming For Exams
Studies show that the information we “cram” into our brains before an exam seeps out just as quickly, making it a very ineffectual way to study. A far more effective alternative is to review your class notes regularly, quiz yourself on key points in the week or so leading up to the exam, and get a good night’s sleep the night before a big test.
2) Taking Too Many (or Too Few) Notes
Students tend to either write down everything instructors say – or jot down nothing at all.
Here are two basic rules to follow for taking great notes.
- First, write down anything your instructors put on a blackboard or projector: if they consider it important enough to write down, so should you.
- Second, listen carefully for verbal cues like, “This is a key concept” or “Here are some important points.” They’re all but shining a bright light on what you should be writing down.
3) Studying in the Wrong Environment
There are three things students need to create an optimal study environment: proper lighting (nothing that will make you squint or strain), an ergonomic chair (one that keeps your posture straight, which promotes alertness), and no excessive distractions (no TV, no loud music, no engrossing movie playing in the background).
4) Checking Social Media While You Study
Can’t resist the temptation to check Facebook, Twitter and other social media accounts?
If the lure of those sites is too much for you, your browser has free productivity tools that will manage “break time” for you. LeechBlock for Firefox, Nanny for Google Chrome, WasteNoTime for Safari and SelfControl for Mac users can all be programmed to block specific websites during fixed hours or for specific amounts of time.
You can block your social media sites for 50 minutes of every hour, and program them to unblock for 10, or whatever combination works for you!
5) Highlighting Everything In Your Textbooks
This may surprise you, but compulsive highlighting is one of the least effective ways to study for an upcoming exam. Use your textbook to keep up on reading assignments throughout the semester, and use it to look up information to complement your class notes.
If you have to highlight, do so only to draw immediate attention to key points on the page but never to mark up blocks of sentences.
6) General Disorganization
If you find yourself jotting down reminders in odd places or never consulting your student agenda, consider downloading the Studious app on your Android or iPhone. Enter your timetable and the app automatically silences your phone during class time. You can add homework assignments, exam dates, text notes and photos.
Everything you need in one place—no paper involved!
What are your study habits? Tell us in the comments.