Effective study habits are the key to better grades - it's really that simple. And the key to effective studying isn’t studying longer, it's studying smarter. You can begin studying smarter with these 7 proven and effective study habits. Then take our quiz to find out where your study habits rank!
1. Be on time for class
Sounds simple right? Sometimes simple habits can go a long way! Arriving to class on time (or even early!) gives you the luxury of settling in, preparing class materials and focusing your mind on the lesson to come. In the realm of online learning, rather than rolling out of bed and logging on a minute before class begins, try waking up an hour before to give yourself enough time to get through your morning routine and review your notes.
Showing up on time for each class helps to develop the habit of being punctual with important commitments. This habit can serve you well through college and into future careers.
2. Be prepared for class
Being prepared means having all of the necessary books and tools, reviewing materials for the upcoming lesson, and reviewing notes from the previous class. Being prepared is a key habit to feeling confident, understanding new information, organizing yourself, and setting yourself up for a stress-free exam period.
3. Ask questions when you don't understand
Don't be shy to ask questions during class! There are several advantages to asking questions, aside from helping you understand the material better:
The teacher will understand how information is being received by students and can adjust lessons.
If you're having trouble, chances are a lot of other students are confused as well. Your question might help a number of other students who don't understand and even a few who thought they did!
The teacher may have made a mistake in the lesson (it happens!)
4. Set a weekly study schedule
A study schedule is a critical habit for effective time management and one of the key strategies for a successful school year. On its own, studying and assignments take up a lot of time - not to mention your other commitments like extracurricular activities, sports, and social engagements.
Creating a study schedule is one of the first skills our tutors teach students. This critical skill allows you to achieve a balanced life, all while acing your courses - and without all the late night cram sessions. By mapping out how you will spend your time, it ensures you are setting aside enough time for class work, studying, and review, but also for those other important parts of your life. Your mind and body will thank you!
5. Take notes while you read
Reading for pleasure, like your fave vacation beach read, is usually a ‘passive’ exercise. Sit back, relax, and let the words flow over you! But while studying, reading should be an ‘active’ exercise. In other words, you should always aim to engage with the information. One of the most effective ways to actively engage with your reading is to make notes as you read.
While there are many effective ways to take notes (stay tuned for more on effective note-taking strategies), one thing to always keep in mind is that paraphrasing and summarizing is one of the best ways to retain information. Writing notes in your own words helps you to think about the ideas in the text and how you can explain them coherently. Ultimately, note-taking helps you retain, analyse and remember what you read.
6. Review, review, review
We remember things best immediately after we've read, heard or watched them. But, as time passes, our memories begin to fade. That's why reviewing information regularly is so important. It allows us to transfer new knowledge and skills from short-term to long-term memory, and then keep it there.
Our tutors recommend reviewing your class notes the same day after class, when they are the freshest in your mind. This also ensures that you understand everything that was covered in class so you never fall behind. So when it comes time for exams, you won't feel like you're starting from scratch.
7. Keep a "growth" mindset
Classes can be overwhelming - especially those that aren't necessarily your strong suit. It's easy to get down on yourself when you have stacks of information and none of it seems to be making sense. One of the most valuable skills you can learn is to stay positive and put yourself in a growth mindset. This means, rather than letting thoughts like "I'll never get this" or "I'm not smart enough" creep into your mind, you develop a strategy to tackle the obstacle. Often, it can be as simple as dividing up the task into smaller, more manageable chunks and creating a study schedule to approach it in a slow and steady manner. Staying positive and embracing your challenges as opportunities for growth will go a long way to getting you to the finish line! And if you really feel like you're struggling, there are people who are eager to help!