Implementing and adhering to good study habits can be tricky; for some students formulating any kind of study plan or revision timetable is something of an unknown world. As assignment deadlines loom or examinations draw closer a student starts to feel the incipient signs of panic and begins to dread possible failure.
There are four particularly widespread study mistakes, and yet they are easily remedied once noticed and acknowledged. Once these faults are banished it will be much easier for a student to review their study habits and get their revision and progress back on track.
Lack of Planning
It can be tempting to write an essay or piece of work without the benefit of an outline, but this is a mistake. All pieces of writing need to have a frame and a shape as this gives the work direction and flow. Without a properly sketched-out plan it is all too easy to repeat pieces of information, leave out important facts and to go off on an irrelevant but fascinating tangents, resulting in a piece of writing that is unintelligible, hard to read and that does not cover all the necessary points.
Make it a habit to always quickly jot down the vital points that need to be highlighted and roughly draft the introduction and conclusion, tying into the salient points that have been covered. This rounded approach will ensure that all the information in the document is relevant and clearly laid-out, and will also give the finished article a polished veneer as the beginning, end and content will all flow smoothly and logically.
Talking through studies
There are many benefits to studying in company, but the advantages can be lost when the drive to work, or subject of conversation, wanders away from the topic at hand. Gossip, current affairs and the doings of neighbours, ex-partners and family members can be fascinating and interesting, but they play no part in a study group.
Lay down ground rules when working in a group and do not be afraid to bring the group back to the task at hand. Instigate a lively debate about the subject under discussion, even baldly stating an incorrect fact to spur the other group members to voice the correct information! If the group does not adhere relatively closely to the study topic, work alone until a replacement group becomes available, or start a breakaway group that is dedicated to study.
Working in complete isolation
A student working alone can easily lose track of where he or she is; working too hard or not quite hard enough, or even working through the wrong assignments. Being chained to one designated study place for long hours, with no input or interaction with others can be very dispiriting.
Joining groups of other students periodically, even if the usual preference is for working alone, can be immensely beneficial. Working alone and struggling to understand concepts can engender poor self-confidence as the student believes that the others in the group are coping beautifully and that he or she are the only one not easily managing the work. Joining a group can cause an enormous sense of relief as it is realised that nearly everyone is struggling and most are on the same level. Discussion of tricky topics can aid understanding and comprehension as the group all contribute to the overall level of understanding.
Tiring study sessions
Trying to study for long unbroken periods can very quickly become an onerous chore to be dreaded beforehand and resented during. A student who forces him or herself to sit and study for tediously long sessions will not actually gain as much benefit as might be expected, as boredom levels rise and concentration, understanding and assimilation declines.
It is far better to break up study sessions into small manageable segments, with a clear break in between sessions. A quick walk to clear the head, a 20 to 30 minute power nap or a relaxing shower or bath are all ideal ways to allow the brain to become refreshed. Change the manner of studying from long drawn-out periods staring at books and desk-aids, and exchange them for short exciting quizzes and intense bursts of studying followed by a ‘reward’ period.
Eradicating these poor study habits can make the whole business of studying much easier. College and university, even high school, is a time of life when students are expected to take more responsibility both in their personal lives and with their education. Instilling good habits from the very start will stand all students in good stead for the future.