How To Build Effective Study Habits for Life
Effective and proficient students aren’t necessarily those who spend the longest time reviewing their notes and missing a few hours of sleep just to read their books. Instead, competent learners are those who chose to study smart.
At Rehoboth Christian College, we aim to help students appreciate the value of education. We believe that by practising good study habits at a younger age, students become more efficient learners especially when they pursue higher levels of education.
In this article, you will learn how you can establish your own study habits. We will cover topics like how to identify your learning style, create a study area at home and take down notes effectively. You will also discover the importance of setting goals, scheduling study time and group studying.
Are you ready to learn how to study effectively?
Let’s begin our discussion about study tips by taking a closer look students should set SMART learning goals.
Setting your SMART Goals
In 1981, George T. Duran published a study that used the acronym SMART to describe what type of goals to set in life. According to Duran, SMART stands for:
- Specific – Instead of aiming to simply improve your studying habits, you should set more specific goals like “I want to become better in studying Math” or “I want to improve my reading comprehension skills.”.
- Measurable – To know if you’re getting close to meeting your target results, you need to use a set of parameters. More importantly, you should know what learning paramaters you should value.
- Achievable – Set a goal that you can control. Focus on setting goals that you can achieve such as “I want to become a better reader in 6 months time.”
- Relevant – Choose goals that are relevant and important to your success.
- Time-bound – Don’t forget to set a deadline so you can determine what tasks you need to prioritise.
With your goals in mind, you can create a more defined and laser-focused way of learning your lessons. Aside from knowing what goals you need to meet each month, you also need to determine what sort of learning style works best for you.
Understanding your learning style
Each person uses a different learning style and method. Some use only one style, while others try to combine two or more in an effort to improve their learning efficiency.
- Visual – Visual learners cope better when they see images and other forms of graphics to explain concepts and processes. They also make use of words as their learning cues.
- Aural – Learners who use this style fare better when they listen to sounds. Some even rely on music to boost their learning ability.
- Verbal – Verbal learners largely rely on talking and relaying what they know. They make use of conversations and group discussion to study better.
- Physical – Most physical learners wave their hands whenever they speak. They also like to use physical objects such as puzzles and pieces of equipment when they study their lessons.
- Logical – Learners who use the logical style love making lists when they study. They are naturally good in math and they love keeping things well-organised.
- Social – These type of learners prefer studying in groups. They love discussing their ideas and learning from other people around them.
- Solitary – They feel more at ease when they study or solve problems alone. They are often shy. However, once they feel more comfortable, they’re not afraid to speak their minds.
Understanding how you assimilate and process information is crucial in identifying what adjustments you must do to achieve the study goals you set.
Designating your study area
Having a designated study area is an important part of developing a solid studying habit. It will help you create a more solid routine whenever you review your lessons or prepare for a test.
When creating your official study area at home, you should take note of the following tips:
- Pick a place that’s conducive for learning – It should be well-lit and properly ventilated. Otherwise, it will be hard for you to study properly.
- Get rid of distractions – Your study area should be located far from the TV. You should also consider other kinds of distraction such as noise from the neighbours and your gadgets.
- Keep things organised – All of your things should be organised properly. Clutter on your desk can also distract you from mastering your lesson.
- Consider adding indoor plants to improve air quality – EcoWatch has a list of indoor plants that can be used to improve air quality. A few examples include Aloe Vera, Lady Palm, Reed Palm and Rubber plant. Consider having any of these plants placed near your study area.
Scheduling your study time
To develop an effective learning habit, you must be able to commit to a regular studying schedule. Cramming is one of the many habits of failing students. While it might be a tempting way to get a passing grade, cramming will only result in poor memory retention.
Instead of cramming two to three weeks before your designated examination day, you should review your lessons every day. This will help you study for your classes, prepare for your future studies and relate things with greater ease.
Find out what time of the day works best for you. If you feel more productive at night, schedule at least two hours reviewing your lessons before you sleep. If you feel more motivated to study in the morning, you can schedule your review before you head out for school.
Choosing what subject to prioritise
When you review your lessons, try to start with the hardest ones first before you proceed to studying the easy topics. This will help you develop discipline in studying. Work hard to improve areas that you’re not particularly good at.
For example, if you’re struggling to understand your lessons in math, try to dedicate long hours to practice your problem-solving skills. Then, you can proceed to review the easier topics.
Say yes to group studying
If possible, you should try joining group study sessions. This will allow you to learn with other students. You can learn from them through brainstorming. Group lessons also allow you to pick up new studying methods that you can use to your advantage.
Learning with a group of people is one of the best study tips that diligent students use today. It’s a great way to hone your communication skills and fill in the gaps in your incomplete lecture notes.
To make sure that your group study becomes successful, you should keep in mind the following tips:
- Find a quiet place where you can review together
- Schedule study time and play time when you’re with a group.
- Keep all of your gadgets in one place so you don’t have to feel distracted.
- Review your notes before you go and meet your study pals
- Make sure to bring every item you need to study
- Keep your study group small to avoid overcrowding
- Focus on the goal of the discussion
Follow the tips provided every time you go and meet with your study buddies. See to it that you also find time to relax every 5 to 10 minutes.
Learn how to take down notes effectively
It will be hard to review your lessons without your notes, so you must practice your note-taking skills. When you write notes about your lecture, you should include the date and time. This will help you track missing notes or find what topics you need to review.
Here are some other tips that can help you improve your lecture notes:
- Take note before and after classes
- Don’t write every word
- Maximise the use of diagrams
- Work on your handwriting
- Pay attention to the teacher
- Don’t be afraid to use colours and symbol.
Don’t forget to rest
The last tip on our list is to allocate enough time to rest. While you should devote hours studying your lessons, preparing for tests and making your projects, you should never compromise your sleep time.
Your brain needs quality sleep for it to function properly. Notice how your cognitive function slightly declines when you only sleep for two to three hours?
Have you been struggling in school lately? Are you having difficulty in remembering your lessons or passing your tests?
Perhaps you need to reevaluate and change your learning habits. At this point, you need to learn how to break bad study habits. It’s highly likely that you’ve failed to create a routine that can propel your studying career forwards.
Take charge of the situation and start making the necessary changes. Use the eight tips enumerated above to your advantage so you can develop self-discipline and become more equipped for the future.
Ready to get educated the Christian way in a safe and secure environment at Rehoboth Christian College? Feel free to contact us for all your inquiries any time.