If you are striving to get excellent grades in college, you need to build good study habits. It can be challenging to build good study habits during college. There are many social and academic obligations that will get you into a frenzy. In this A-Z guide, you will learn the best study habits to adopt for your college success.
Good study habits for college:
- Develop a schedule and follow it
- Eliminate distractions
- Create an ideal environment
- Focus on understanding smaller chunks of content
- Have a specific goal for each study session
- Exercise frequently
- Study in groups
- Review your notes before beginning an assignment
- Keep track of important dates and deadlines
- Ask for help when needed
- Build the good study habits into a routine
This might seem like a long list of good study habits to develop. Worry not! It is simple to build these good study habits, and they will become your second nature once you build them into a routine. From then onwards, you will not have to think of them actively. It will be like any habit, such as brushing your teeth in the morning, where it will become effortless to follow.
Continue reading the A-Z guide of good study habits for college to learn about each habit. And, start building these habits into your college life for excellent grades!
Develop A Schedule And Follow It
To set yourself up for a successful college life, you will need to use a top-down approach. Begin your college with a scheduled plan. This will rely on prioritizing of important tasks and time management.
You should prioritize important tasks, such as revision of course content first thing daily. By prioritizing your study session at the start of the day, you ensure that you are consistent with your revision. As an added benefit, doing the most important task at first helps to avoid distractions that might crop up later in the day.
Additionally, studying first thing in the day can leave you feeling accomplished, and you can spend your guilt-free time socializing later in the day.
Other important tasks are those tasks with a deadline fast approaching, which you should prioritize early in your weekly schedule.
For time management, you should maintain a well-balance study and lifestyle throughout the day. It is not advisable to coup yourself all-day in your study cubicle. Breaking up your day with different schedules will help to eliminate boredom and keep you mentally sharp.
Planning your study session in shorter study periods of 30 minutes to an hour can help to space out your study workload. That means you will be less strained in one study session. This set you up to absorb your study materials effectively with greater focus.
When studying, you will want to ensure your study area is free of distractions. These distractions can be text messages from friends or social media. It is best to keep your smartphone on “Do not disturb” mode, so you will not receive any notifications while you are studying that might distract you.
When using the internet to do study research, try to avoid digressing from your intended study objective. Avoid going to social media or random news surfing. If you do deviate from your study objective when using your computer, try to gently nudge yourself back to the study task.
If you have to study in a distracting environment because of your busy college schedule, you can put on noise-cancelling headphones to eliminate noisy distractions. In contrast, if you find studying in an extremely quiet environment un-comfortable like the library, you should explore the use of white-noise (ambient noise) that you can play through your headphones. White-noise can also help to keep you focus while studying.
Create An Ideal Environment
The ideal study environment varies between individuals. You might find studying at the cafe stimulating, while your friend might find it distracting. It is important for you to become aware of your personal preferences for creating your ideal study environment.
Some basic guidelines to follow while creating your ideal study environment:
- Keep your study desk clutter-free
- Position your study materials for easy access
- Ensure adequate lighting of your study environment
- Importantly you must feel comfortable
Focus On Smaller Chunks Of Content For Short Study Session
According to research, the brain is most productive during the first hour of study. If you intend on extending your study session to two hours, it is crucial to take a ten minutes break between the two-hour session. This study strategy is designed to help you retain more information and avoid mental fatigue.
Therefore, you should adopt the study strategy of breaking up your content into small chunks, which is great for short study session. Also, it is never a good idea to push your mind to exhaustion by cramming. Breaking your study content into smaller chunks will help to avoid that outcome.
In contrast, many students have come to rely on cramming before tests. This is a flawed strategy. It will take a toll on your physical and mental health. Needless to say, it will cause much anxiety and frustration.
When you break your study content into small chunks, it is a smarter approach suitable of short study session (within an hour). Importantly, avoid the need to cram before tests by planning your study revision well in advance.
Have A Specific Goal For Each Study Session
Starting each study session with a specific goal will help you stay focused on your study. It will help you avoid aimless revision that yields no improvement for your study.
Before each study session, take a look at your coursework outline. From your coursework outline, decide what will be a good goal to work on for the study session. Generally, it is best to set your study goal around getting better on your weaker areas first. Overcoming your weaker areas as soon as possible will help to alleviate your study anxiety, as you will gain more confident after resolving your weakness.
Also, when you set your specific goal, avoid setting too generic and broad goals, such as understanding the whole course materials. This will defeat the purpose of a specific goal. A specific goal will be like a specific lecture or a set of specific problems to master.
Ultimately, each specific goal you set for your study session should align with your overarching academic goal. This overarching academic goal can be to get excellent grades for your final exam. Thus, your aim is to use many specific goals to help you progressively achieve it.
Staying healthy through regular exercise during college is important. It helps to keep you functioning healthily. That means you will not fall sick easily and miss classes. By staying healthy and fit, you can put all your attention on learning.
Studies have shown that regular exercise can boost your body endorphin levels. The endorphin hormones have been associated with higher retention of information and reduced stress. Additionally, it can also stimulate your creativity and critical thinking skills.
Develop a regular exercise habit to keep yourself healthy and reap the additional benefit on learning.
Beside regular exercise, you can also consider taking part in team sports. It can be a great opportunity to both exercise and socialize at the same time. As an added benefit, participating in team sports can provide you with a regular routine and peer support. This will make it easier to follow if you find getting into the habit of regular exercise difficult.
Of all the study habit, it is vital to establish a consistent sleep habit. Sleep is the one thing that binds together all your study habits to yield your intended result. It is because it helps to consolidate information in your brain. And, inadequate sleep will affect your learning.
By consolidating information during sleep, you will better retain your knowledge learned during the day. This is especially important for college, as you will be required to learn something new constantly.
Besides aiding in your learning, getting quality sleep helps you to be rejuvenated and fresh for a new day. It is both physically and mentally beneficial.
As a general advice (Source: Homework.sg): 7 to 10 hours of sleep every night for a college student.
When building your consistent sleeping habit, avoid sleeping too late at night. As the day and night cycle acts as a stimulus for your circadian rhythm, you will want to sleep around 10 pm at night, and let the morning sun wake you up naturally. This will help you to avoid having an out of whack circadian rhythm, which may cause sleepiness during the day.
Since we are on the topic of sleep, let us touch on the topic of napping as well.
If you feel tired during the day, it is alright to take a short 20 to 30 minutes nap. Napping can help to boost your focus for the rest of the day.
You should avoid trying to plough through a study session, if you are mentally exhausted. Instead, you should take a nap as advised above. This will ensure that your study efforts will be at its optimal.
Study In Groups
You do not have to study alone in college. Take advantage of group study with your peers to learn better.
Studying in groups can help you and your peers develop a deeper understanding of the topic. This is achieved through brainstorming and sharing of perspective. You will find that your peers might interpret an idea differently from you. And, you can learn something new from it.
Having a study group can also help you keep a consistent study routine. With a commitment to your peers to join the study group, you will be motivated to show up for it. This can help you if you are having difficulty keeping a consistent study routine.
Additionally, a study group is a great source of problem solving. It is exceptionally useful when faced with difficult coursework. You will have the necessary peer support in your study group to find a solution to your coursework problem.
However, it is common that many study groups are underutilized. Many students treat study groups as a gathering point to sit down and do solitary study. Here, study groups are a means to find peers for company while studying.
Do not underutilize study groups by doing so. Have an agenda ready for your study group. The agenda can be about brainstorming, sharing of perspective, discussion of lecture, or problem solving. This way, your study group can be an effective study time for all.
Building a habit of studying in group, as the advice given above, can become a great college learning experience with peers.
Review Your Notes Before Beginning An Assignment
When faced with an assignment, it is good habit to review your notes before doing the assignment. After reviewing your notes, as you do your assignment, try to not refer back to your notes, unless needed to. This can act as a good practice and test for the content learned.
Therefore, you can build this good study habit to maximize your learning with the assignment.
Keep Track Of Important Dates And Deadlines
During your time in college, you will face many important dates and deadlines. It is important to keep track of them constantly. You do not want to miss an important deadline and get your grades penalized.
You should build a habit of immediately recording important dates and deadlines into a calendar. This calendar can be a physical calendar or a digital one, such as Google calendar. Also, remember to set alerts a week and a day before the important dates and deadlines.
By having alerts set up early, you will reduce the chance of missing the important dates and deadlines. In addition, you can spend some time on Sundays to check on your calendar, and plan for the coming week.
Remember the first good habit of developing a schedule, this habit is an add-on to it. You will have to build the habit of considering important dates and deadlines when planning your schedule. That means as different important dates and deadlines approach, you will have to adjust your main weekly schedule accordingly.
Ask For Help When Needed
Never shun from seeking guidance from your professors. Excelling in college can be challenging, but you never have to face it alone.
At some point in your college life, you will get stuck with an assignment that even your peers are unsure about. This is when you need to recognize that you need help from your professors. Do not be afraid to ask them, they might be busy, but they are also your teacher. They will want to see you excel in your studies, and will be willing to spare their time.
It is advisable to ask your professor for help in groups, when it is a common problem with an assignment that the class faced. This way your professor will have to spend less time dealing with individual queries, and will be appreciative of the thoughtfulness.
Build The Good Study Habits Into A Routine
Developing good study habits into a routine will make them easier to follow over time. For example, create a weekly routine to schedule your week and incorporate the good study habits. When scheduling your week, bear in mind to include individual and group study sessions and any important dates and deadlines. In this schedule, set a consistent time to sleep and exercise. As for each study session, remember to start with a specific goal in mind.
How many hours a day should you study? You should aim to study at least 1 to 2 hours a day. Studying beyond 4 hours is not advisable, as you might reach your mental capacity by then. Remember to take 10 minutes break in-between an hour of study.
Can studying too much be bad? Studying too much can be bad for the body and mind. You will cause your body to be stressed and tensed. It will negatively impact your health, and studying too much can cause your learning efficiency to drop as the duration prolongs. You will find focusing after 4 hours or more of study to be difficult.