Study habits are the steps that you need to take in order to improve productivity, efficiency, and retention in preparation for a particular evaluation. In order to be successful in your degree, you need to have good study habits or techniques for deadlines, revision and coursework. Having good study skills will not only help you to prepare for A-Levels, but will also benefit you when starting a degree course.
While some students are able to sail through their academic life with little effort, the success of a degree does depend on your ability to develop study habits and techniques that work. This blog gives a few ideas about some techniques you can use to improve your study habits and become a successful student.
1. Plan when you are going to study
Have a schedule and plan in study time to ensure that you stick to a set amount of study time each week. If you have a timetable of when you are going to study, you are much more likely to perform better than if you randomly study as and when you feel like you want to. Even if you think you have completed everything that needs to be done, creating a routine, dedicating the required weekly hours to study will help you to develop the good habits needed for long-term educational success.
Scheduling downtime activities such as going to the gym or seeing friends is important as well for your mental state as well as a reward for completing the required amount of study time.
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2. Set a goal for each study period
You need to have a target or aim for each study session to make the study period more effective. Before you begin, set a goal that you would like to accomplish, preferably supporting your overall academic target. For example, learning the core vocabulary required for one section of your business module. This will allow you to build a record of smaller achievements in your progression towards your end goal, e.g. getting a 1st in your degree.
3. Try not to do too much at once
Lots of students stay up all night the day before an exam trying to cram all of the information in a few hours due to not being prepared to revise logically over a period of time. Spacing your work out over shorter periods of time in the run up to an exam or deadline will create much better results than cramming it all into one or two late-night sessions. Studying in a regular pattern will make your work more successful and also mimics the expectations of a job in the real world.
4. Start with the most difficult aspect first
This is a suggestion and might not work for everyone but generally speaking, the most difficult part of the task is going to require the most effort and mental energy. Therefore, completing this part first will make the rest of the assignment easier and should increase academic performance. It is also common that the most difficult section will take you the longest to complete, so getting it out the way will remove the majority of the study time needed.
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5. Always review your notes before starting an assignment
It is common that you will be given your assignments before you learn all of the content that needs to go into it. So making notes during lectures and seminars is the foundation to the success of the project overall. Then, when you start your assignment, you will have all the information required, and it is just about ordering it effectively and applying the theory to the question being asked. Make sure you review your notes properly before jumping into the assignment to avoid duplicating work effort and having to do unnecessary research again.
6. Vary your revision but find a technique that works
If you have a specific revision technique that you have used through all your previous exams and it works perfectly for you, then use it! However, if you are someone that gets bored of doing the same revision methods over and over again, then try to vary the techniques that you are using so that you avoid becoming bored. Some examples of revision techniques are:
- Repetition - writing, typing or saying the information until it sticks in your brain.
- Q&A - someone asks you questions and you answer them. This is a nice one to do with a friend.
- Cue cards - using shortened phrases and words to represent larger chunks of information.
- Practice questions and papers
- Read aloud
- Record yourself saying key facts and figures and listen back
What works for each individual will depend on what has and hasn't worked in the past, the type of learner you are (visual, audio, kinesthetic, etc) and the environment in which you prefer learning in.
7. Try not to get distracted
Creating the optimum working environment is vital to revision or assignment success. Inevitably, everyone can be distracted from time to time; maybe it is the television, music, family, friends, or for some people an atmosphere that’s too quiet can be distracting. If you get distracted whilst studying you can lose your focus and will make your studying ineffective. Before you commence a study session, you need to find a location where you will not be disturbed or distracted. Some examples are:
- The library
- A coffee shop
- A quiet park
- Your room
- A friend's house
- A silent study area
8. Study in a group if necessary
Of course, it is important to study alone to ensure that you are undisturbed and have absorbed the information required. However, sometimes group study can be beneficial in order to get help or alternative examples from fellow students to help you further understand. This can work the other way in the form of teaching others, which will also help you with a particular subject. Group study can also allow assignments to be completed more quickly. There is a downside to, studying groups if group members fail to attend sessions or come unprepared, or if they aren't structured correctly they will be ineffective. If study groups work for you, it is a great way to work because it mirrors teamwork and problem-solving tasks that you might encounter in a real work environment.
If you have any more suggestions about ways to improve study habits, please comment them in the discussion section below. Want to know more about Pearson College London and our courses, visit our website.