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You can prepare yourself to succeed in your studies if you develop consistent study habits.Get better grades and actually learn more with better study habits.
I thought it only appropriate to follow the Feb. 13 blog “Take Note – The Fine Art of Taking Effective Lecture Notes,” with ways to create and incorporate more productive study habits. Since they go hand-in-hand you need both to be successful. Determine “where” and “how” you study best. Once you’ve got that down it’s time to focus on “what” you need to study.
Here’s the “Where” and the “How” of Studying Techniques
- Eliminate distractions – people, electronics, food and excessive noise. Save all of these for break time.
- Everyone should be using their “inside” voice – or better yet, a library voice which is silent. Finding a consistent place where you can concentrate is essential to comprehension. Recommended: a nook in the student lounge or a quiet coffee shop if you can’t find place in your home.
- Bring only what you need – this one is tricky because the #1 distraction is your computer. Ironically, it’s also a terrific study tool. Commit to a starting time where you only use it for studying, and completely stop all unrelated computer time.
- Use memory games – In 4th grade I learned the list of the 50 most common prepositions to the tune of, “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad.” To this day I can still get about 40 of them when I sing the song.
- Practice really does make perfect – either by yourself or with a serious study-buddy. Create flash cards, study at old exams (if possible) or a practice exam if provided.
- Make a schedule and take breaks – it has to be something you can stick to; 30-60 minutes every day proves to be more successful than a 12-hour marathon. Study groups can be effective if it’s a crowd with similar study habits. And don’t forget to sit back with a good laugh, a snack, and your favorite beverage (adult beverages excluded) every now and then.
Time for the “What” when it comes to Studying Techniques
- Don’t take notes on what’s already in the book, it wastes your time and attention – Highlight the parts emphasized, and listen to the way your professor relates it to what you’ve already learned.
- If it’s repeated more than twice it’s going to be on the test – no explanation needed here.
- Always memorize bold vocabulary words in the textbook – these might not be covered by the professor because he’ll assume that you’re already reading the text. So beware, even things not lectured on may appear on the test.
- The first sentence of each paragraph tends to be top-heavy with info – they’re the old-fashioned “topic sentences” and they tell you what you’re about to read in the following paragraph. They help guide you in your highlighting and note-taking.
You don’t need a high IQ to get good grades; simple strategic choices such as creating study habits that work for you is the first step. Then try to understand how these study habits relate to not just your testing but comprehension of the material. The key is to find a schedule and techniques that work best for you.