11 Good Study Habits to Better Understand Your Lessons
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Are you a student looking to build good study habits? Is your daily routine not as effective as it could be?
Maybe it’s time to follow a new study schedule that will help you better retain material, manage your time and even help you improve your concentration and focus.
Here are 11 habits you can use to enhance your learning style, develop a good study routine and start achieving your educational goals.
What You Will Learn
- Good Study Habit #1 – Know Your Dominant Learning Style
- Good Study Habit #2 – Create and Write Down Realistic Study Goals
- Good Study Habit #3 – Make Study Time a Part of Your Daily Routine
- Good Study Habit #4 – How to Structure Your Daily Study Routine
- Good Study Habit #5 – Establish a Study Zone
- Good Study Habit #6 – Review Your Notes
- Good Study Habit #7 – Take Great Notes
- Good Study Habit #8 – Use Laptops & Smartphones Wisely During Class
- Good Study Habit #9 – Consider Joining a Study Group
- Good Study Habit #10 – Get Enough Sleep and Rest
- Good Study Habit #11 – Create a Daily Study Timetable
- What are the 11 Habits You MUST Add to Your Morning Routine?
Good Study Habit #1 – Know Your Dominant Learning Style
It’s important to know that there are many different styles of learning and each person will retain information better in different ways.
Once you have figured out which style of learning works best for you, it will help you determine how to study, where to study, when to study and other important factors like what study aids you should use and be aware of, and knowing what things may distract you while you are trying to study.
Consistency gets results!
Make your study habit part of your morning routine so that it becomes an effortless part of your day. Get excited about learning instead of dreading your study schedule.
To learn more about the best way to learn, read our article on the Learning Retention Pyramid.
Good Study Habit #2 – Create and Write Down Realistic Study Goals
If your goal is too big to achieve, then you might be setting yourself up for failure and this will also not help motivate you to study and accomplish your goals.
Once you know your learning style, do a self-assessment of your current study habits and your current grades.
After answering and reflecting on these questions, you’ll be able to see what areas you need to put a little more focus on.
Maybe you are not spending enough time doing the right amount of work necessary each day or perhaps you choose to study late at night when you’re not as alert and energetic.
If you have noticed your grades are slipping in certain courses then perhaps you need to hire a tutor to help you with those subjects.
If you are finding yourself short on study time and are more focused on your personal commitments, then maybe you may need to give up some social activities and devote more time to focus on your studying.
Use the SMART method when setting up goals: set Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound goals. [Find out everything about the SMART goal setting system HERE.]
Good Study Habit #3 – Make Study Time a Part of Your Daily Routine
If cramming all of your study time into a few long days isn’t working for you then it’s time to try something new (and way less stressful). Make time for studying every single day, with or without exams coming up.
(Sidenote: You should also consider setting aside time to work on your “Super-Learning Skills.” This course can show you how to do this.)
Remember that consistency is key and once you start getting into good study habits, it will become a routine and that you will be able to maintain throughout the school year. Self-discipline is key.
Check your schedule for the week or month, and consider your personal commitments: chores, must-attend activities and appointments. By looking at your calendar, and setting up your priorities, you will be able to schedule your study sessions for the month. All you need to do now is to stay committed to your new study schedule.
When placing your study sections on your calendar, choose blocks of time during the day when you are at your peak performance. Some people work best in the mornings, and others, at night. If you’re unsure when you work best, try studying at different times of the day to see which suits you and your body clock best.
Once you have found which block of time works best for you and scheduled it in, be aware that you can always add in additional time to study by waking up an extra hour early to review your notes, or if you work better at nights, go to bed an extra hour later.
Make sure you build flexibility into your schedule. Your calendar and schedule will change because of unforeseen events. Be ready to plan around some things that come your way and still make time to study.
Good Study Habit #4 – How to Structure Your Daily Study Routine
Here are some great ways to structure your study routine. It works best when you are mixing some of the different leaning styles as mentioned above.
Try starting with watching or attending your lectures, and then doing an additional 1-3 hours of personal study (with breaks) to reflect and review notes on those lectures. This way, you are using your auditory and visual learning styles as well as repetition, which will help you remember what you learned more clearly.
Start with the difficult topics and subjects first, so that you are not going to put them off until a later date. If these subjects are really difficult for you, then shorter study sessions will work better.
Schedule study sessions in 2, 30-minute to 1-hour blocks and be sure to take short 5- to 10-minute breaks in between. When you take breaks, you allow your mind to rest, revitalize and be ready for more learning.
Need a better way to plan your week? Try one of these free weekly planner templates to improve your productivity.
This article on habit stacking might be helpful in building your study routine.
Good Study Habit #5 – Establish a Study Zone
Establish a study zone. Some people like quiet places, others will need a little bit of background noise. Which one do you prefer? If there is too much going on at your house then maybe it’s time to think about going to the library or a coffee bar and using headphones.
Make sure you have the necessary items with you when you study. You’ll need a desk that’s big enough to spread your books, laptop, paper and supplies.
Using the best study lighting is also important for everyone when studying. If you want to preserve your eyesight and maximize your time and energy, then choose lighting that will not cause eyestrain or fatigue so you can keep your study session effective at any time of the day.
Don’t be afraid to establish rules when you’re in your study zone. Let people living with you know that when your door is closed, it means you do not want to be disturbed. Try not to respond to phone calls or texts, this will break your concentration and you will lose focus.
It’s best to find not just one place to study, but at least 2 or 3. This way, you will have a backup plan in case your main study area can’t be used. A change of environment is said to improve concentration and creativity so even if you don’t need to change places, it wouldn’t be a bad idea.
While you establish rules for others, you also need to establish rules for yourself. Get rid of all distractions. Don’t choose a place where you will be tempted to watch TV, check in with your smartphone, or study in a high traffic area where people will be coming and going.
Choose to study offline as much as possible. There are way too many distractions that are only a click away. If you need to check something, write it down and check it after your study session is over.
Helpful study tips to get the most out of your study session:
One way to make prioritizing your tasks simple is to organize your study notes by using colors or labels. Whether you use an online notebook or a binder, developing your own color-coding system will help you (and your thoughts) get organized.
You can use colors to color-code your subjects, projects and even teachers. You can also use different colored pens, highlighters, sticky notes, folders and labels.
Colors and labels will also help you later when you when you need to review your notes, the colorful sections will help those notes stand out and be unique and memorable.
If you struggle to understand complex study material, using the Feynman technique can help you learn faster and more efficiently.
Good Study Habit #6 – Review Your Notes
Before and after your study sessions, you should always skim your notes from the recent lesson or topic you studied before starting on a new one. Reviewing your notes once before going to bed will also help to cement new knowledge into your brain.
If you couple reviewing your notes with a good nights sleep, then you will significantly improve your ability to retain more information.
(Side bar: If you're having trouble remembering the material you're trying to learn, then The Feynman Technique can help you solve this issue.)
Good Study Habit #7 – Take Great Notes
Do you find yourself struggling with taking good notes? It’s important that you develop your note-taking skills so that, when you review them, they are beneficial and will help you study and remember important information.
Remember that you don’t need to take notes of everything! Only write down what is important; if the teacher keeps repeating something or has written something down then, you should take note of this.
Your note-taking style might also depend on your learning style like we mentioned above. Perhaps you might need to draw little diagrams in your notes if you are more of a visual learner.
If you are an auditory learner, you might learn better if you audio-record the class discussions and lectures and then listen to them over again to help you study. Or you can also listen to informational and educational podcasts related to the subject. The definition of a good study routine is, after all, one that works with your specific quirks and personality.
Another fun way to remember things is to use mnemonics for better memory recall. For any type of list, steps, stages or parts you can use mnemonic devices to help you retain information. Mnemonic types include: music, name, expression, rhyme, spelling and more.
(If you're looking for another way to improve your memory, check out these memory games.)
Good Study Habit #8 – Use Laptops & Smartphones Wisely During Class
If you are using a laptop for note-taking in class, then make sure you are still able to focus and pay attention. Laptops and phones can bring down your grade. Don’t believe us? Check out this link. (source)
You don’t want to get used to surfing the web or using your smartphone while learning in class, if you are on the internet, texting, or checking your email in the presence of a teacher, then you will probably do the same when you’re studying.
(Looking for a different way to learn? Check out this list of the best educational apps to help you personalize learning for kids.)
Good Study Habit #9 – Consider Joining a Study Group
If you are a social learner then you should consider joining a study group. Study groups can help you remember class material better. You can ask questions to clarify difficult points, and hear questions that others have that may be beneficial for you to know the answer to.
In order to find a study group that will work for your needs; find people as dedicated as you are. You don’t want to study with a group that isn’t devoted and willing to work hard.
You should also keep your study group numbers to a decent size; you shouldn’t need more than 6 people in your group.
Exchange contact details and decide together on a place and what type of study schedule will work best for the group.
One of the best benefits of joining a study group is that you will be able to ask, discuss, debate, and quiz each other on the topics at hand. You could even keep your study group online if traveling to one spot won’t work well for everyone.
Good Study Habit #10 – Get Enough Sleep and Rest
Studying when you’re sleepy is ineffective. If your body is telling you that you’re tired, then have a nap or go to bed early.
A good night’s sleep will help you understand and remember information better. It is also much less stressful to take an exam or attend a class when you feel well rested and alert.
If you’re finding that you are getting stressed out or tired, reflect back on your study schedule and priorities.
Make sure that you have dedicated time for rest and de-stressing. You can’t be a study machine 24/7 and taking some time away from learning is a great way to relax your mind.
Good study habits require you to be fresh and sharp. A good night's sleep is far more effective than a night cramming for a test could ever be.
Good Study Habit #11 – Create a Daily Study Timetable
Make sure you track your grades along with your study hours and lesson notes to see if your new studying techniques are helping.
If you find that it is not helpful, then it’s time to re-prioritize your schedule to fit in more time for studying and re-examine your goals for success.
Remember that throughout school, work and life, you will always need to be learning something.
When you have set up the proper studying techniques and note-taking skills, you are giving yourself one of the greatest gifts possible, the ability to learn.
What are the 11 Habits You MUST Add to Your Morning Routine?
Get the most out of your study habit by making it a part of your morning routine!
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