Have you ever tried quitting a bad habit? Maybe you wanted to stop biting your nails, quit smoking, or stop watching a ton of TV. What about starting a new habit? We put together 6 of the top habits of successful students. Set yourself up for a successful semester by developing these habits!
- Have Style
Have style – learning style that is! A learning style is how a student best takes in new information. In many instances, students have a primary and a secondary learning style. Find out if you are a visual, kinesthetic, or auditory learner now to achieve your goals and get the grades you want. Meet with an academic coach at TU to find your style or take a quick quiz here!
- Establish your Ideal Place for Studying
Don’t wait until right before finals to figure out the best place and time for studying, do it now! What time of day are you most effective, is it the early morning, afternoon, or right before dinner? Do you like to have complete silence when studying? You want to establish the best place possible for transferring information from short-term memory and into long-term. Here are some additional tips for creating your idea study environment:
- Ditch the Cell Phone: don’t even think about bringing your phone because it will only distract you.
- Wear Comfortable Clothing: now is not the time to wear your tightest pants. Be comfortable and remember to bring extra layers if you get cold easily.
- Food & Drink: if you think you will get hungry, bring a snack. Water is great for staying alert & energized for long periods of time.
- Mix It Up: if your ideal study place is the library, sit in different areas every once in a while to help you retain information longer.
Get more study tips at one of the AAC Workshops!
- Make it Meaningful
While you may not find your formulas or required readings trending on Instagram or your Twitter feed, you need to find ways to relate it to things in your everyday life. Doing so will help you stay motivated and study more efficiently. Connect what you are learning to your past experiences and current situation. Learning about the periodic table? What elements have you encountered in your life? Taking a sociology course? How do the theories relate to experiences you’ve had with people? Do everything you can to make the information meaningful and you will be on your way to a great semester.
- Make Studying Fun (or at least tolerable)
Many people dread studying because they find it boring, tedious, etc. As a student, you need to find a way to make it interactive and interesting. Annotation, questioning, and note-taking styles are all just the foundation to the actual act of studying.
- When you review your material, try looking for an app in the subject you are studying. There are lots of educational apps out there, just find one that suits your needs.
- Perform a dramatic monologue of the material you are reading. Okay, it doesn’t have to be a dramatic reading, but just by reading the material out loud will help you retain the information.
- Use a memory trick (i.e. mnemonic devices) or create games out of the material (i.e. vocab matching).
- If you are a visual learner, draw a visual representation. To help reinforce your material, try creating a Power Point of your notes. This helps with memorization, because of the multiple times you have typed/written down the information.
By looking at different options, you can find a specific way or a combination of ways to help reinforce your study habits.
- Find Study Buddies
Study groups can be a great tool in helping you achieve academic success. However, you want to make sure that you choose your study buddies wisely. If you pick a group with all of your close friends who may or may not be in your classes you can get easily distracted by talking about weekend plans and such. Forming a study group with your classmates in your actual classes is a lot more productive, this will help you meet new people and keep everything in your study group relevant to the course you are studying for. Keep in mind that group size is also important, 3-6 people is the ideal amount, because if you have too many people it can get distracting. Lastly have fun with it, give your study group a fun name, the more creative the better!
- Break Up
Not with significant others, but with long periods of studying! The brain is an amazing thing, but it needs a break every now and then too.
- Study in 30-50 minute chunks, taking 5-10 minute breaks in between. This allows your brain time to absorb all the material that you are reviewing and helps keep you motivated and focused.
- Switch up the topics/courses that you are studying. You shouldn’t spend more than 2 hours at a time on one subject because you won’t retain as much as the information.
- You need sleep! You should be getting at least the recommended 7-9 hours on a regular basis, but if you can’t manage that with your schedule at least make sure that you get the recommended amount the night before a big exam. If you stay up all night cramming and don’t get enough sleep you won’t remember about half of what you covered, so plan accordingly and allow yourself enough time to sleep.
Jennifer Wendt & Jeremy Boettinger
Academic Achievement Center
Academic Achievement Center