Tagged: Prioritizing assignments

How Do Top Students Study?

Question on Quora.com   How do top students study?

Answer by Shafiq, who studied Political Science at Standard University

Habits of Highly Effective Students

The key to becoming an effective student is learning how to study smarter, not harder. This becomes more and more true as you advance in your education.

An hour or two of studying a day is usually sufficient to make it through high school with satisfactory grades, but when college arrives, there aren’t enough hours in the day to get all your studying in if you don’t know how to study smarter.

While some students are able to breeze through school with minimal effort, this is the exception.  The vast majority of successful students achieve their success by developing and applying effective study habits.

The following are the top 10 study habits employed by highly successful students.

So if you want to become a successful student, don’t get discouraged, don’t give up, just work to develop each of the study habits below and you’ll see your grades go up, your knowledge increase, and your ability to learn and assimilate information improve.

  1. Don’t attempt to cram all your studying into one session.

Ever find yourself up late at night expending more energy trying to keep your eyelids open than you are studying? If so, it’s time for a change. Successful students typically space their work out over shorter periods of time and rarely try to cram all of their studying into just one or two sessions. If you want to become a successful student then you need to learn to be consistent in your studies and to have regular, yet shorter, study periods.

  1. Plan when you’re going to study.

Successful students schedule specific times throughout the week when they are going to study — and then they stick with their schedule. Students who study sporadically and whimsically typically do not perform as well as students who have a set study schedule. Even if you’re all caught up with your studies, creating a weekly routine, where you set aside a period of time a few days a week, to review your courses will ensure you develop habits that will enable you to succeed in your education long term.

  1. Study at the same time.

Not only is it important that you plan when you’re going to study, it’s important you create a consistent, daily study routine. When you study at the same time each day and each week, you’re studying will become a regular part of your life. You’ll be mentally and emotionally more prepared for each study session and each study session will become more productive. If you have to change your schedule from time to time due to unexpected events, that’s okay, but get back on your routine as soon as the event has passed.

  1. Each study time should have a specific goal.

Simply studying without direction is not effective. You need to know exactly what you need to accomplish during each study session. Before you start studying, set a study session goal that supports your overall academic goal (i.e. memorize 30 vocabulary words in order to ace the vocabulary section on an upcoming Spanish test.)

  1. Never procrastinate your planned study session.

It’s very easy, and common, to put off your study session because of lack of interest in the subject, because you have other things you need to get done, or just because the assignment is hard. Successful students DO NOT procrastinate studying. If you procrastinate your study session, your studying will become much less effective and you may not get everything accomplished that you need to. Procrastination also leads to rushing, and rushing is the number one cause of errors.

  1. Start with the most difficult subject first.

As your most difficult assignment or subject will require the most effort and mental energy, you should start with it first. Once you’ve completed the most difficult work, it will be much easier to complete the rest of your work. Believe it or not, starting with the most difficult subject will greatly improve the effectiveness of your study sessions, and your academic performance.

  1. Always review your notes before starting an assignment.

Obviously, before you can review your notes you must first have notes to review. Always make sure to take good notes in class. Before you start each study session, and before you start a particular assignment, review your notes thoroughly to make sure you know how to complete the assignment correctly. Reviewing your notes before each study session will help you remember important subject matter learned during the day, and make sure your studying is targeted and effective.

  1. Make sure you’re not distracted while you’re studying.

Everyone gets distracted by something. Maybe it’s the TV. Or maybe it’s your family. Or maybe it’s just too quite. Some people actually study better with a little background noise. When you’re distracted while studying you (1) lose your train of thought and (2) are unable to focus — both of which will lead to very ineffective studying. Before you start studying find a place where you won’t be disturbed or distracted. For some people this is a quiet cubical in the recesses of the library. For others is in a common area where there is a little background noise.

  1. Use study groups effectively.

Ever heard the phrase “two heads are better than one?” Well this can be especially true when it comes to studying. Working in groups enables you to (1) get help from others when you’re struggling to understand a concept, (2) complete assignments more quickly, and (3) teach others, whereby helping both the other students and yourself to internalize the subject matter. However, study groups can become very ineffective if they’re not structured and if groups members come unprepared. Effective students use study groups effectively.

  1. Review your notes, schoolwork and other class materials over the weekend.

Successful students review what they’ve learned during the week over the weekend. This way they’re well prepared to continue learning new concepts that build upon previous coursework and knowledge acquired the previous week.

We’re confident that if you’ll develop the habits outlined above that you’ll see a major improvement in your academic success.

Students, if you need help becoming proficient at organizing your assignments and managing your study time, I can help.  stephanie@accessguidance.com or 610-212-6679



What Are The Best Ways To Learn?

Sam was a star student in his high school and a proud first generation college student.  He began freshman year with optimism, relying on the 4.0 grade point average he’d earned .  Heck, he just knew he would be at the top of his class again.

Then he got his midterm grades: 1 B, 3 Cs and 1 D.  OMG!  Sam did a very smart thing: he talked to his professors and began to take his assignments to a tutor and the writing center.

Delphine started her first job a week after college graduation.   It didn’t take long for her to feel like she was being pulled under water by the pace of new work assignments.   Her mentor was a favorite professor with whom she stayed in touch.   Dr. Jenkins helped Delphine prioritize and create a plan to stay on top of information she needed to succeed.

Sam and Delphine benefited from learning strategies.  In today’s world, learning is truly lifelong and key to managing your career.

Strategy 1  Calendars For Long Term Planning

Create a calendar for the month and another one for the semester or, if working, for the next 3 month period.  Include personal obligations, times when you need to be out of the office or school breaks.  Then add exam periods or crunch times at work.  This calendar will give you a longer view of  times when you will have a heavy work load and when you will be able to get more done.   The result will be not having to cram.

Strategy 2  Calendars For Today and This Week

Make a list of what you need to do this week.   Consult your Long Term Calendars to prioritize the lengthy assignments, break them into manageable chunks for your weekly and daily to-do lists.  Add in assignments that are due tomorrow or by Friday, or those you can complete quickly.

Many find a to-do list for the day creates a visual reminder and the satisfaction crossing off completed tasks.

Strategy 3  Space Learning Over Time.

Most of us learn better over an extended period than covering material in a crunch.  In the work place as in the classroom, learning is layered.  Each skill or piece of information we learn builds on or explains skills or information already in our data banks.   It takes time to integrate the new so spaced study or work aids consolidation.

Vary the work.  Twenty minutes on one subject or project may be enough before changing gears.  Less intense material may allow for a longer period of concentration before reaching overload.  Over an extended time frame you can return to the same subject over and over, increasing understanding.

Summarize at the end of each study/prep session for better retention.

Strategy 4 Learning From Written Material

Read and reread the text or document; explain the key concepts to yourself as you read.  Underline or highlight key areas.  Circle or number the key ideas.  If you are using a school-owned book, make a list or an outline (outlines automatically arrange ideas according to their relationships).

Before finishing, give yourself an informal quiz to cement the information.  Ask yourself how each bit is related to your previous knowledge.  New information can

  • Explain
  • Confirm
  • Contradict
  • Bring up a new question
  • Begin a new theme

Review your outlines, notes, and highlighting before exams or before beginning to work on a presentation or memo.

Strategy 5  Learn From Oral Material

If you are a student, you’ll find it helpful to read assignments before you attend a lecture.   Pre-reading creates a framework on which to hang the professor’s presentation. In the workplace, the same advice applies:find out all you can  before the meeting or before you tackle a project.  Read, ask colleagues, research.

In class or a meeting, take notes.  An outline following the material as its presented is very useful in creating a thread on which you can attach details.  Back at your desk you can compare your outline to your notes.  Auditory learners may need to practice taking notes, especially if previously they have been able to retain oral learning.  College classes and meetings with 30 participants speaking may overwhelm this capability.

Strategic learning leads to higher efficiency, stronger focus, longer retention, increased critical thinking.  You’ll get better grades and more positive recognition from your boss by having a blueprint for learning.  Start now on the road to learning success.

Need to talk about how to develop your own learning strategies for school or work?  Call me at 610-212-6679 or email stephanie@accessguidance.com