Tagged: study habits

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



Six Ways College Academics Are Different From High School

Even high school valedictorians sometimes hit a brick wall when they enter college. The

Studying: Priority # 1
Studying: Priority # 1

expectations and criteria for grades are more advanced than those most high school students, even top performers, are used to. The amount of reading, lack of feed back on tests and quizzes, lots of unstructured time, and balancing the social adjustments with the academic requirements can trip up even the best students. Recognizing and preparing for the changes gives first year students a leg up on academic performance.

1. College semesters last 15 weeks including exam week. During that short time you can expect to cover in each course the same amount of material that you cover in a year of high school. That adds up to twice as much work. The 500 page text book that you read all junior year in high school will be covered, in large part, in 15 weeks and there may be additional texts.

2. Professors may go over in class most of the topics from the reading or research. However, they might cover only one point or none of the reading at all. For tests and papers you will be responsible for all of the assigned reading as well as material presented solely in class.

3. In college, each class meets for 3 hours per week in 3 one-hour classes or 2 90-minute classes. Students typically take 5 classes per semester for a total of 15 hours in classrooms. Even if you take a science that has an additional 3-5 hour lab, that leaves lots of free time. Students need to know how to manage their time-eating, sleeping, studying, socializing and doing laundry. A crucial element of success is scheduling enough study time.

4. In a 3-credit course, one that meets for about 3 hours per week, there are likely to only be 3 grades. Frequently, that is 2 exams and one paper. Some courses have a few quizzes that may or may not count toward your course grade. It is almost impossible to do all the reading just before the exams: 500 pages for each of 5 classes equals 2500 pages to read; it’s a very good idea to keep up with the syllabus that was handed out the first day of class listing due dates and assignments!

5. Don’t expect to get As. The criteria for a high grade is much more rigorous than it is in high school. In college, Cs and Bs are respectable grades, especially for freshmen.

6. Professors aren’t responsible for making sure you understand the material or that you know how to write college papers. Individuals must recognize when they need help and ask for assistance. Know where the math and writing support centers are located and use them. Meet with professors during office hours and with their teaching assistants. They are happy to answer questions and to give advice.

Help yourself by creating a personal schedule that allows for socializing, self-care, (including sleep) and assume you will need lots of study time. Recognize that a poor grade isn’t fatal, only a wake up call to ask for guidance or to make a change.