Study Habits That Work
"Chains of habit are too light to be felt until they are too heavy to be broken." -- Warren Buffet
Creating strong habits is the foundation of success for all high achievers. However, establishing them is no easy task. It requires discipline, determination and constant attention. That's why it's so important for college students to develop them early on.
Studies show that the earlier you develop good habits the more likely you are to keep them. So what are some goods habit you can start forming now while in college?
Limit Your Study Sessions.
Everyone wants to knock out their work all in one night. However, doing so is actually counterproductive. The longer your sessions, the more prone to fatigue, rendering your sessions unproductive. A good practice is to pace yourself and do work in shorter bursts so you remain effective.
Plan Your Sessions.
Logic would suggest that anytime in between trips to class and the local waterhole would be the best time to study. However, you are much better off setting a schedule so you stick to your study plan. Take a look at your class schedule, and carve out specific times each week to study and do homework. This will ensure that you always stay ahead of your work and are never playing catch-up.
Make it Habitual.
The only way to make a habit is to do it everyday. While it may seem like a nice idea to have days with no work, it actually makes it more difficult to get your mindset restarted. Take exercising for example. When you take a weekend off, Monday gym sessions are much more likely to be missed. Same goes for work. Do a little everyday and good habits will form.
Goal-setting is key to getting what you want in life. Setting "macro" goals like knowing which employers you want to work for or hitting a GPA target are necessary for achieving. However, setting "micro" goals are just as important to get there. Know what you plan to accomplish so you can make each study session productive.
Don't Compromise Your Time.
You are the master of your own universe. Your mind will try to trick you into believing breaking your schedule makes your flexible or jumping to a boat party wont affect your midterm grade. Sometimes it will be right. Most of the time it wont. Work first, party later.
When your faced with a lot to do, often times you will go for the light work or the ones you can most easily cross off your list. While that may seem like a good approach, consider focusing on the the hardest tasks or the ones you least want to do. Think about it this way, if you had an exam where 70% was attributed to difficult problem sets and 30% easy multiple choice, would you spend more time studying the multiple choice? No! Spending a larger portion of time on the things that are more difficult will not only make you mentally stronger but also more equipped to handle anything that's thrown at you. So tackle the big stuff first and worry about the crumbs later.
Review Then Get to Work.
Reviewing your notes is not only a great way to check on your note-taking skills but also a great way to get a refresher on the subjects at hand. Get a quick refresh, then take a deeper dive. Your sessions will be more productive and open your eyes to what you are missing in your notes.
Turn Off Electronics.
I've been guilty on more than one occasion of studying with the TV on or checking my phone during study sessions. It's human nature to want to stay connected and can help a lonely study session be more fun. The problem is it eats at your productivity. So just power everything down for an hour and get back to your social life once you finish.
Ask for Help.
No one gets to the top by themselves. Studying is no different. If you are having issues, reach out to a professor or friend. They are there to help.
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