To study or not to study, that is the question. Well, it really isn’t. Studying is one of the most important skills that today’s students need to master. However, many students don’t know HOW to study. These students are relying on ineffective methods of studying and therefore, are not able to hone their study habits.
Ineffective Study Habits Include:
- Studying with distractions (such as a cell phone or the TV)
- Studying to Memorize vs Studying to Understand
These ineffective study habits are most often used, but these study habits do not lead to effective learning. Procrastination is born from the thought of “I’ll do it later, I have time.” This is not always true. This leads students to believe that they have more time than they really do. This extra time, to them, will mean starting the studying process much later than they should.
The second and most common ineffective study habit is studying while there are distractions. Kids today don’t go anywhere without their cell phones. This is true when they study as well. Most learners will study with their cell phones within an arm’s reach. This creates constant distractions like rings from text messages and phone calls as well as social media notifications.
Memorization vs Understanding is a key concept in creating good study habits. Memorizing is not understanding. Once learners understand how a concept works, there is no need to memorize the parts of that concept.
Effective Study Habits Include:
- Self Quizzing
Spacing is the exact opposite of procrastination. Instead of procrastinating and leaving all of your studying to the last minute, space it out during the coming weeks. If you have 3 hours to study for an upcoming exam, study for one hour 3 separate times that week. This will allow for more attention to be given to understanding the topic rather than cramming as much memorization as you can in 3 hours.
Interleaving is not a term you hear often, or even ever. But, the concept is one we all know of. This means that instead of studying for one skill at a time, study multiple subjects over a longer period of time. If there are 2 free hours in your day for you to study for a math test as well as 2 quizzes in other subjects, study for all 3 in those 2 hours. Don’t focus on just one subject at a time.
Self-Quizzing is also an extremely important study habit to know how to use. This study habit helps students learn how to anticipate what type of questions will be on quizzes or tests. One good way to self-quiz is whenever you have a moment to yourself after learning a new topic ask yourself 3 questions: What were the main or key ideas? Are any of those ideas new to me, and if so can I identify them? How can I use those ideas in my everyday life?
Applying These Study Habits
Believe it or not, studying can be fun. Make studying easier on yourself by using these 3 study habits. Learning how to be a better learner will help you see an improvement in grades and maybe even an improvement in your outlook on learning!
These study habits are outlined in a great novel called “Make It Stick” by Peter Brown, Henry Roediger, and Mark McDaniel. You can also follow this link to a YouTube summary video called “Make It Stick.” For more information, including tips and tricks to do better on Final Exams, check out Learning Ascent’s Blog on “Final Exam Tips.” You can also use Learning Ascent’s “Final Exam Calculator” to calculate the grade you need on the final exam to get a certain grade in the class!