Tuesday, October 9, 2012

10 Habits of Highly Effective Students

As the school year is getting under way, an important subject to address is that of successful study habits! The following are 10 habits of highly effective students.* With hard work and dedication, any student can be successful!

1. Don't try cram all your studying into one session.

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.

2. Plan when you're going to study.

Successful students schedule specific times throughout the week when they are going to complete their studying -- and then they stick with their schedule. Students who study sporadically and on a whim typically do not perform as well as students who have a set study schedule.

3. Study at the same time.

Not only is it important that you plan when you're going to study, but that you also create a consistent, daily study routine. When you study at the same time each day and each week your 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.

4. 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.)

5. 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 first or because you find the assignment difficult. 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 may lead to errors.

6. 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. Starting with the most difficult work will greatly improve the effectiveness of your study sessions and your academic performance.

7. Always review your notes before starting an assignment.

Obviously, before you can review your notes you must first have notes! Always make sure to take good, thorough 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.

8. Make sure you're not disturbed while studying

When you're disturbed while you're studying you (1) lose your train of thought and (2) you get distracted -- both of which will lead to very ineffective studying. Before you start studying find a quiet place where you won't be disturbed (that means studying on the couch in front of the TV is probably not the best place!)

9. 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 other students when you're struggling to understand a concept, (2) complete assignments more quickly, and (3) teach others whereby helping both the other student 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.

10. 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 at the beginning of each week that build upon previous coursework and knowledge acquired the previous week.

*Based on an article from Education Matters.

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