Study Habits

12 Tips to Improve Your Study Habits Next Term

How did your studying go last term? Did you spend time learning things as they were being taught, or did you end up having to go through caffeine-loaded, marathon study sessions the night before your finals?

Improving study methods a week before exams isn’t going to help. But if you get the right habits early on in the term, you can save yourself time and agony later.

What are Good Studying Habits?

I’m just another student like yourself. I don’t believe there is one perfect key to excellent grades that will work for everyone. But there are some common themes to improving study habits and not all of them require investing more time. In fact, most of these suggestions will be aimed at reducing your total time usage, by studying smart–not just hard.

I believe learning is a product of investment. If you make small, efficient investments in learning throughout the term you can spare yourself the frustration of cramming near the end. Your grades will thank you and your social life doesn’t need to wither and die to learn more each term.

Here are some tips for improving your study habits next term:

  1. Use 30-Day Trials. Popularized by Steve Pavlina, trial periods work under the principle that by committing to a change for a month, it will become a habit. Since it is study techniques you want to reinforce, pick one or two habits and work on them for an entire month.
  2. The Learn-It-Once Approach. Spend your time learning things as they come up in your courses. Attend classes with the perspective that you could be tested at any moment. It should only be material that you were just presented that you might not have had time to fully learn. Waiting before tests, assignments or finals is taking things too far.
  3. Morning Review. Wake up a half hour earlier and spend that time reading from your textbook. If you’ve already read the chapters, spend the time rewriting the key concepts into a notebook. A half-hour out of your day in the morning probably won’t create a huge impact on your schedule, yet over the entire term it can be invaluable in boosting your understanding.
  4. Link Courses to Daily Life. Spend some time each week looking for practical ways you can use the information you are learning. If you can find situations from your daily life that are similar to your subjects, they can go from abstract theories to concrete tools.
  5. Background Reading. Invest some of your time each week in reading the background of the ideas surrounding your subjects. Pick out interesting topics in the news or books that make use of ideas from your field of study. Background reading can reinforce the ideas by connecting them with reality.
  6. Set Daily Study Times. Set periods of time that you will spend studying each day. Once you spend a month reinforcing these learning periods, it will become automatic. Regular studying times prevent the need for cramming and can give you consistency in your schedule.
  7. Cut Wasted Time. I’ve had classes where I received an A+, yet I attended less than a third of the lectures. I have had courses where I didn’t buy or read the textbook. Talk to other classmates about how the course is graded (mostly textbook, mostly lectures, etc.) and use that as a basis for deciding where to cut time if you have to. Skipping a class can be a good strategy if it means you could better learn the subject on your own.
  8. Focus on Learning, Not Grades. Grades are just an artificial marker used to assess how much you’ve learned. While they are useful as a measurement tool, focusing on grades over understanding and learning useful ideas wastes your time. Look for ways you can use the material you are learning and focus on understanding it first, put grades afterwards.
  9. Read Papers Upside Down. A good editing habit when checking over your essays and assignments is to read them upside down. This prevents you from speed reading the page and missing grammatical or sentence structure errors. This also gives you a better feeling of how an essay might be read through fresh eyes, letting you improve your style.
  10. The 10-Year Old Rule. Pretend you had to teach everything in your course to a ten-year old. Could you do it? While advanced theoretical physics might not be comprehensible by a young child, the idea is that you should be able to simplify your subject into easily understandable pictures and metaphors. If you can do this for yourself, it will make your job far easier for remembering later.
  11. Seek Your Professors. A great tip from Tim Ferriss in the 4-Hour Workweek involves what to do if you get a bad mark on a paper. He recommends meeting your professor during office hours and asking for suggestions for improvement. Tim recommends that you exhaust every possible question, staying for an hour or two if you have to. By doing this you will not only have a wealth of information about how papers are marked, but your professor will also hesitate to give you a lousy mark in the future.
  12. Schedule a Balance. Compress your work and studying into the weekdays and mornings so you don’t need to work all of the time. Good habits also involve taking time for rest as well.
  • http://constantmattersgmail.com Aurooba

    I like #9, haven’t seen that one before. Make sense, since it slows you down and makes you read more carefully.Nice post overall!

    • Jeanpants

      stupid shut up no body cares what you like -_-

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004602840794 Aliza Ansari

        ur so rude wts ur prblm if sm1 is putting on her view…then u shld  also shutup…

    • Leah

      I totally agree, it’s a good advice.

  • http://www.pickthebrain.com John

    I wish I had put more effort into #11. These tips could also be applied by anyone with a passion for life long learning.

  • http://www.iwillchangeyourlife.com Peter

    I’m with you John, #11 would have made a huge difference. Actually my study habits were all pretty terrible – I did reasonably well, but I sometimes wonder how well I would have done knowing what I do now.

    • http://www.chidex.waptools.net Stephen Obialor

      I like all the tips, its all amazing and am willing to apply them in my study schedules, i strongly recommend it to anyone willing to improve his or her studies, thanks to the writter.

  • http://www.e-motivate.com Tom Haynes

    Hey, great article. A lot of us are just getting ready to go back to school, and many of them need to really improve their grades!

    I especially liked #9. I am very, very guily of speedreading. I am activly working to improve my reading speed, so that is part of the problem…but when we are reading our own stuff we tend to not actually read but to skim and our internal monologue just repeats what we MEANT to write.

    I also find #4 to be really useful. I am the type that really has to interact with information to truly learn it. Your suggestion is the best way of doing that.

    I would also add that it is important to know what your learning style is, and you can set up your study time to be as effective as possible. I wrote an article about that heare: http://www.e-motivate.com/WordPress1/how-do-you-learn

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  • http://practicethis.com/ alik

    Unbelievable!!
    My wife asked me two hours ago to help her building a plan on how to improve learning habits, how to focus and get more results with less effort.
    I said, no problem – we will build one after the kids are asleep.
    I opened my laptop and started my daily RSS scan. Boom! Stumbled on this one.

    Law of attraction?….

    Beside this #8 is my favorite!

    Thanks a lot – you made my day with this post.

  • http://www.pickthebrain.com John

    Wow, that’s a neat coincidence. I hope your wife finds Scott’s pointer useful in her continued learning!

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  • Lucy

    Great post. I teach college study skills and these are all things I try to reinforce in my classes. Hopefully some students & would-be students will find this post. Thanks!

  • Divine

    Thank you for posting this article. I also try hard to make good habits as much as humanly possible and this article helps tremendously. My appreciation to you is in the highest sense.

    To show you my gratitude I would like to share with you a post I found that explains how to break the bad habits: http://consciousflex.blogspot.com/2008/01/how-to-break-bad-habits-by-nicholas.html
    Thank you indeed, please keep up the incredible work in helping others!

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  • http://www.pickhebrain.com jepte

    i learned alo of more about this tips of learning habits…..im hoping dat ..their a lo of more..people will gonna help…and more aricle u will published about his learning habits….thaks and GOD BLEESSSSS……………

  • lalkrishna from

    hai this was agreat advice for me

  • rowland

    thank you for sharing this tips for us students..
    hoping that we can use this as we move on to our studies.
    wishing that there will be more article on how to improve our learning habits..

    thank u so much..More knowledge to all….God Bless us all!!!

  • Jonathan

    it wil be heplful in my future i wish :)…

  • robert phiri

    great stuff very helpful.

  • Lalita Sharma

    Thanks sir for sharing this usefull and important steps of bring success.

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  • Elina

    this article is totally awesome.it helped me a lot.thank u.

  • Elina

    this is totalllly awesome.i suggest all of u try it .u will be totally benefitted. i totally love it.

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  • mfanafuty

    I need tips about how to improve your studying more especialy when u having stress, how to gain your yor focus

  • asfand yar

    i really improved my study by following some of these important tips…tip 5 is too helping…so than you alot.

    • HUNAIN_AK

      YA! HE IS RIGHT IT HELPS HIM  A LOT!

  • http://improvelifenow.blogspot.com/ Archvill

    I really agree with #6. Learning a bit every day also helps remembering the material.

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  • princesaint

    Difference in d making at its best !
    I’m delighted to ever have come across dis ‘motivational epics’ so i call it. it’s very easy to consume and fun to adopt -all d way.All tips are just crackers ! Thanks a millions…

  • http://studysuccesscoach.com Amy

    Lots of great ideas here! I’m a big fan of anything that can help students be successful with their studies. I teach study skills for college students. Having a student go talk with their professor is an especially good idea. I wish more students would take advantage of this resource.

  • http://www.facebook.com vishali

    I am very thankful for sharing all these tips. It helped me for my brilliant success. i really agree with #8. i suggest everyone to get benefit from it.thanks. may god bless everyone

  • http://www.pickthebrain.com chimpu

    it is really amazing tips and i hop it will help me tnxxxxx

  • http://www.pickthebrain.com chimpu

    after 2 months i hav my tough exams so plz if any1 can help me my problem is that i dont have da habit of studying i jst decide da day b4 that i ll study 2moro but it doesn’t work

  • http://www.chinafacttours.cm China Fact Tours

    Nice sharing, thank you.

  • http://www.chinafacttours.com China Fact Tours

    Very useful for me to improve my English study.

  • http://www.chidex.waptools.net Stephen Obialor

    I like all the tips, its all amazing and am willing to apply them in my study schedules, i strongly recommend it to anyone willing to improve his or her studies, thanks to the writter for the tips it seams realistic rather than theoritical.

  • Priyanka Alwayzrockz

    nyc one…

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001935969251 Justin Nick Orrey

    This will help me a lot now and later

  • Rakesh_rzeeme

    I like 8th and 12th point, it will help me to improve my learning habits..Thanks for the passage…

  • Bob

    That is a good write up. I love it! I did similar thing to what you wrote and pave to an excellent grade. I graduated studying Mechanical Engineering with 2.1 and my reading habit while in school was 40 days and 40 night. Thanks for your write-up. I encourage people to read this to improve their study habit.

  • Narissaarjune

    dis is nice

  • Narissaarjune

    dis is nice

  • Nicole Butterfield

    Hey I still don’t get how to study, but I will try it…THANKS GUYS!!!!!

  • Nicole Butterfield

    Hey I still don’t get how to study, but I will try it…THANKS GUYS!!!!!

  • Sidraijaz11

    very nice………..it`s all presentation are true and make a sense to study in marvelous manner….. i am willing to apply them in my study schedules

  • esayas

    i am really get basic information thank you !!!

  • Great sai obodai

    All the ways are true.

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  • Nasir Khan

    Thanx

  • Nasir Khan

    Thanx

  • Smera94

    Thanks friend,,, It really works..

  • Sfxfdx45

    no nothing

  • Sfxfdx45

    no nothing

  • Ertuğrul KOCA

    I agree you it’s really cool. Improve Study Skills

  • Adabnashi

    mast hai bosssssssssssssssssss!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

  • Injila

    well its a start .,hope this one helps me out !!

  • Injila

    well its a start .,hope this one helps me out !!

  • Vimi

    i agree with 3 and 6..

  • Saaa2

    nice……………………..

  • jennyfer

    ya…its works out

  • RN JOSHI

    yes  Morning Study is more effective than rest day …

  • Money_shorty

    I have question to anyone that can answer it I always say im going to study but then I don’t how can i help and when i do study it kills me inside so how do i get this bad habit to stop 

  • Icwaiamalrexx

    It is so goodly improve the self confident

  • angel

    am gonna try it to see if this methods work

  • Malike tsra-kasu

    its good stuff..

  • karthik

    Really superb, Very usefull to advice my students.

    A. Karthikeyan. Assistant
    professor,

    Agricultural
    Entomology,

    Vanavarayar
    institute of Agriculture (VIA)

    Manakkadvu, Pollachi .

  • Sky4124

    studying is sooo stupid no one studys if you do study then u r a nerd. peace out loser

    • You’re Stupid..!!

      then what..??

    • Ash

      Actually we don’t want to work at McDonald’s like you. We wanna make our parents proud

    • counteridiots

      this idiot here sky124 only knows how to comment. lol. he searched for ways to improve studying but he can comprehend so he just complained like a little puppy crying.

      • counteridiots

        *can’t

    • redmamba

      that is not true Sky4124
      studying is good

  • Vaniceno

    If anyone wants tips for exam success you can always visit 
    http://www.squidoo.com/top-ten-tips-to-exam-success
    It’s not only about study habits

  • Ajaychandan

    i like it

  • Idwaniolimpo

    elo

  • Amirulasyraf

    gvreabhrehr

  • Amirulasyraf

    gvreabhrehr

  • Amirulasyraf

    gvreabhrehr

  • Thegreatsaga1

    thnxx friend it helped me a lot 

  • Pooja Timalsina

    thank u for this suggestion . by following this my study has become much better.

  • Dilli Iit

    Good Overall!!!!!

  • thElA gRacE

    its nice and wonderful eventhough I actually learn new things..

  • sheetal

     morning review is best among all tips

  • Ali

    I will definitely do #9………….. I like these tips….

  • onlyson_44

    Good list, but I don’t see caffeine anywhere in here.  How else are you supposed to stay up late and crank off school papers and final exam studies?  I’m a sucker for energy shots type products, personally (Eternal Energy shot, maybe a Stacker.)  Very convenient when you don’t have time for anything else.

  • golu

    my learninig power is very slow 

  • PRINCE

    this really helped. you could also look through http://infoprince.wordpress.com/how-to-study-well/

  • Jean Pants

    hello :D this website was really helpful!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Ash

    #10 is a very good idea. I can’t really talk to an imaginary 10 year old so I’ll just explain EVERYTHING in my notes to my cat!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004602840794 Aliza Ansari

    gud tips

  • pamspamer

    I read a lot of the comments and did not see any that mentioned tip # 12. I am in my first semester of clinicals as a nursing student. I made an effort, this past semester, to go to school during the day and have a life at night.  Classes were only a few hours each day. I spent 8 to 5 each day in class or studying.  I had a life, not a party, after 5!! WOW what a difference it made this semester.  I also worked overnight on Thurs, Fri, and Sat. I did nothing on Sunday except sleep and laundry.  I also embraced tip # 8.  My A&P II professor came in and asked the class one day, “What do they call a doctor that finished last in their class at med school? …… answer…. Doctor.
    I did tip 12 and 8 on my own last semester, I had not seen this article.  This coming semester, I will incorporate a lot of the other tips.  Good luck everyone! 

  • nikita

    its really gud i will follow this from now itself

  • prakash pradhan

    all most all tips are beauty 4 a person like me .by reading it a sudden change arrive me to post few words into it.really it’s cool and mind blowing

  • Neeraj

    Nice article with simple tricks that can be very helpful.

  • a shetty

    wow man this article is a piece of treasure,wow its really really helpful for people having weak sense of planning

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  • redmamba

    nice article i really helps me thanks

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  • mujumom

    you must follow all these tips you must score high marks in your examss

  • Guest

    ok agreed