Students who are successful in school owe their achievements to effective study habits. They usually do not develop these habits overnight – it takes some time for students to understand how they learn best and discover different study habits to match their learning style. Below are a few beneficial strategies that can transform any student into a successful one.
Do some preliminary reading. Take notes or create a list of concepts that you did not fully understand or that you were particularly interested in. By reading the material that will be covered before going to class, you are more likely to be more engaged in classroom discussions. This is because the information being presented in class is information you would have already been exposed to from your independent reading.
Be prepared to learn. Get in the frame of mind to learn. Go to class with the mindset that you will get something out of the information that will be presented to you. Additionally, be prepared to participate in classroom activities and discussions.
Pay attention. Use classroom time to get a better understanding of the subject matter and ask questions about concepts that you did not fully grasp from your initial readings. Classroom time should be used for active listening. It is during this time that, after having read the information, you can begin to process and gain a deeper understanding of the content.
Take brief notes. Contrary to popular belief, classroom time is not the time where you should be focused on extensive notetaking. This time should be spent making sure that you get a good understanding of the ideas that you did not fully understand during the initial reading. Taking brief notes during class signifies that you are still actively listening and are not just focused on writing. If you focus too much on your note-taking, you may miss other important points.
Ask questions. Now is the time to ask any questions you might have, either from your initial reading or regarding something that was said in class. By asking questions, you are not only adding to your initial understanding of the material, but you will also become more engaged in the subject matter being discussed.
After class reading. After-class reading is essential. The sooner you go over the information that was presented to you in class, the more likely it is that you will remember that information. Additionally, do after-class readings in increments of 15-30 minutes. This is to ensure that you retain more of what you study and do not become weary and uninterested in the material.
Take notes. Taking extensive notes after class is crucial. You will be able to add the notes you took from your independent reading to the notes you took in class. Any additional information that you cover during the after class reading should also be noted. All of this information should be rewritten in a neat and orderly fashion so it all flows together.
Find a study group. After you have gained an understanding of the material, form study groups with your peers. Forming study groups is essential to reiterate the information and to make sure that the information you have written in your notes matches that of other students. Studying with your peers may also provide you with new insights on the material because of the differing perspectives that each student may have on the same subject matter.
Avoid procrastination. Following your study plan and setting short term goals will help to keep you on track. It is also easy to identify whether or not you have fallen behind. Studying at the last minute is never a good idea. You will remember more when studying is done over longer periods of time versus a few days before an exam.
These study habits are very useful and if practiced, will help you to manage or even alleviate some of the strenuous academic demands that come with being a student. Personalize your study strategy so that it matches your individual learning style, and you will be a successful student.
Shiyel is a senior at Georgia State University, majoring in Biological Sciences. Her passion for Math, Science, and a desire to help others initially led her to tutoring. She likes to incorporate a variety of engaging activities into her lessons and loves to see students’ expressions when they begin to understand a concept.