10 Habits of Highly Effective Students
The key to becoming an effective student is learning how to study smarter, not harder. This becomes more and more true as you advance in your education.
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 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 a lack of interest in the subject because you have other things you need to get done, or just because the assignment is hard. 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 is the number one cause of 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. Believe it or not, starting with the most difficult subject will greatly improve the effectiveness of your study sessions and your academic performance.
7. Always review your notes before starting an assignment.
Before you can review your notes you must first have notes to review. Always make sure to take good 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. Reviewing your notes before each study session will help you remember important subject matter learned during the day, and make sure your studying is targeted and effective.
8. Make sure you're not distracted while you're studying.
Everyone gets distracted by something. Maybe it's the TV. Or maybe it's your family. Or maybe it's just too quiet. Some people study better with a little background noise. When you're distracted while studying you (1) lose your train of thought and (2) are unable to focus -- both of which will lead to very ineffective studying. Before you start studying, find a place where you won't be disturbed or distracted. For some people, this is a quiet cubicle in the recesses of the library. For others, it is in a common area where there is little background noise.
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 others when you're struggling to understand a concept, (2) complete assignments more quickly, and (3) teach others, thereby helping both the other students and yourself to internalize the subject matter. However, study groups can become very ineffective if they're not structured and if group 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 that build upon previous coursework and knowledge acquired the previous week.
We're confident that if you'll develop the habits outlined above that you'll see a major improvement in your academic success.