Updated: Apr 29
With 2022 around the corner, thoughts of resolutions are working their way to the top of everyone’s brains. While New Year’s resolutions are often focused on adding new behaviors to our routines, vowing to break your bad habits can be just as effective. If academic success is on your list of goals this year, make it your New Year’s resolution to avoid these five bad study habits.
Whether you prefer pulling an all-nighter or cramming during the study hall before, waiting until the last minute is one bad habit that has no place in 2022. Last minute cramming might help you memorize the material in the short-term, but don’t confuse memorization with learning and understanding. Not only is cramming a less effective way of learning, but add sleep loss to the mix, and now you’re really doing yourself a disservice. Lack of sleep negatively affects your ability to concentrate, think creatively, problem solve, and, you guessed it, your short-term memory. So, how does one kick the cramming lifestyle? Stop winging it and start planning.
For tips on how to use a planner, read: Setting Up Your Organizational System: Planner Edition
2. Just Winging It
No study plan? No outline? No goals? Not this year! It’s time to leave the “I’ll just wing it” mindset in 2021 and focus on being intentional in 2022. Successful students set goals and stick to the schedules they’ve set for themselves. Not only is it important to be consistent in your study routine, but it’s just as important to set specific goals for each study session. Goals should be achievable and should support your overall academic goal, like memorizing 20 vocab words or completing the outline for your upcoming book report. Determining what you want to get out of your study session and setting measurable, realistic goals for yourself will not only help you get more out of each session, but actually reaching these goals will make you feel more accomplished.
For tips on prioritizing your workload, read: How to Prioritize Your Workload
3. Studying with Distractions
Repeat after me: Distracted studying is NOT studying. Do you ever sit down to study, only to find yourself 20 minutes later lost in #DogTok or twelve profiles deep in your search to figure out who that one guy was in that one Instagram story? Study distractions are everywhere and between social media, texting, Netflix, friends, music, siblings, and music, ignoring them all might feel impossible. Start with what you can control: silence your cell phone, turn off the TV, choose a quiet, tidy place to work, and set your study session goals. Sure, staying focused can be difficult, especially when there’s so much going on, but deciding to rid your environment of unnecessary technology and chaos, it is possible.
For tips on creating your ideal study space, read: Back To School: Organization Tips
4. Inactive Studying
Now that you’ve created a study schedule, set your goals, and curated the most perfect, distraction-free study space, it’s time to actually get started. If “studying” for you means re-reading your notes or highlighting terms in your text book, then you might want to underline and star this habit because you’ll be referring back to it later. Doing the assigned reading or simply re-reading your notes is not studying. Proper studying means engaging in the material in an active way. Some examples of active studying include using note cards or a tool like Quizlet to test your knowledge.
For active studying tips, read: Want Learning to Stick? Take an Active Approach
5. The Lone Wolf Act
Learning is a team sport, so don’t be afraid to lean on your teammates (aka your teachers, classmates, and tutors). Missing a section of notes because you missed a class? Ask a classmate if you can copy theirs, or reach out to your teacher to see if they have a copy of the PowerPoint to share. Having trouble understanding the chapter or lesson? Raise your hand in class and ask questions. More likely than not, you’re not alone in your confusion. Still struggling? Ask your teacher for additional help outside the classroom, or talk to your parents about working with a tutor.
For tips on communicating with your teachers, read: How to Communicate Effectively with Teachers
Whether you’re guilty of just one or admit to practicing all of these study habits, let’s all vow to make 2022 the year of good study habits! To learn more about how we can help you be successful this year, contact Tim Tibbitts at firstname.lastname@example.org or 216.235.3115.