Have you ever wondered why some students perform exceptionally well in their studies and get the highest grades every time, while some students find it difficult to even get satisfactory grades despite burning the midnight oil? Well, the answer lies in the difference in learning habits that these two groups of students have. Every person is born with the capability and potential to do well in life, however, it becomes a reality only when a student introduces effective study habits in his/her life. Good study habits make all the difference. So, no matter how many nights you spend awake studying, it all eventually comes down to the learning habits that ultimately make you either a barely-passing student or a successful student with the best grades.
Here are the 10 best learning habits of successful students that can make you a successful student as well if you introduce them to your life timely:
1. Don’t Cram All Your Studying Into One Session
One of the most common habits of successful students is that they never cram all their studying into one session. So, if you constantly find yourself trying to pull an all-nighter to study everything you’ve learned all semester, then it’s about time that you make a change. Successful students always space out their study sessions throughout the semester, and they rarely cram all their studying into just one night, especially the night preceding an important exam. If you want to be one of the successful students too, then you need to be consistent, and space your study sessions timely. Most importantly, you’ve to be regular.
2. Use Mnemonic Devices
Mnemonic devices, also known as memory games, are techniques for retaining important data using a very simple association or sequence of common words. Most often students come up with a nonsense or comical sequence, of words, that is easy to remember. The first letter of each word in a mnemonic stands for an important word that the student wants to remember. One of the most common memory games used by students is, “Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Susie”. If you put together the first letter of every word in the given sentence you get the word PEMDAS which is the correct order of operations in Mathematics.
The key to mnemonics is that the new sentence or phrase you come up with should be easier and more memorable for you to memorize than the pieces of information you want to learn otherwise the mnemonics won’t be of any use to you. Plus, memory games don’t work for everyone, some people like to just memorize the information the way it is, so if they do not work for you, you do not necessarily have to use them.
The reason why successful students make it a habit to use mnemonic devices is that the human brain is designed to remember active images and visual aid more actively as compared to just a list of items.
3. Use Study Groups Effectively
Study groups can be very effective if used the right way. When you work in a group you get to learn the same things from different perspectives. Plus, you also become capable of :
Getting help from your peers when you find yourself struggling with a certain topic.
Completing your homework and assignments more quickly as you are working in sync with other people.
Teaching others and learning from others as well. This way, you can also internalize the subject matter.
However, On the flip side, study groups can become quite ineffective and a total waste of time if you and your group members do not come prepared. So, out of all the effective study habits of successful students, using study groups effectively is one of the most beneficial if used right.
First of all, learning is a skill and has to be cultivated. No one can learn without the willingness to learn and a positive approach towards learning. Anything can be learned with a positive and constructive attitude. From the moment they wake up to the time they go to bed, these students engage in many learning habits that can be transferred to others who would like to follow their lead.
Successful Students have a very well-defined study schedule. They plan everything, be it their study time, sports, socialization, and leisure. This allows them to stay focused on their main objective, getting good grades.
This means that they don’t waste time and energy. Successful students know how to study. They do not try and cram for days before the test.
They are constantly on the lookout for new study methods, taking advantage of them. They don’t waste time studying using methods that have been proven ineffective. According to them, there is no set time for studying, and it depends on the person. Some people study at night and some in the morning. It depends on the person and their routine. The best time to study is when you are fresh and in the mood. Don’t ever force yourself to learn. Be disciplined and work.
My suggestions to students are to keep a notebook with them and note down everything they want to remember. Further, make sure their notes are organized and tidied up. I would also suggest reading every day, even just 10 minutes a day. Doing so will get easier for them to remember things and keep them in mind.
Do you want to know another thing that successful students have? A study plan! Why? Because it keeps them on track.
Before you sit down to study every day, make a study plan. For instance, today, when you sit down to revise your lectures, write down all your tasks on a piece of paper. The tasks can be writing a summary of chapter 5 of your English literature textbook or completing a Calculus assignment. Now, write down the key steps to get the tasks done.
For your Calculus’ assignment, your study plan can look something like this:
Read notes from the Calculus lecture.
Study the chapter in the textbook on Calculus problems.
Do 4 to 7 questions.
Your study plan will not just help you get work done quicker but will also increase the concentration with which you work. Plus, you also will not feel distracted by the tasks that can wait until tomorrow or the day after tomorrow.
5. Take Breaks and Reward Yourself
Because so many students consider doing homework and revising a task or a tedious chore, it is human nature to avoid studying as much as possible.
We understand, we’ve been there too!
If, however, you find some sort of incentive to get you working in no time, you may be surprised to see the change you feel in your attitude towards studying. Good study habits do not just include studying intensively for hours on end, but they also include taking breaks and rewarding yourself time to recharge to come back stronger and better.
Studying for 4 hours at a time without taking any break is not only unrealistic but also extremely boring for most students. Schedule rewards for yourself by sectioning your time into smaller components. A better, sustainable, and more enjoyable way to study is learning for 1 hour continuously and then taking a 5-minute micro-break to grab a snack or a drink. However, there is no hard and fast rule. Divide your time into segments that work the best for you. You can divide a textbook chapter into 5 sections, or you can do it in just two – it all depends on you. Hence, find the limits that suit your needs.
And then, if you succeed in completing the chapter in two sessions of the same sitting, reward yourself by treating your hungry stomach with some good food. Again, it doesn’t have to be just food or sleep. Rewards can range from buying a shirt for yourself online to reading two chapters of the novel you just started. The point is to reward yourself with a thing that means something to you and to stick to it.
Some students may find this way of studying a bit strange because you can easily ignore these limits or goals and do whatever you want. But what they do not know is that by setting limits for yourself and then sticking to them, you’re introducing discipline and time management in your life.
6. Try Studying Offline as Much as You Can
Stay off the grid when you study. When studying, you need to be totally immersed in the material you are learning, which means that you must get rid of all those annoying distractions that emerge when you are online.
So, when you sit down to study, switch off your Wi-Fi router and give your mind the quietness it needs to focus. And while you are at it, try to take notes by hand instead of using a laptop because the former is not just a smarter way of learning but also helps ward off distractions that come with using a laptop. In addition to that, writing down notes by hand helps your brain absorb the meaning of the information you write more actively. On the other hand, when you use a laptop to write down important points, you do not process what you learn as deeply.
7. Leave Time for the Last-Minute Review
Now, this is one of the most important game-changing learning habits that you must adopt if you want to become a successful student. Plus, this is also the moment where your well-mapped-out lecture notes will come in handy. Always schedule some time for last-minute revisions. This is also known as the tried and true memory game that the majority of learners use as one study habit. However, it will not work for all the information and study material you will be taking on during college, but it will work when you take good notes.
Want an even better option to try? Then try combining your last minute-review with a good 8 hours night’s sleep. This will significantly increase your memory retention and help you ace your exams. Do not ignore your body’s need to sleep because studying when your brain wants to sleep is totally ineffective. The bottom line is that getting a good night’s sleep is also a habit that you need to develop if you want to understand and retain information better.
If you find yourself getting more tired or stressed than usual lately, then you need to reflect on your priorities and study plans because this is your body’s way of telling you that you need rest. Thus, always make sure that you allocate dedicated time for taking a rest and enjoying some de-stressing activities.
8. Follow a Weekly Schedule
Another habit that a successful student has is a weekly schedule. Scheduling time for a specific task lets you focus solely on that task, and also instills a sense of time management in you as you assign a date and a certain number of hours to that task. Plus, once something is down in writing, that task becomes a reality, in a weird, unexplainable way, and you’re more likely to devote yourself to it and see it to an end.
Set up a schedule anywhere – a template, online spreadsheet, calendar, journal – whatever floats your boat the best. Start with your fixed regular commitments such as family time, movie nights, religious activities, sports practice, school, extra tuition, and the list goes on. Once you’ve got that down, allocate specific time intervals to these regular commitments, and then decide a suitable time for work and revision in between them.
And don’t burn yourself out. Give yourself a break. Allocate a study-free day or some enjoyment hours once a week. If you give yourself a break to recharge, you’re more likely to bounce back with more energy and dedication to get work done.
9. Know Your Learning Style
It’s important to know what learning style suits you the most, as there are different learning styles because every person retains information differently.
Here are some common learning styles:
Visual Learners: This type of learner learns the best when they interact with images, pictures, and spatial understanding.
Auditory Learners: These are the students who prefer using sounds, or music, or both.
Kinesthetic Learners: This is the category of learners who actually employ a more physical style of learning by using their hands, body, and the sense of touch.
Logical Learners: This type of learner requires the use of systems, logic, and reasoning to understand a concept.
Verbal Learners: These are the learners who like to use words in speech and writing.
Social Learners: As the name indicates; these learners are very social and thrive the best when they learn in groups or with other people.
Solitary Learners: These are the polar opposite of social learners, and they learn information the best when they study alone.
Study about all the styles of learning to decide which one works the best for you. Your learning style will determine the way you want to study, where and when you want to study, and what types of study aids would be more beneficial for you. In other words, the right learning style will make your learning habits even more effective.
10. Don’t Procrastinate
Procrastination is very common among students because what is easier than putting off your study sessions? Procrastination can have many reasons including the lack of interest in the topic you’re required to study, or the assignment being way too difficult for you, or maybe you’ve so many other interesting tasks to do.
But here is the thing; a successful student NEVER procrastinates his study sessions. So, no procrastination is another one of the habits of successful students that you must adopt. If you keep putting your study session off for later, your studying will not feel effective, and it won’t just lose its importance, but you may not get it done on time as well. Moreover, procrastination also leads to students rushing their study sessions, which, by the way, is the number one cause of blunders and mistakes.
The Final Takeaway
You can easily become one of the highly successful students in your class by adopting the right learning habits and making sure that you stick to them. These good study habits are what make successful students so successful. It’s never about how long they spend studying or how intelligent they are, and it’s about the effective study habits they’ve. And now you can also follow the same habits to become one of them by taking notes from our article!
Austin has 10+ years of experience in teaching. He has researched on thousands of students-related topics, issues, and concerns. You will often find him writing about the common concerns of students, their nutrition, and what is beneficial for their academics and health both.