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Establishing Good Study Habits

Efficient Use of Time
"I'm here to tell you what I think is a key to academic survival and success. The first and most important thing I feel, at least to survival and success in the classroom, is efficient use of your time outside the classroom. Remember, there are 24 hours in a day. Set aside two to three hours each day for studying. This will leave you with five to six hours -- after we subtract time for our classes, meals, and a good night's sleep -- to do those things that we like to do much more than studying. The next thing that I feel contributes to survival and success in the classroom is periodic review of your lecture notes and the appropriate chapters in your textbooks. Periodic review and beginning to study for your exams early will save you time in the long run and it will prevent cramming. That way you can be well rested and more motivated and less anxious on test day. The last thing you can do to help get good grades is take advantage of all the academic resources at your university. It can only help you."

- By Dante Battles

The Power of Cooperation
"Education often looks like competition. We compete for interest in school, for grades when we're in school, and for jobs when we leave school. In such a climate it is easy to overlook the power of cooperation that is developed through study support groups. Study support groups feed you energy. People are social animals and we draw strength from groups. Aside from the comradery, the fellowship and the fun, support groups can assist you by elevating your spirit. There will be days when you just don't want to work on your education. Other members of the study group, however, can support you and encourage you. In addition to drawing strength from the group when you're down, you can give support to others yourself as they need it. A study support group is also a good place to build rewarding relationships with people. So remember your friends and classmates when you study."
- By Mike Brown

Mixing Studies with Social Activities
"The most successful students balance social activities with good study habits. A diversion from studies will alleviate stress and help prevent you from becoming fatigued. So make sure you take a break for an hour after studies to meet with friends, to play some cards, work out at the gym, or to gab with a new acquaintance. You'll find your concentration sharpen when you do study, if you plan a social activity afterwards. To develop a healthy social life, develop routine study habits. After supper, lug your books and homework to the library, find a comfortable and quiet niche, and study for two or three hours, taking intermittent 10 minute breaks every 45 minutes or so. Make a friend with whom you share similar study habits, and share a table or a study space with them. Remember, after you've completed your work for the evening, take time for a social activity before retiring for the evening. You'll wake up feeling refreshed and prepared for another day."
- By Mark Crilly

Setting a Comfortable Pace
"Are you frustrated at not performing at a level equal to your potential in your courses? This tip is to help maximize your academic efforts. A good grade in a course is almost never the result of luck. The key is to set yourself at a comfortable pace for studying. What is your comfortable pace? Once you determine this, consistency is the secret. Setting aside time for focused study every day will probably result in a higher grade point average. Make falling behind a thing of the past! Also, for each course you have, rate your interest level and the type of course, list the course requirements, set a goal for the grade you wish to earn, and establish a study schedule. A study schedule will guarantee better grades and may actually reduce the study time you spend now. Be sure to incorporate some review time each study period. Your study schedule must be convenient and you must adhere to it. Increased study time with consistency will spell success. I have seen it work for students."
- By Jean Fera

Changing Your Habits
"How are you? I'm Dr. John Feldmeier with an Academic Survival Tip. But first, I want you to find a pencil or pen so you can write down what I'm about to say. Ready, please write this down. The past does not equal the future. Once again, the past does not equal the future. Next, I want you to take what you have written down and place it where you will see it each and every day. Okay, what does it mean? It means those poor study habits such as not completing assignments, missing classes, and staying up too late before your next class do not have to be repeated in the future. Who can make these changes? Yes, you're correct. You, and only you, can change the future to achieve more success and productivity. Remember, don't let the past be your future. Make these changes for a better life."
- By John Feldmeier

Personal Maintenance
"We all know the importance of maintaining a car. We can push it to the limit, but sooner or later it starts to run poorly. By setting aside some time for a little maintenance, we can keep it running smoothly and efficiently. Unfortunately, we tend to forget these simple truths when they're applied to college life. We push ourselves to keep up with demands and ignore warning signs such as decreased productivity and a negative attitude. We fail to recognize that some time spent on rest and relaxation may actually save time in the long run. People often notice that their mood improves and they work more effectively after taking a break. Personal maintenance may include very simple and inexpensive activities such as taking a walk in the snow, having dinner with a friend, or listening to some favorite music. So take a little time out today to do something fun and relaxing -- your system just might run a little smoother tomorrow."
- By Gary LaBine

Immediate Review of Class Notes
"The study suggestion that I recommend is the one that I am still working on applying in my last semester of graduate school -- that is, to go home and review as soon as possible what you have heard and learned in class. Otherwise, 80% of what was learned will be forgotten. So, as soon as you can after class, review the class notes or the related chapter text. When you do this type of review, you may have the satisfying experience of ideas relating, making sense, and fitting together for you. At times, you may also experience a very interesting phenomena. Sometimes it feels like light bulbs are going on in your brain when these connections are made. And that's the good side. The other side is that this requires self-discipline and requires planned effort. Yes, I mean a planned study schedule. But it is a rewarding learning experience and I recommend it to you. This may also be done in reverse and this may also be easier. Immediately prior to a class, read the chapter text material that will be covered in the lecture that day. You will be one of the few students who will understand the lecture, be able to answer questions, ask questions and thus participate. And you will feel "real" knowledgeable. This has an instant positive feedback effect and will also enable you to retain more information. So, schedule daily study time and schedule one or the other of these techniques into your planned study time."
- By Nina Maddalon-Perino

Staying Awake
"There are times when, no matter how interesting a subject might be, it's still very difficult to stay awake when studying. Say you have several chapters to read for the next class. You have the time to do it, but you're having trouble keeping those "baby blues" open and focused. Try this. First, buy an egg timer, one of those little white ones that clicks off the seconds quietly. Set the timer for ten minute intervals. Read until the timer goes off. Then get up and move around for a couple minutes -- maybe sip some fruit juice. Then set the timer and repeat the process. If the moving around and sipping isn't enough, try some deep knee bends, sit ups, or muscle-stretching activities. The idea is to keep the blood moving through the brain. You'll be surprised at the amount of information you cover in a short period of time."
- By Donna Patterson

Put Academics First Life
"As a Department Chair, I have the opportunity to talk with many second semester freshmen in my area; unfortunately, some of them are on academic probation or have lower Q.P.A.'s than they want. And the reason I hear most often is, "Well, I goofed off the first semester and didn't really study that hard." That statement causes me to advise students to do two things:

Put academics first and really mean it. This might include studying in a quiet place, reading assignments more than once, taking copious notes, and starting on your papers at least a week before they're due.

Get enough sleep and eat well. Don't stay up late night after late night talking with your friends; try getting up for breakfast and studying before class. This means, my friends, that you can socialize only on weekends and still not much in the beginning until you see where you're going to stand grade-wise.

Remember, you don't flunk out if you miss parties; you flunk out when you miss classes and don't commit to doing your best work."

- By Marilyn Sheerer

More About Time Management
"Are you having trouble remembering information when you take a test? Do you feel overwhelmed with the amount of material you need to learn? Information stored in short-term memory can begin to decay within a short time unless effort is made to place the material in long term memory. Research indicates that unless you review within 24 hours, 80% of the material can be forgotten. By reviewing information as soon as possible you will not only increase the amount of material you will remember, but you will also decrease the hours of study needed before an exam. You can build review sessions into your daily schedule by following a few simple steps. First, avoid scheduling back to back classes. Use the time in between your classes to review your notes. Dot your "i's", cross your "t's" and write out abbreviations. This will only take you two or three minutes and will aid in retention of the material. Second, use small amounts of time to review. Try to avoid marathon study sessions, since they tend to be overwhelming and cause students to procrastinate even more. Third, time wasted in line at the bookstore or waiting at the laundromat can be used to review and organize notes. The key is time management. Learning to budget your time will give you more time for frequent reviewing so that less time is spent cramming."
- By Kate Strosser

Don't Panic
"You know, it's really easy, especially during this time of the semester, to look at all the things you have to do, and -- well -- panic. Some people even go into withdrawal because they don't know what to do -- they are overcome, and do nothing at all, and of course the worst happens. The solution to this problem sounds flip, but it really isn't. Don't look at the whole picture. Keep your attention focussed only on each individual step. Focus on your math assignment -- don't also worry about your English paper and communications project. Or, write that first draft now, and worry about the final format later. But, above all, do it now. If you keep up with each step, the whole will take care of itself automatically. You don't have to worry, and who knows, you might even get some sleep."
- By Peter van den Honert

Studying Can Be Fun
"I run across countless students who view studying as arduous, if not painful. I would like to share a few tips that might help you approach studying in an agreeable and productive fashion. First, schedule a block of time each day that is created specifically for studying. Choosing the right time is crucial. Some of us study most effectively in the morning; some in the evening. The key is setting a study time that fits you personally, i.e. when you are at your sharpest. If your difficulty is finding time to study, chances are good that you're in the habit of doing something else that takes away from your studies. Second, choose your studying place and be faithful to it. This includes choosing a place that is nearby, quiet, and one lacking distractions. It is also important that you find a place that is only associated with studying. Many students often with good intentions make the mistake of choosing their bed as their special studying place. Unfortunately, these students find that what was going to be their study time turned into their nap time. Third, create a pleasing atmosphere in which to study. Put on your favorite slippers or make yourself a hot cup of tea or hot chocolate. Make your time special. The trick is to change your feelings about studying. If you can do this, your studying time can be more pleasurable and productive."
- By Chris Mazzarella

Why Fail When You Can Succeed?
"When I was the Dean of Students at Philander Smith College in 1965, I did a research project to determine why students fail. What I found to be true in that survey of study habits more than 30 years ago still rings true today--students fail because they don't know how to study or they don't know what it means to study. The best advice I can give you to enable the achievement of academic excellence is to develop sound study skills. First, make sure you have a good study environment, a good desk, a sturdy chair, good light, comfortable room temperature and a quiet atmosphere. That means you should eliminate all external and internal distractions. Second, get a good overview of your assignment before you start your work. Know what skills, facts and ideas you are expected to master and the ground you are expected to cover. Start with your most difficult subject first, while your mind is freshest and most receptive. Develop a study schedule and stick to it. Schedule your study time when you know you are at your best. Successful students agree that a weekly schedule works best and provides the flexibility necessary to make adjustments according to assignments. Finally, study your professors as well as the subject matter. Ask faculty for study tips specific to the subject at hand. The faculty in the Department of Academic Support Services can provide additional assistance to you in developing good study habits."
- By Frank Pogue

Preparing to Participate in Class
"I have a very active schedule and couldn't accomplish the goals I've set for myself if I didn't take time for preparation. Preparation can aid you as well. You'll find that going to class is much more enjoyable if you're prepared to participate. Not only will a professor take notice that you are ready for class, but you'll find that you are also able to assist your classmates by engaging them in discussions of that day's material. It's up to you to decide if you want just a college degree or if you truly want a college education. Prepare in advance so you don't find yourself behind the "eight ball" when it is time to study for that all-important class or test. As a recent non-traditional student at Edinboro University, I know what I'm talking about when I say preparation is the key."
- By Kip Allen


 


Since December 1999 - last modified: October 09, 2008