While some students are able to breeze through school with minimal effort, this is the exception. The vast majority of successful students achieve their success by developing and applying effective study habits. Which they use daily to accomplish the results they desire. The following are the top 10 study habits employed by highly successful students. Students who can put in the work to develop each of the study habits below will see their grades go up, their knowledge increase, and their ability to learn and assimilate information improve.
1. Space out study sessions and avoid cramming
Ever find yourself up late at night expending more energy trying to keep your eyelids open than you are studying? If so, it’s time for a change. Successful students typically space their work out over shorter periods of time and rarely try to cram all of their studying into just one or two sessions. If you want your teen to become a successful student then they need to learn to be consistent in their studies and to have regular, yet shorter, study periods.
2. Schedule and plan study time.
Successful students schedule specific times throughout the week when they are going to study — and then they stick with their schedule. Students who study sporadically and whimsically typically do not perform as well as students who have a set study schedule. Even if you’re all caught up with your studies, creating a weekly routine, where you set aside a period of time a few days a week, to review your courses will ensure you develop habits that will enable you to succeed in your education long term.
3. Study at the same time.
It’s important to maintain a consistent, daily study routine. When your teen studies at the same time each day and each week, studying will become a regular part of their life. They ‘ll be mentally and emotionally more prepared for each study session and each study session will become more productive.
4. Assigns specific goals to study times.
Simply studying without direction is not effective. Students need to know exactly what they need to accomplish during each study session. Before study sessions, encourage your teen to set a study session goal that supports their overall academic goal (i.e. memorize 30 vocabulary words in order to ace the vocabulary section on an upcoming Spanish test.)
5. Avoid procrastinating studying.
It’s very easy, and common for your teen to be tempted to put off study sessions because of lack of interest in the subject, or because they have other things they need to get done, or because they find the assignment difficult. Successful students AVOID procrastinating studying. They are generally aware of the pitfalls of procrastination and they know that they are unlikely to accomplish their objectives. Procrastination also leads to rushing, and rushing is the number one cause of errors leading to poor quality work.
6. Start with the most difficult subject first.
As the most difficult assignment or subject will require the most effort and mental energy, you should encourage your teen to start with it first. Once they’ve completed the most difficult work, it will be much easier for them to complete the rest of their work. Believe it or not, starting with the most difficult subject will greatly improve the effectiveness of their study sessions, and your teen’s academic performance.
7. Review notes before starting an assignment.
Before a student starts each study session, and before they start a particular assignment,they should review their notes thoroughly to make sure they know how to complete the assignment correctly. Reviewing their notes before each study session will help them remember important subject matter learned during the day, and make sure their studying is targeted and effective.
8. Avoiding distractions while studying.
Everyone gets distracted by something. Maybe it’s the TV. Or maybe by their family members’ presence. Or maybe it’s just too quiet. Some students actually study better with a little background noise. When students are distracted while studying they
(1) lose their train of thought and
(2) are unable to focus — both of which will lead to very ineffective studying.
Before they start studying, they need to find a place where they 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 a 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 students to
(1) get help from others when they’re struggling to understand a concept,
(2) complete assignments more quickly, and
(3) teach others, thereby helping both the other students and themself to internalize the subject matter. However, study groups can become very ineffective if they’re not structured and if group members come unprepared.
10. Review 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 your students develop the habits outlined above that you’ll see a major improvement in their academic success.
HABITS OF SUCCESSFUL STUDENTS YOU CAN IMPLEMENT TODAY
Like we discussed in the beginning of this post: little behavioral changes are what lead to big long-term results. So trying to help your teenager uproot their academic habits all at once is a recipe for failure.
To get the most out of the changes you could make this year, read through the list above, and choose 1-3 changes you can implement this week.
How are you going to introduce those changes to your teenager or your family?
What will you do to ensure you succeed?
And what will you use as your criteria for success to know if they’re fruitful or not?
Choose the habits you want to work on, answer those questions, and then give it a try.