Healthy Study Habits Overview
Many people find the way they used to study in high school does not work in college. For a lot of students, in high school all they really had to do was show up and listen in class, and studying was never really on their radar. Now that you’re in college, you may be finding the need to find a good study routine, but that can be really hard! Especially when you pair that with all of the distractions of new environments, academic workload, changing social life, work, and relationships.
Healthy study habits are designed to provide you with organization, structure, a learning style that works for you, and to help you study smarter, not harder. Studies show that students who follow healthy study habits greatly improve their academic performance.
The good news is there are plenty of study habits to experiment with to find what works for you. Utilizing healthy study habits can greatly improve your GPA while providing a balance between school and social life.
What are Healthy Study Habits?
It’s important to know that there are many different styles of learning, and different ways will work better for some than others.
Here are some study habits to try:
- Take & review thorough notes while in class: Taking notes will help you absorb key terms and ideas more quickly by writing or typing them immediately.
- Eliminate distractions: This means turning off social media at times or putting your cell phone on silent. Removing distractions will help you concentrate and retain information.
- Schedule study time: Consider picking a specific time of the day that you dedicate to studying and make a promise to yourself that you will stick to it. You might want to find a specific place to study such as the library, a nearby park, a local coffee shop or even a specific place in your living space.
- Get organized: Spend some time going through your study material such as your notes, handouts and previous assignments and place them into labelled or color-coded folders. Get rid of any clutter or items that aren’t needed anymore. Make sure you clean out your backpack/study space on a regular basis.
- Find a study buddy: Link up with a fellow classmate and spend some time studying together. It can be helpful to have someone else holding you accountable and it normally makes studying a little more fun.
- Ask for support: If you are struggling with finding study habits that work for you, it’s okay to reach out for help. There are many different people and places who will help you develop the skills you need, such as tutors, professors, academic advisors, and classmates.
Benefits of Healthy Study Habits?
Research shows that healthy study habits are the best way to help you learn and increase your GPA. Studies also show that many college students rely on study habits they have developed throughout their elementary and secondary education, but now find they do not work for higher education.
Benefits of healthy study habits and routines include:
- They can provide a coping mechanism if you are struggling with mental health issues.
- They increase productivity.
- Reduce stress from feeling unorganized and scattered.
- Structured study routines can be calming and help you reduce anxiety.
- They help with time management.
Overall, finding and sticking to healthy study routines can help improve your academics, organize your life, and help manage the limited time you have in a day. If you are struggling to find a routine that works for you, reach out to a professor, academic advisor, student services, or classmate to direct you to the right resources on campus. Some of these resources may include: a writing center, topic-specific tutors, or a learning skills center.
Basic Principles of Study Habits
Space Your Study Sessions: Research shows that if you space out study sessions over a longer period of time it helps to improve long-term memory.
Interweave Your Subjects: Mixing up subject matter helps you learn by spacing and forgetting and relearning. This helps the brain cement the new information for the long-term.
Test yourself: Making yourself recall information helps strengthen your long-term learning. Quizzing yourself after every chapter or class helps you remember the material.
Spread studying out: It can be easier to take in smaller pieces of material over a longer time span instead of cramming in a lot of material at once.
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Crede, M., & Kuncel, N. R. (2008). Study habits, skills, and attitudes: The third pillar supporting collegiate academic performance. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 3(6), 425-453. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1745-6924.2008.00089.x
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