Some students are able to get straight A’s and at the same time serve as the president of three clubs and hold a part-time job. Some students struggle to keep their GPA above a 3.0, yet they seem to spend all of their time in the library. Although it is true that everyone has a different baseline IQ, the value of hard work and good study habits should not be underestimated. Here are six habits to be a highly effective student that you should adopt in order to get the grades you want.
- Make a detailed schedule
If you don’t already have a planner, then it is time to invest in one. Nowadays many people use their computers and smartphones as a way to keep organized. The problem with that approach is that those devices are major distractions. How many times have you turned on the computer to check your to-do list only to waste the next two hours on Facebook? Instead, get an old fashioned paper and pen planner. Create a weekly schedule of any major assignments or exams. Then under each day, make a list of things to do each hour. Include time that will be spent eating, sleeping, and anything not school work related. That way you know exactly how much you can accomplish each day. Having a schedule that you can touch and feel, and having a to-do list that you can physically cross out will give you more motivation than any app on your phone.
- Pre-read before lectures
Lectures can be boring and hard to follow if you don’t understand the material or if you don’t have the necessary background knowledge. Each course will usually have a syllabus outlining lecture topics and reading assignments for an entire semester. Make sure to at least skim the reading material the night before so you can make the most out of the lecture. Course Hero might cost some money, but it offers endless resources of a variety of topics.
- Take frequent, short breaks
Taking a break from studying for 15 minutes every hour will help keep you alert and refreshed. Our brains are not meant to toil for hours nonstop. If you don’t take a break you may find yourself daydreaming or even falling asleep. Take some time for some water, a snack, or a quick chat with a friend.
- Take care of yourself
During finals week, it is common for students to fall behind on sleep and meals. Make sure you get a good night’s sleep and have regular meals. Studying while hungry or sleep-deprived is ineffective and will slow you down in the long run. Also try to make time for friends and family. Having a good support system will help with all the stress of studying and exams.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Sometimes all it takes is a quick hint from a professor or tutor to understand that difficult problem. Spending an hour speaking to your professor during their office hours will save you many more hours of trying to figure something out yourself. Forming a study group with classmates is also a great way to help each other because everyone has different strengths and weaknesses. Course Hero costs very little and is a great source for getting your questions answered. You can also supplement what Course Hero costs by sharing your knowledge on Course Hero, which can help you earn money.
- Focus on one thing at a time
First, turn off your computer and put away your phone unless you really need it for the assignment. You cannot be on Instagram and study quantum physics at the same time. Do not try to multitask. Break larger projects into smaller tasks and focus on completing one at a time.
By: Jennifer Livingston