Studying is a skill that can be learnt; however, if you’ve never been taught proper study methods, there is a chance that you could fall prey to an array of negative study habits. While these study habits might seem like a good idea at the time, they will affect you and your grades negatively.
In this article, we’ll identify six bad study habits, as well as provide you with healthier and more effective methods of studying.
6 Negative Study Habits
Without further ado, let’s jump into the six bad study habits that could be preventing you from performing well in your exams.
1. Cramming Shortly Before Exams
One of the most common study habits to avoid is cramming shortly before an exam. This study method typically goes hand in hand with procrastination.
Many wait until the last minute before they start to study. This puts you under unnecessary pressure, and it’s almost impossible to absorb an entire semester’s worth of information in a few hours.
This method is known to result in poor information retention, which will lead to you failing to recall information during an exam.
Rather than cramming for an exam, set up a studying schedule weeks before the exam. In this schedule, you should plan for multiple study sessions for each subject. Try to specify which study phase each study session will cover.
For example, start with revision, then make notes, summaries, and mind maps. Once these phases are complete, you can focus on memorising the work and completing past papers to test your knowledge and skill.
2. Studying Through the Night
Studying through the night is typically something that occurs when trying to cram for an exam. This will typically take place the night before an exam and will result in little to no sleep. On the morning of the exam, you will probably try to fight exhaustion with highly caffeinated beverages.
Ultimately, this sleep deprivation will have negative effects on your cognitive function. Therefore, you will fail to focus and will struggle to recall information.
It is always important to get a good night's sleep but it’s essential during exam season. Therefore, rather than staying up all night, go to bed at a decent time, wake up early, and review your work in the morning before writing your exam.
It can be beneficial to go to bed at the same time each evening, as this will help your body get into a rhythm. You will find yourself feeling sleepy at the same time every evening once your body is used to this sleep schedule.
Studying throughout the night should not be necessary if you have created an effective study plan and followed it.
3. Multi-tasking While Studying
In today’s digital world, it is tempting to have the TV playing in the background or reply to text messages while studying. These and other distractions, such as social media and browsing the internet, will prevent you from focusing effectively and will lengthen the time required to study for an exam.
While studying, try to remove all distractions from your environment. This works best if you have a quiet room in which to study. This will help you focus on the task at hand and you should find it easier to retain information.
You can also reward yourself with a distraction of your choice once you have finished a session or reached a certain milestone. In this way, a distraction becomes a motivator to focus and finish a certain amount of work.
4. Excessive Highlighting of Text
While highlighting and underlining text is advisable while studying, it can easily become ineffective if you highlight everything. Highlighting is meant to draw attention to important key phrases and points, it should not turn your textbook into a rainbow.
We suggest that you read through the text and then go through the information a second time, highlighting important points and phrases. This will assist in starting to retain information and will make it easier to locate information at a later stage.
5. Relying on Reading as a Study Method
Reading through a piece of work is a fantastic way to familiarise yourself with a concept; however, this will not aid in retaining knowledge.
There are several other active learning techniques that will be much more effective. Some of these techniques include creating mind maps, summaries, and flashcards. You can also ask yourself questions and answer aloud, or teach the material to a study partner.
These learning techniques demand attention and will, therefore, force you to focus while studying.
6. Failing to Establish a Study Routine
A routine can be more useful than you might think. Without it, you will struggle to find the motivation to start studying and will struggle to focus while studying. You can also easily fall into the trap of only studying and not taking any time for yourself where you allow yourself to relax.
This can all lead to more stress and anxiety than necessary, which will negatively impact your ability to study and perform well in your exams.
Instead, establish a routine that includes a few healthy lifestyle habits.
- Wake up and go to bed at the same time every day and night.
- Try to fit in some time for exercise in the morning before studying.
- Set a hard deadline for when to begin your first study session.
- Schedule breaks in between your study sessions where you do something you enjoy.
- Make time for relaxation before you go to bed each evening.
By doing this, you should remain balanced and have enough energy to study effectively and do well in your exams.