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Building good study habits

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Studying can be a bit daunting sometimes, especially if you have taken a break after high school and are just starting university. Forming certain habits can make study easier and less overwhelming. Habits require little mental effort, thus saving energy for the bigger things in life.

Three students sitting outside with study materials

Here are some study habits that may help you excel in your studies:

Set your learning goals

It’s important to set a realistic goal of what you want to achieve in your degree. Most likely you want good grades, but consider what that means for you – what is good for one person may not be the same for another. Once you have set your goals, work towards them with all your efforts.

Study smart

You’ve probably heard it before but it doesn’t make it less true! Good time management is crucial to studying effectively and making the most of your time. When it comes to studying, people can confuse good time management with studying for the entire day, but this might not work for you.

Different people learn differently and there is no template or right way of doing so, hence it’s vital that you understand how you prefer to learn. Here are some study methods to try:

  • The Pomodoro Technique can be an effective way to study. You spilt your task into smaller chunks and work through them one at a time in short periods and incorporate quick breaks between each period.
  • Studying with a group is a good way to keep yourself motivated and allows you to work through some of the difficult topics together. Finding a good study group is crucial to holding each other accountable and ensuring everyone is progressing. It allows you to share your understanding of the contents and reinforce your learning.
  • Do you know what your learning style is? Studying according to your learning style may help you stay focused and retain content better. For example, some people are visual learners so using diagrams and colourful notes works best for them. Don’t forget to set up your learning environment to suit your learning style.

Prioritise your tasks

Once you have a good grip on effectively managing your time, it is important that you spend some time prioritising your tasks and study topics. You’ll want to work on things that are most urgent and important immediately, and less urgent tasks later.

If you are having difficulty prioritising tasks, you can use the Eisenhower Decision Matrix to place your tasks into four different categories based on their urgency and importance.

Revise your course content regularly

This is often overlooked, but a major obstacle to having a good study schedule is to leave everything to the last minute. This gives you very little time to have a thorough understanding of the course and often causes a lot of stress because there’s so much to cover in a short period.

Try to create a realistic study timetable, making sure you avoid long study sessions that stretch for hours on end. Revising your course content regularly will help reduce your stress and make it more likely you’ll retain course content.

Take care of yourself

“If you don’t take time out for your wellness you will be forced to make time for your illness” – Unknown

Take some time off between your studies to help stimulate your brain. Go for a walk, talk to a mate, do something creative or whatever makes you happy – doing more work when you should be taking a break defeats the purpose and is detrimental to your wellbeing.

A lot of the time we do not take care of our body when we are busy studying. Although it may seem fine at the time, we are doing more harm than good in the long run. Make sure you eat a well-balanced diet and stay active – go to the gym, take a quick walk or do some cardio at home, and most importantly stay hydrated! A healthy body leads to a healthy mind.

Ask for help

You should never be embarrassed to seek help from your tutors, lecturers, or peers when you are stuck with a difficult concept. It’s best to get help early to avoid stress and get back on track quickly.

 

If you’d like extra help with your study habits check out the Library’s online modules on study skills or our range of in-person and online workshops.

 

Written by Mohammed Ashfaq Ali

Peer Academic Mentor and Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) student majoring in Electrical and Electronic Engineering.