Study Habits that Can Help You Prepare for College

Posted on January 31 2017

Many students know that school is a place where you learn concepts, such as how to read and solve math problems, but what you may not realize is that your elementary, junior high and high school education are also a time when you are learning how to study. Developing effective study skills early in your academic career can help you succeed in college and in your career. It may seem like a simple concept, but there are some things you can do that will make you better at studying, and therefore better able to understand the materials you are learning without spending hours and hours poring over the material. Here are some study habits that will make you an effective student today and in the future.

1: Set Aside Time Every Day

Just about every student has done it at one time or another—you forgot to study and realize you have a test tomorrow, so you cram all your studying into a single session. It may have gotten you a passing grade in the past, but making a habit out of this type of studying isn’t going to help you learn in the long run. A much more effective option is to set aside short sessions of time each day and study the material over time. This will allow you to go through it in detail, figure out the areas that you don’t understand, and ask questions of your instructors. It’s helpful if you can set aside the same or similar times each day so it becomes a habit, and you can avoid it become sporadic and unfocused.

2: Tackle Big Projects First

Having a large or overwhelming project that is due can cause stress, and sometimes the sheer volume of work to be done can make you want to put it off. Instead you try to busy yourself doing a myriad of small projects, but in the end that big project is still there. While it can be easy to procrastinate these large projects, tackling them early and getting a head start can make it easier in the long run. Break the project down into smaller, more manageable goals, and get started right away. You can always get to those little projects after, or in between when you need a break from the big project.

3: Keep Distractions to a Minimum
You can’t always control your environment, but as much as possible you should try to keep distractions out of your study sessions. Find a place that is quiet, well lit, and away from the television, your little brothers and sisters, or your cell phone. Distraction-free studying will help you better learn and retain information, and get through projects faster so your study time is not only effective, but also efficient.

4: Participate in Study Groups, Take Notes and Ask Questions

Part of studying is figuring out what parts of the class material you do and don’t understand. When you study, take notes about the things that don’t make sense, write down your questions, and take those to study groups or to your instructor. If you don’t have a study group, consider setting one up with some of your classmates. Studying in groups can help you understand difficult class concepts, get your assignments done, and even learn the materials better by teaching others. However, these groups need to be structured and organized so you don’t become distracted and end up wasting time.

5: Know Your Learning Style

Everyone learns in different ways, and knowing your learning style can help you study more effectively. The seven learning styles include:

• Verbal – listening to lectures and writing notes
• Physical – hands-on learning by applying concepts yourself
• Visual – imagery and special instruction
• Aural – using music and sounds to learn
• Social – working with others in groups to learn
• Solitary – studying and learning alone
• Logical – learning by applying patterns and linking information

Developing good study habits now can help you get good grades in junior high and high school, which will carry over and prepare you for the more rigorous requirements of higher education as you prepare for a career.