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Avoid these 9 Behaviors That Lead to Study Habit Quicksand

Studying is a necessary part of earning a quality education, but as one takes on more responsibility—and harder classes—the importance of quality over quantity becomes ever more important. During such times, students can actually “think” they’re studying when actually they are engaging in behaviors that produce a negative effect on their performance. Read Our 9 Behaviors You Should Avoid That Lead to Study Habit Quicksand.

Drowning in sand1. Conforming to Others’ Standards of Good Study Habits and Organization

If you think this is just a concern for younger students who have yet to develop their study habits, you’re wrong. Even graduate students can make the mistake of wanting to study a certain way when other methods actually work better for them. Some people are visual learners and play off others well, while others perform better in quiet and solitude learning from a textbook. What works for one student will not necessarily work for another, and if you have been logging a lot of hours over material but feel you’re not getting anywhere, then it may be time to re-examine how you prepare.

2. Focusing Too Heavily on Homework and Not Enough on Internalizing Concepts

Another huge problem at the secondary and post-secondary levels is that of focusing too much on homework and not enough on the actual theories and concepts over which you’ll be tested. It can feel pretty great getting a 25 out of 25 or a 30 out of 30 on those pop quizzes and algebra problems. How many times have you known of, been around, or actually participated in the act of sharing homework answers in a mad rush before class to get those homework points?

While it may save you in the short term, this is not recommended behavior for acing the actual exams or preparing for the next level of life. Time can get tight on a student with a full-class load. Rather than giving in to the temptation of cutting corners, it’s worth it to take a hit here and there on homework points if it leads to a better understanding of the material.

3. Getting Ready to Study Instead of Actually Studying

The procrastination bug can come in many forms. Sitting in front of the television watching that one more episode of “Wipeout” or “Teen Mom” is an obvious way of putting off the inevitable. But little acts that make you think you’re working can eat more of your time than anything else, turning two-hour study sessions into six-hour time-wasters. Don’t allow the six degrees of separation game to lead your focus astray.

The Internet is a great tool when used correctly, but too many people allow their minds—and their fingers—to wander from the objective at-hand. Yes, maybe your folders need organized and your notes need to be typed up. These are good things. But anything good can become excessive.

4. Choosing a Poor Environment

Study groups can lead to a deeper understanding of material, but they can also lead to hour-long gripe-sessions about the instructor or the difficulty of that last exam. Whether the distraction is a shiny Playstation 3 in the next room or that cute guy who needs your help understanding chemistry, the objects and people around you can muck up a good environment.

5. Over-Studying

Anyone who has ever dealt with the 8-gigabyte iPhone knows that you can only fit so many pictures, songs, and Angry Birds apps before the storage space is gone. Similarly your brain can only take so much before it needs a break. It may seem counterproductive to tell you that a good means for getting out of the study habit quicksand is to not study, but it’s true. Cramming will only take a person so far in life.

Make sure you allow enough time leading up to the exam to fully internalize and understand concepts. While last-minute preparations may be able to save you on one test, they will not stay with you over the long haul. Appreciate your brain’s storage capacity, and don’t try to input too much information too quickly.

Handwriting with broken pencil point on yellow pad

6. Taking Too Many Notes

Note-taking alone is not an adequate means of preparation. You must learn how to determine what information is worth remembering and what is not. Some students think they’re preparing by taking notes on every little thing the teacher says or reco

rding and transcribing lectures word-for-word when the reality is they’re not internalizing and understanding the information. Learn how to take notes by watching and listening to the instructor or by referring information in the textbook back to its headings and sub-headings, asking how the text connects to the subject itself.

7. Rewarding Your Efforts Instead of Your Accomplishments

Buying yourself a reward for a job well done is a great motivator for effective studying. Just make sure you’re not buying yourself a reward for a job “done” instead. Rather than buying that new shirt or pair of shoes after the test is over, hold on to your money until after the grades are posted. Reward yourself for what you accomplish and not what you do.

8. Weighing Yourself Down with Paper

Post-It Notes, notebook pages, handouts, textbooks—having lots of study materials in lots of different places leaves too big of a margin for error. Inevitably people who study this way find themselves looking for that lost piece of information right when they need it the most. Hold on to your tests and your homework. Read the chapter. Take notes. But if you can’t save the study materials to a hard drive, then at least make sure all the materials stay in one easy-to-find location.

9. Fearing Technology (or Conversely, Relying Too Heavily Upon It)

Technology is a wonderful thing. Generations before you had to search through a heavy book using only the Index and the Table of Contents rather than the Ctrl+F function inside of a weightless electronic file or web page. If recording a lecture was possible they had to transcribe the meeting by hand or hire someone to do so instead of using software programs like Dragon Dictation to do it all for them with up to 99% accuracy.

But dictation programs, even good ones, can screw up. Internet connections can “not respond.” 3G, 4G, and LTE Networks can experience technical difficulties. Hard drives can crash. And recording devices can run low on batteries or fail to save the audio. It doesn’t matter if you fall on the side of pro- or anti-technology. Nothing can replace the human mind so make sure to use yours effectively.

Written by

's work appears regularly here at 4tests.com and across the web for sites, such as The Inquisitr and Life'd. A former high school teacher, his passion for education has only intensified since leaving the classroom. At 4tests, he hopes to continue passing along words of encouragement and study tips to ensure you leave school ready to face an ever-changing world.

Website: http://aricmitchell.blogspot.com/

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One Response

  1. Jan Sagastegui says:

    Many thanks for sharing this first-class article. Very inspiring! (as always, btw)

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