Become a Better Student in 5 Simple Steps
You can become a better student in many ways. If you’re not a good listener, you can practice. Same goes if you’re not a good note-taker or test-taker. You can also get a tutor. If you’re not a good student, you’re not a good student because you don’t work hard enough or because the material is a little more than you’re ready for at this point in your development. It’s not because you’re not smart enough or because you’re not talented enough.
Fortunately, there are some basic improvements you can make in your study game to improve outcomes, even if you’re lagging in certain areas. In the following article, we’ll be focusing on five very simple things that you can start doing immediately to boost your performance. As you read through each of these, take an honest look at where you are and how you can improve. Let’s get started!
Do Your Homework
Homework is very important because if you don’t do your homework, you’ll never understand the material. If you don’t understand the material, you’ll never learn. If you don’t learn, you’ll never be able to apply the material. If you don’t do your homework, you’re not likely to get the results you want. If you do your homework, you’ll be prepared. You’ll be ready to share your knowledge with the world. You’ll be ready to take action and make things happen. You’ll be ready to see things through to the end.
But to make sure your homework gets done right, you need to do it as close to class time as possible. At the very least, it should be done on the same day. You’ve heard it said that idle hands are the devil’s playground? Well, procrastinating on your homework is a petrie dish for ignorance. Make daily homework a part of your to-do list.
Students should start by identifying all the things they have to do in a given day. They should then create a to-do list so they know what they’re responsible for and when they’re supposed to be doing it. When students are disorganized, it’s harder for them to learn. It’s harder for them to absorb information. It’s harder for them to remember what they learned and it’s harder for them to transfer their learning to new situations.
Figure out what works best for you when deciding how to organize. Are you better at doing things by hand, or would you rather use technology tools (i.e., apps and software)? Once you commit to getting organized, the tactics should come to you naturally.
The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that college students engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week, which is the equivalent of about 30 minutes of exercise five days a week. A good diet for a college student to avoid gaining weight is one that isn’t too strict but also isn’t too lenient, meaning you should eat healthily but also allow yourself to indulge every once in a while. According to the National Sleep Foundation, teens need between 8.5 and 9.25 hours of sleep each night. Adults need between 7.5 and 8.25 hours of sleep each night.
Keep all of these recommendations in mind as you work to make wellness a priority. If you do, your in-class performance will improve. Do remember to tailor these recommendations to your specific situation, and experiment with new ways of doing things.
Use More Effective Study Tactics Than Cramming
Cramming is a terrible way to study. Cramming involves trying to learn a large amount of information in a short amount of time. There’s a saying that “cramming is like drinking water from a fire hose.” The word “cramming” means to fill something to the maximum or to push something in as tightly as possible.
A better studying alternative to cramming would be to study in short bursts with breaks in between. Research has shown that it’s best to study for bursts of no more than 20-30 minutes at a time before taking a short break. Don’t think that’s enough for everything on your plate? Make sure you know when those deadlines are. Schedule study time into your daily calendar. Leave enough room to cover all the material before your deadline.
Pick a Good Learning Environment
The environment that you’re in can make a huge difference to your ability to concentrate and to your ability to learn. If you’re in a noisy environment, if you’re in a place where people keep coming up to you and distracting you, then it’s going to be really difficult for you to concentrate.
The best environment for study is the one that’s most conducive to your learning style. If you’re a hands-on learner, then you would probably benefit from studying in an environment that’s more tactile and hands-on, like a classroom or a lab.
Research has also shown that students who play music during their study sessions tend to have higher grades than students who don’t. In one study, students who listened to music they liked during study sessions had an average GPA of 3.41 whereas students who didn’t listen to music had an average GPA of 3.20.
Of course, that comes with one big asterisk. Not just any type of music will do, really. You want something that doesn’t have a lot of lyrics. Something that won’t draw your attention away from words and concepts that you need to be learning. So, choose wisely.
Final Considerations for How to Become a Better Student
In summation, you are not without options if you want to become a better student. In fact, there’s really no shortage. Before we leave you to the comments section, let’s review and throw in a few more for safekeeping. Make sure all of the following are part of your routine:
- Getting the recommended amount of sleep
- Exercising most every day
- Eating good foods and avoiding junk foods
- Keeping a clean living space/work environment
- Using lighting (and sunlight) to your advantage
- Scheduling out everything
- Ask questions when you don’t understand something
- Avoiding procrastination on assignments
- Take notes
- Use creative study hacks for remembering difficult information or concepts
- Do a daily to-do list
- Make class, study, and homework three must-have items on your to-do list every day
Above all, you want to realize the power that comes with learning. Learning means employment. Learning means advancement. Learning means being in control of your destiny and building the life you want.
Now it’s your turn, readers. What are some areas you think you could improve on to become a better student? Sound off in the comments section below.
[Featured Image by Pixabay, Creative Commons License]