5 Study Habits You Should Ditch in the New Year

How many times have you sat down to study for a class or exam and found yourself wasting time on social media sites or responding to emails? Or maybe you’ve turned up the volume on your favorite pop song and forgotten all about the formulas you were supposed to be memorizing for tomorrow’s pop quiz? There are way too many study habits that students fall into that can ultimately hinder their overall progress in a class. That’s why we have decided to share with you five common study habits that you should kiss goodbye this year.

Trying to memorize everything. There are a few topics that call for memorization in order to pass a test — however most subjects do not. In fact, memorizing a lot of information in a short amount of time, commonly known as “cramming”, can negatively impact your long-term memory. Instead of procrastinating and rushing to learn new information, give yourself enough time to fully comprehend what you have learned. You should be able to clearly explain what you have learned with someone who is not familiar with the information and have them fully understand.

Imbalanced group study sessions. Have you ever gotten together with a group of people to study and looked up at the time to see that you’ve spent more than 30 minutes complaining about a professor or your latest tuition bill? Study groups that are not guided or focused will delay the amount of time that you actually have to be effective. Also, being in study groups where there are a lot of people who are co-dependent on others to learn can suck up valuable time. Try not to study with friends to lessen your chances of socializing; work with people who can independently get their work done in order to increase the productivity of your study group.

Studying without a break. There may be times that you feel like powering through a work session and treating it like a marathon (you don’t stop until it’s finished). However, not taking breaks and allowing your brain to rest may lead you to intake information that you can no longer retain. You may also find yourself “scanning” your texts and not fully comprehending what you have read when you are done. When you find yourself getting weak, hungry, or failing to remember pertinent information, then be sure to take at least a 5 to 10 minute break.

Multitasking your life away. Do you find yourself with 10 tabs open on your browser when you’re supposed to be studying? If your email, Facebook page, and PDFs of your textbook are open while you are texting your friends to schedule a meeting, then you will be constantly distracted and unable to focus on studying.  Multitasking is actually one of the most ineffective ways to get many things done. Before sitting down to study, make sure you knock out any tasks that are extremely urgent or may become bothersome. Save lower-priority items for after your study session.

Using different colored markers to highlight information. It may seem effective to highlight different concepts in different colors, but there are many ways in which this could end up being a huge studying fail. For one, you could mix up your markers while highlighting and then place the wrong information under the wrong category. More importantly, your brain won’t be able to register all the different colors that you are attempting to assign to various concepts.  Simply use one marker to highlight the most important points in your text. If you must use different items, then consider underlining certain information with a pencil in addition to highlighting.

What study habits are you ditching this year?