Happy 2020! As of this month, we’re officially in a new decade – and, wow, doesn’t it feel promising? Maybe it’s all of the new resolutions floating around, but there’s something especially optimistic in the air around this time of year. It’s an electric feeling that leaves you feeling re-energized and makes you want to rethink your dreams and goals for the year ahead, and the several that will follow it.
So, what better time to evaluate your study habits than…well, right this second? As a college student just starting your spring semester, there’s probably some room for improvement when it comes to how you’re currently knocking out those course assignments, tests, and projects. Even if you pride yourself on being an A-plus studier, you must admit that your Hulu habit can interfere with your valuable study time – but, hey, we won’t judge!
The reality is that learning how to effectively study is an ongoing process, and one that can become personal, too, as you come to understand which tips and tricks work best for your learning style. On that note, uCribs is here to help you whip your study habits into shape and say, “thank u…next!” to these 6 study faux pas! Leave those bad boys in 2019 with our helpful tips on conquering all things academic in 2020.
#6: Taking insufficient notes in class.
Studying without having adequate notes to rely upon is like rowing upstream without a paddle. Okay, that simile might be a little overdramatic, but our point still stands. Successful studying begins in the classroom, where the magic happens – and by magic, we mean learning. During your lecture period, you’re best equipped with the people and tools necessary to fully comprehend the material before applying your learned knowledge to a homework assignment, presentation, or group project. That’s why it’s vital that you begin your study session with clear, well-organized notes from that important lecture we were just talking about – regardless of whether your test is in two weeks or two months. Get in the habit of taking awesome notes now, and you’ll thank yourself once crunch time is in full-effect.
#5: Choosing the wrong study buddy or group.
You know that saying, “you are who you hang out with?” You only heard your mom say it about a million times, right? Well, when it comes to studying, the folks here at uCribs take this sentiment seriously. We’re all for having a diverse group of college friends – and it’s perfectly okay if some are less preoccupied with their GPAs than others. However, if you’ve been studying—or neglecting it altogether— alongside the same friends night after night, and your grades aren’t as high as you’d like them to be, consider how your study environment might be derailing your efforts. Yes, this may mean saying goodbye to that study buddy, who’s always distracting you with hilarious jokes and off-kilter antics, but ultimately, it’s all about finding the right study buddy or group, with the same discipline, dedication, and end-goals as you.
#4: Allowing yourself to be distracted.
Sometimes, it’s not people who distract you from studying, but things—you know, like social media and TV/movie streaming platforms. Sure, studying is more fun when you’ve got your favorite show queued up on Netflix and your Facebook feed open in a separate browser tab. But, cramming your study space with diversions can spell disaster for your final grade. In fact, research conducted by Stanford University shows that “media multitaskers” – or those who take in multiple streams of information at once, whether from your TV, social media, text messages, or emails – perform worse on memory tasks than those who focus on one task at a time. We’ll save you all the nitty gritty details, but just know that when it comes to studying, every distraction poses a great risk!
#3: Failing to ask for help.
Have you ever began studying your course material, only to realize that you lack a basic understanding of it? Just like our point on adequate note-taking, asking for help in comprehending study material is imperative if you hope to pass a course with flying colors – or at all. For most of us, this is easier said than done, though. So, slip this study resolution into your agenda by asking more questions in class, and when confusion strikes, be proactive and schedule one-on-one time with your professor or TA. They’ll be glad that you asked for clarification before the 11th hour, and you’re sure to come away from the meeting with a better grasp of the material. Plus, a chat with your prof can do wonders for your anxiety! Now, that’s what we call a win-win!
#2: Practicing poor time management.
Time is money, and when you’re a college student, this couldn’t be more accurate – after all, you’re paying thousands of dollars to spend four years at your institution of choice and earn a degree for your efforts. That’s why it’s crucial that you practice time management, in an effort not to undermine the financial investment you’re making. Turn a blind eye to how you’re spending in-class time, free time, and study time, and you’ll exacerbate issues, like poor sleep quality, stress, and declining grades. You might even develop what’s known as “chronic procrastination,” which affects roughly 1 in 5 people and can stick around throughout your entire life. So, do your future self a solid, and get a hold of your less-than-stellar time management skills now, while you’re still forming lifelong habits.
#1: Studying for retention instead of understanding.
Imagine this: it’s the night before a huge test that could make or break your mid-semester grade. You’ve set aside time for studying, but you’ve also got several other assignments to complete before the night is through. So, in an effort to maximize productivity, you resort to yet another study habit to leave in 2019: studying solely to recall information, instead of genuinely learning the material—AKA “cramming.” According to one Columbia University study, students, who often rely upon cramming, experience more academic anxiety than students who refrain from the habit. A separate study by Arkansas State University found that students who crammed for an exam couldn’t recall the material mere days after the test. Clearly, relying upon quick fixes like cramming will only set you up for failure in the long run. After all, you still have the final exam to pass – and doing so will be so much easier if you replace so-called memory hacks with good, old-fashioned understanding.
Studying isn’t exactly a college student’s favorite pastime, but it is a necessary evil if you hope to graduate college with a good GPA and a rock-solid resume. Unfortunately, many college students fall victim to the same bad study habits year-in and year-out – but it doesn’t have to be this way! With some help from your pals at uCribs, you can make 2020 the year that you kick those bad study habits to the curb and replace them with ones that will carry you through college and beyond. Go get ‘em, tiger – we believe in you!