Developing Good Study Habits to Enhance Your Learning
- Jan 09, 2015
Shooting hoops was one of the stress-busters I used to love practicing in school. I remember giving our school’s basketball coach, Rocky Sir a pretty hard time convincing me to enroll in the team. No matter what he said, I never budged. I played basketball because of the love I had for it, I didn’t want to compete or show off. The lights in the basketball court stayed dim when I played and nobody dared change that routine. It was where I could escape after a long day. So I stayed back for an hour almost everyday and shot hoops to my heart’s content, alone. But my parents didn’t like the way it butted into my time for studies. I don’t blame them, they probably were right. In fact, I don’t remember being a studious person in school. But the basketball session cleared my head of all distraction and allowed for quite a spacious room for studies every evening.
My point here is, even though the above chunk of my life could seem a bit cliché, but basketball enabled the development of my good study habits. Understanding the topics and getting good marks are the bottom-line, but getting to it, is what matters. And good study habits is what you need to look into, for this journey.
School is the time when we all try to discover exclusivity in the things we do. It’s where we try new things even though we are restricted within the boundaries. While you are still working on your ‘cliché’, here are a few more ideas for you to consider to improve your studying habits.
Getting warmed up
Let me present to you the concept of critical reading first. Even though the term might seem misleading, it actually implies questioning and analyzing your text. So the next time you read the Newton’s laws, don’t just linger on what has been printed in the book, but question it. Do you think it answers the bicycle skid wound that’s still fresh on your knee? Or, does that lead to a different conclusion altogether?
Let me tell you a little incident at this point. Binomial theorem was not my forte in school. Some of you could be rolling your eyes to that, but I was stubborn. I developed an aversion and made it a point to skip the pages that contained the chapter. And I skipped it in my exam too. Then I went to college and one day I realized I have been applying the very same theorem to get to a number of Mathematical solutions since quite some time. I was actually working out problems employing the Binomial theorem! Here’s what happened. My honorably cunning Math Sir slipped in the guidelines of the chapter while helping me out with a different one and I never even realized till that day in college. For all those students who have not been as lucky to have been acquainted with my Sir, here is a tip. Skipping the pages containing the difficult chapter is not a solution, dealing with it is.
Memorization is important, even though it might seem dull. If you can’t remember, you can’t write and if you can’t write, you could spoil your exam performance. Chalking out mind maps, practicing, reading thoroughly instead of just skimming, among others could help you with memorizing.
Also, do you homework. Your dog cannot be eating it up everyday.
Take notes in class and read ahead
Doodling was a favorite past time for my best friend. And one day a crazy thing happened in school. She was indulging in it in a boring History class and the teacher somehow got wind of something suspicious happening. She walked up to her, who was oblivious to all the nudges from her neighbors, and everybody was awaiting a reprimand with baited breath. Instead, she just stood there admiring. At this point I should tell you that our History Ma’am was an intimidating art enthusiast, connoisseur and collector. This was probably what saved my best friend a detention.
The teacher includes loads of points while dealing with a concept in the classroom, some of which might not be included in the book. Taking them down could prove to be highly beneficial for you to understand a few points when you are revising later on. Here I come to another nice idea. You can go through the chapter that the teacher has scheduled to teach in the next class, the night before. You don’t need to understand everything, but just have a rough idea of what the next class is going to be about. How will this help?
You would not be the dumb one in class who has no clue of what is going on.
This would make taking notes easier, since you would be able to skip the parts that is already present in the book and focus on the part that isn’t.
Your doubts will not anymore need to be pushed back till the day your teacher gets some free time. You could present them right when he goes “Any question?”
Develop a schedule
Even though the school schedule, extra-curricular activities, group studies, personal time and so much more have been eating into your day, you seriously need to sit down and prioritize your time. Think of whether the swimming practice could be cut down by half an hour for your group study sessions and if that could squeeze in some more time for the organic chemistry equations that you have been having problems with. Chalk out a schedule for your studies and you could go here to learn how to go about it. Why would you do this? So that you can scratch Coco’s sweet puppy head for an extra 5 minutes without having to worry about compromising on your exam preparation time. And treat yourself to that yummy cheesecake you have meaning to for quite some time if you scored an ‘A’ in Chemistry.
Form a study group
Invite your friends over and turn the next horror-film-invaded sleepover into an educational one. Find time for them in your study schedule, reduce the chatter and include more studies and discussions of the topics you all agree on. You can vote on what you want to study in your next session. You can hang out with your study group in the school library or the reasonable cafe around the corner, but do not miss a chance to tackle the difficulties you have been facing. Dealt in groups, the problems turn up with the solutions quicker than you ever imagined.
Learn from your mistakes
This brings me to my penultimate advice, don’t let the roadblocks pull you down. You are bound to commit the stupidest mistakes in life which might affect your progress considerably, but those failures are actually the numerous ways which you ought not to go about while dealing with those situations. Try not repeating those and you are good to go. Watch this amazing TED talk to get inspired.
Relax, the world isn’t ending
Even though some might eagerly await an apocalypse to cover up for the blunders, here’s a reality check, that’s not happening anytime soon. The real apocalypse could be a ‘C’ in the paper or worse an ‘F’. Panicking won’t stop that from happening if you are not prepared for the test. So accomplish all of the above and relax. You are not expected to be a robot. If insomnia has been catching on with the excess stress in your studies, you could try out midnight power walks, trust me, it makes great memories. You could put in some time and go bookstore hunting, which is one of the reasons I have been getting lost frequently, but it is totally worth it. My best friend goes dessert shop hunting. We make a pretty decent team. If that doesn’t suit you, then you could indulge in social activities, go out on a limb to click the perfect shot you have been meaning to among several other activities.
This is where we wrap up, but I’m feeling a little more generous today and I would let you in on a bonus tip. Whenever you come across a difficult word which you have never heard of before, take note of that, find out the meaning, understand the application and try to retain that in your memory. The next time you are asked to write an essay in class why don’t you surprise your teacher with the improved vocabulary you have been cultivating since quite some time now.
Some of the habits could be easier to implement than others. But you need to keep in mind that the ones discussed here have been tested and tried successfully and would work wonders for you too.
Can you think up some other habits that have worked for you? We would love to hear about them in the comments section.
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