Many students work hard to get good grades and study effectively, but some do so “incorrectly.” There are many bad study habits that could hinder your efforts, and it’s important to identify and break them as soon as possible.
In this post, I’ve listed 7 bad study habits you should break now, as well as how you could build a better habit to become a better student. Let’s get right into the tips!
Not Making To-Do Lists
If you’re going into a study session without a plan or to-do list regarding what you’re going to study, you’re not properly maximizing your time.
I usually start working on homework assignments as soon as school is over; but before I actually start, I review the day’s classes and make a list of the assignments I have to do.
It’s also helpful to prioritize (I will teach you how later in the post) so you can efficiently finish your homework. I usually do this on my laptop with digital sticky notes (like the image below), but you can also use a physical planner and to-do lists.
Making lists and setting goals doesn’t just apply to homework, though. Whenever you’re having a study session or attending a lecture, come prepared! Always preview the work beforehand and make a to-do list of important things you’ll learn or will go over.
Writing to-do lists will help you organize your tasks while studying, and is a great study habit to build to effectively tackle your busy study life.
Prioritizing comes hand in hand with making to-do lists, and it’s key to studying productively without feeling burnt out.
Once you’ve got your to-do list written out, analyze each task and determined which are the most important and urgent. These could be based on a variety of factors, like:
- Due date
- Time it will take to complete
- Percentage of your grade
- Whether you’ll be collaborating with someone
Once you’ve ranked each task on your to-do list (don’t worry, it will become easier as you do this more often), you can get to work with a sense of purpose and structure.
Having structure has always been one of my top study habits and has helped me stay productive, and I hope you’ll try it as well!
Having Your Phone Near
Your phone is likely your biggest distraction while studying. It just holds so many interesting things, especially social media and entertainment. These will distract you and cause you to procrastinate or multitask while studying, both terrible study habits.
It’s not easy to break your phone addiction completely, but physically keeping your phone away can definitely help. When your phone is in another room, you won’t be exposed to constant notifications and will then stay focused and productive while studying.
However, if you find extreme difficulty in separating from your phone, you can begin by turning off social media notifications. Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, etc. can be hard to quit once you open them, so avoid doing so in the first place by turning off notifications.
YOU’LL LOVE THIS POST: How To Break Your Phone Addiction In 5 Steps
Looking & Not Seeing
I used to take notes by reading the textbook and copying down whatever I thought was important. I highlighted terms, underlined names, drew some pictures… but the entire time, I didn’t really understand what was going on.
Whenever you’re taking notes, annotating a document, reading an essay, or learning something new in general, actively see and understand, not just look and accept.
This means that you should think about what you’re learning, pose questions to yourself and/or the teacher, make connections with your previous knowledge, and overall put thought into what you’re learning.
Just looking and not seeing is a study habit you should quit immediately, as it is a complete waste of time and effort on your part. Only when you actively use your brain to understand and form connections will the information stick.
Studying In Bed
As I mentioned in one of my posts, How To Set Up Your Desk For Maximum Productivity, one of the worst study habits you can have is to study in bed.
Your bed is where your body associates with rest and play, and your mind will not be focused enough for you to study productively and effectively. Therefore, what you should do is to study in a designated study space like your desk.
However, it’s important to note that you should only study at your desk as well, and not watch movies, go on your phone, etc. Only when you clearly separate spaces for work/rest will your body and mind make the same associations.
So get up and off your bed and move to a desk or table the next time you’re studying, then jump back when you want to rest; be sure to make this a habit!
Procrastination is one of the most common bad study habits students have. When you get intimidated by your work or distracted by something fun, you often end up procrastinating for more than you intended.
But it’s not impossible to beat procrastination! One of the best tips I have is to plan ahead and break things down. Similar to making to-do lists, doing these 2 things will give you structure and actionable steps, which will make everything seem easier.
If you’d like to learn the exact steps you should follow to stop procrastinating, check out this post:
Relying On The Textbook
The last bad study habit that many students don’t realize is their complete dependence on the textbook. No textbook is perfectly exhaustive and comprehensible, so it’s important to utilize outside resources as well.
Though reading the textbook can be of great help, you sometimes need more information (or simply more opinions) to fully comprehend something. Therefore, a good habit to build would be to search around more.
Here are some resources you can use other than the textbook to learn about a certain topic:
- Your teacher or classmates
- Wikipedia (great for people and historical events)
- Britannica (great for people, concepts/ideas, and events)
- YouTube (best for math and science concepts)
- Quora (best for abstract/opinion-based ideas)
Once you break these 7 bad study habits, you’ll be ready to become a better student and tackle your studies with no trouble. Leave a comment with your BEST study habit or tip!
And if you’re looking for more study tips, here are a few related posts:
- The Ultimate Guide To Studying From Home
- The Easiest Way To Maximize Your Next Study Session
- 8 Daily Habits To Build To Become A Top Student