11 steps to student success: ways to improve your study efficiency
Contrary to what we have always thought, a good student is not only measured by their evaluations and final grades. Good students are those who feel and develop a taste for learning. Constantly asking questions and being curious about the world is a quality that, together with a series of study habits, allows you to achieve optimum performance.
Many students worldwide feel frustrated because they do not achieve the academic results they expect. Despite the effort or time spent studying, the problem may lie elsewhere.
The reality is that most students do not have good study and organization habits that allow them to study more efficiently. For this reason, this article will focus on 11 keys that will allow you to boost your study skills to the maximum.
1. Find your ideal way of learning
The first tip for being a better student is to understand that not everyone learns in the same way. Some people understand an idea better if they visualize it, write it down or listen to it. Also, we do not all have the same level of retention. So, the first step is to find out how we understand content more easily.
To begin this research, try to remember which techniques have made it easier for you to study, generating better results. Perhaps some people learn more by elaborating on diagrams or through images. In that case, it is best to opt for summaries, mind maps, concept maps, colors, drawings, etc. In this way, some visual stimulus will be present.
On the other hand, if you are a more auditory person, you can choose to record yourself or look for videos on the subject you want to learn. This type of person may also find it helpful to study in a group or explain the content to someone else.
2. Set up a suitable study space
No matter how comfortable your bed or couch may seem, it is not the best place to study. You will spend a lot of time in an unsuitable posture, and you will constantly feel sleepy. In addition, it has been shown that working or studying in bed can lead to insomnia. The bed and the sofa are places of rest, and if you associate them with activity, it will be more difficult to reconnect them with their original purpose.
Choose a place where you can be comfortable but not comfortable enough to be distracted by anything. Also, make sure it is tidy and simple. Places with too much clutter and too many stimuli can make you anxious. “How am I supposed to write my essays in this mess?” – this thought will haunt you all the time if you pick a wrong place, so be careful with your choice.
3. Keep your gadgets as far away as possible
People are more productive when they don’t have access to their mobile or email. If you lose your attention quickly and feel the need to look at who has written to you, it is best to switch off your mobile. Keep your device in another room or in a backpack to make distraction more difficult.
That way, you know that if you want to check your networks, you’ll have to go and get it, turn it on, etc. The idea is to send a message to your brain that you won’t be wasting seconds checking your phone but much more time.
4. Organize your homework and deadlines
No study method will work if you don’t keep your assignments in order. Even if you find the perfect technique, finding out the day before an exam will result in very little preparation. Ideally, you should have a calendar to write down:
- Homework due dates.
- Final exams
- Study schedules per week, keeping track of how much time you spend each day studying.
- Extraordinary events that may influence your study, e.g., travel, birthdays, family reunions, etc.
This information will help you set daily deadlines and goals. The reward of this work is that you will not be overwhelmed or work under pressure. Once you experience the benefits of getting ahead and keeping things on track, you will be grateful for all the sacrifices of following an orderly study schedule.
5. Start with the most difficult tasks
Start your study day with the subjects that are most difficult for you. You should know that the first moments of study concentrate your greatest attention span. After a few hours, you will lose concentration. Ideally, take advantage of the time when your mind is at 100% to solve complex tasks, leaving the rest of your energy for the easier ones.
6. Reward yourself for your progress
Beyond getting a good grade to reward yourself for your effort, the best thing to do is recognize your achievements. Once you get through your study schedule, reward yourself at the end of the day. This can be through an activity you enjoy, a sweet treat, watching a movie, etc. Also, remember that you will enjoy the reward much more when you have finished your work than when you have tasks left to do.
7. Do a quick review before a class
Don’t underestimate the power of 15 minutes of review before a class. The night before a class, take the time to read a little bit about what you’ve seen over the past few days. This little review will allow you to go into class with more interest and perhaps some thoughts to discuss.
If you come to class without remembering the last thing you have seen, your brain will have to work twice as hard. It will have to make an effort to put itself in context while the teacher is explaining new content.
8. Avoid skipping lectures
One of the golden rules for being a good student is to attend classes. While it is true that there are contingencies that force you to miss classes, try to attend as many as you can. Remember that if you miss a class, you must find someone who has taken notes, copy them, read them, understand them on your own and finally study them for the exam.
When you attend classes face-to-face, you are spared many of these steps. One quality that determines how to be a good student is to make the most of your class time. Pay close attention, take notes and clarify any doubts that arise. If you pay attention to the class when you study, you will see that the content is very familiar, and you only have to go over it.
9. Take breaks while studying
It is important to take short breaks during a study day to refresh your thoughts. Ideally, you should take a maximum of 5 minutes between each hour of study. These short breaks will help you settle down and reflect on the information you are receiving. However, resting does not mean logging on to social media but disconnecting from all mental effort.
During these periods, you can eat a snack, drink water, stretch your muscles, etc. If the subject matter is complicated, try to schedule the break at a time when you have finished the exercise or lesson. It is not advisable to take a break in the middle of an unresolved issue.
10. Get a good night’s sleep
When we study, we often think we have more time than is available. When we realize that we are not doing as well as expected, we sacrifice hours of sleep. Staying awake before a final exam or a highly complex test is one of the most common habits among students. However, it is unnecessary and detrimental to being a good student.
Rest is as important as studying because it is when the body and mind process the ideas learned. In addition, during sleep, you recover the energy you will need the next morning to concentrate and access information. It is best to get at least 8 hours of sleep to give your body enough rest.
11. If you have a question, don’t keep it!
We often avoid asking questions to the teacher out of embarrassment or because we think it is a pointless doubt. However, if you hold back from asking, you restrict your curiosity to learn. There will come a time when you will stop asking questions because you won’t solve any of them, and that’s when you stop being a good student.
When a doubt arises, ask the teacher, as going on the internet is not always reliable. Also, remember that these are people who work to teach others. If you mastered the content perfectly, you wouldn’t need a teacher. Think that clarifying your doubts frees you from the stress of dealing with content you don’t understand and wasting more time when preparing for the exam.