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Developing good habits

Study skills are individual-specific. What works for someone else might not work for you and vice versa. Importantly you need to practise and develop your own study skills over time. Only then can you increase awareness about how you study and become more confident.

According to The Washington Post, both researchers and experienced educators have found that all too often students don’t have good study habits and skills. Even worse they rely on strategies that don’t work, often at the urging of teachers and parents.

Says Henry Roediger III, a professor of psychology and brain science at Washington University in St. Louis and co-author of the book Make It Stick:

“It is somewhat shocking how many students just don’t know how to do it, which frustrates them and can turn them off to enjoying learning,”.

However, there are some general tips that will help you learn, whatever the situation. Below we provide 10 Top Tips to help you improve your own Study Skills.

Study Skills

  1. Find time to study – If you manage your time badly, inevitably you will be less productive than if you manage it well. This can lead to increased stress and anxiety levels, especially around exam time.
  2. Keep to a routine – Work in the same place at the same time each day. Also, make sure you have everything you need before you start.
  3. Work to your strengths – Schedule challenging tasks for when you are most alert, and routine ones for when you may be feeling more tired.
  4. Don’t waste time – Rather than reading irrelevant material, skim and scan to help you decide if you need to read something critically and in-depth.
  5. Avoid distractions – Related to above. Switch emails and social media off to prevent your mind wandering while trying to learn new information!
  6. Regularly review your notes – Edit out what you don’t need. Ask yourself the question: “Is this information is relevant to my assignment, and how does it relate to what I already know.”
  7. Vary how you to take notes – For example, use Mind Maps and diagrams to generate ideas and linear notes to focus your ideas for essay or report plans.
  8. Be critical – Make sure that you always add your own comment to every concept or quotation that you write down. Maintain a critical and analytical approach at all times!
  9. Plan your work – If writing an assignment produce a detailed plan before you start to write it. This will make the drafting process much less stressful
  10. Understand different styles  – By understanding different writing styles – such as academic, journal and journalistic styles – you can put what you read into perspective. In particular, you can become more aware of any particular bias.

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