7 Habits To Help You Become A Better Student

7 Habits To Help You Become A Better Student

Do you know the saying: habit is second nature? Well, this simply means that what you regularly do has a way of shaping who you become. Therefore, developing positive student habits will definitely have positive effects on your academic life. This will make you a better student and help you to improve your overall performance.

Fortunately, there are techniques and tools you can use to become a better student. We have put together a list of student habits you can develop to help you study effectively and become a better student. 

1. The Habit Of Setting SMART Goals

Having goals can help you stay focused on your work. Without a goal, you may find that you struggle to stay motivated. That’s why setting goals and writing them down is one of the most important student habits. Once you write them down, you can start thinking about the steps you need to take to achieve them.

There are two types of goals, long-term and short-term. Long-term goals take a lot more time (usually a year or more) and effort to achieve while short-term goals can be achieved much sooner.

When you set a goal, long or short-term, it should be SMART. An example of a SMART goal would be: “Moving up a grade in Maths by the end of the next school term with the help of a tutor.” It’s specific, it can be measured in terms of progress, it’s achievable and relevant to your education and there is a set amount of time to achieve it.

But you are probably wondering what makes a goal SMART? It has to be: 

  • Specific – it should be clear what you want to achieve, what you’ll need to do and how you will need to work towards achieving it (e.g., moving up a grade in maths)
  • Measurable – goals should be something that you can track your progress on over time so that you know how far or close you are to achieving it (e.g., going from a C to a B is something you can measure)
  • Achievable – make sure your goal is realistic and that you can take the steps needed to achieve it  (e.g., you can improve your grade by getting online tutoring in maths or watching tutorials on concepts you need help with)
  • Relevant – your goals should align with your hobbies, career choice or education aspirations (e.g., maths is a subject you take at school and you have to pass maths each year)
  • Time-bound – you should assign a specific amount of time to achieve a goal and work to complete it in that time (e.g., the end of next school term)

2. The Habit Of Time Management 

Another beneficial student habit is time management. Many students believe they don’t have enough time to have a healthy social life and achieve the grades they want.  However, most students waste a lot of time engaging in what is known as “pseudo-working” where they work at a low intensity for a long time and their concentration continuously drops. This can occur for many reasons such as sleep deprivation, or working in a distracting environment e.g., with the TV playing in the background.

Late-night cramming sessions filled with countless cups of coffee are not the answer to academic success! It is better to use your time to work in short highly intense sessions. Our optimal learning period is no longer than 50 minutes. Managing your time effectively will ensure that you allot enough time for each of your tasks. This will allow you to be more productive. 

Now, time management is a habit that is learned and, over time, strengthened. So don’t be disheartened if you created a colourful timetable, making sure to include work time and breaks, only to find that you’ve given yourself too much or too little time to complete a task. The most important thing with time management is consistency! If you’re consistently working on being more effective with your time, you will build up this student habit and eventually become a pro! Just keep trying, and you will learn along the way!

3. The Habit Of Planning 

One of the most effective ways to study is to plan your study sessions. Planning is another effective student habit that can be done in many different ways. The way you choose to do it depends on what’s easiest and works best for you. You can plan in a notebook, a daily planner, or a diary. The most important thing is that it’s clear and easy to follow, so you don’t feel overwhelmed. 

To start, you should make sure that all your tasks for the day are scheduled at a good time. For example, tasks that need more effort or are a bit more challenging can be scheduled earlier in the day. By so doing,  you’ll be sure you have the time and energy to dedicate to them. Also, remember to schedule regular breaks leaving room for flexibility in case you get a new assignment or need more time to work on something.

4. The Habit Of Prioritising

Many pupils think that multitasking is a necessary student habit because they can get more things done at a faster rate. While this may be true sometimes, multitasking can force your mind to constantly switch its focus between different things which affects your productivity and quality of work. It can also stress you out trying to finish different things at the same time.

To avoid this it’s better to focus on one thing at a time. You can do this by prioritising your tasks. The main goal of prioritising is to make sure that you complete your tasks according to their urgency and importance. This is possible when you plan your days and manage your time. When you prioritise and focus, you can put your effort into understanding what you’re currently doing and doing it well. You’ll also be less frazzled trying to complete one task rather than many. 

A good place to start would be to list all the tasks that need to be completed for the day. The next step would be to make a note of any deadlines and when they are. Next, you should identify which of the tasks without deadlines are going to need a lot of time to work on. Once you do this, you’ll be able to organise everything into a list that goes from most important to least. Of course, you need to work on important tasks first, to ensure that you complete them on time.

5. The Habit Of Minimising Distractions 

This point speaks for itself in a way. We all know that distractions won’t help get anything done and will have the opposite effect. You must get into the habit of getting rid of any distractions before you get to work on your tasks. 

Let’s start with your biggest distraction: your phone. You know how the saying goes: Out of sight, out of mind? Well, it’s true. It’s best to turn it off completely and make sure to put it somewhere that is out of reach. While it may be difficult when you’re starting work, once you get into the groove, you won’t even notice that your phone isn’t nearby! If you need it to do research or to ask your friend which page today’s homework is on, make sure to do that ahead of time by planning and managing your time wisely, or try using an alternative such as email.

You can also try to work in a quiet space that is away from the TV, radio, or anything that could distract you. Also, remind anyone who is in the house with you that you will be busy so that they don’t disturb you as well.

Keep some snacks and water nearby. Having it ready means you don’t have to stop working, get up and go to the kitchen to get any. It’s always possible you might also get distracted on your way there and back.

6. The Habit Of Taking High-quality Impactful Notes

Even the best pupils can be a little forgetful at times. Some pupils may think that certain classes don’t need notes, but they all do! You can even take notes in your Maths class. Writing down an explanation of your steps during calculations will help you understand why you’re taking those steps.  That’s why it’s a great idea to take as many notes in class as you can. 

Note-taking is one of the oldest student habits and effective ways to study. It has many benefits such as keeping you alert during classes, helping you engage your mind, and having something you can easily refer back to when you don’t remember. Notes also help you to retain information and they can make studying by yourself a breeze. 

Figuring certain things out on your own can be fulfilling, especially because there is a sense of accomplishment that comes along with it. However, it’s also good to ask questions in class whenever you can and take notes on the answers your teacher gives you. If you feel you are more of an introverted type of person and you prefer not to speak in front of your whole class, that’s ok! Most teachers are available to speak after class. This would be a great time for you to ask all the questions you need to. 

7. The Habit Of Self-care

It’s a good student habit to be prioritising your work and studies.  As long as you’re still remembering to take care of yourself by getting enough sleep, eating healthy, exercising and drinking enough water. 

Research by the National Sleep Foundation has shown that teens need between 8 and 10 hours of sleep per night for optimum brain development. So the brain can’t function properly without enough sleep! To avoid this, it’s a good idea to set a cut-off time for work at night so you can get enough sleep. You can always adjust your plan for the next day to catch up on what you couldn’t finish. 

It is tempting during times of high stress such as exams to work late into the night or add more hours to your study sessions. But this is not a healthy student habit and can lead to burnout and breakdowns. You can read our blog on how to prevent burnout to find out more about this. 

Eating healthy and staying hydrated is just as important for your brain and body as sleep is. You must be drinking 8 glasses of water per day. If this doesn’t work as well for you, you could get a 2-litre-sized water bottle, fill it and sip on it throughout the day instead. 

It’s also important that you try not to skip meals, especially breakfast. It really is the most important meal of the day because it’s the first meal your body gets after sleeping! Last but not least, try to cut down on sugary and oily foods. Research by Brainscape shows that eating sugary foods can slow down your brain and lead to other long-term health issues.

Another important self-care habit to remember is to get up and get moving! Exercise is a great way to keep your mind and body active. Especially when you’re spending most of your time at a desk! Remember to walk around and stretch your legs when you take breaks from assignments and studying.

These are just some of the most effective student habits. By getting yourself into these habits, you’ll be able to improve as a student easily! Adopting these habits might take some time. But once you do, you’ll see a positive change in your work, your attitude, and in life!

We hope you found the points in this blog helpful! You can find more student habits for success in education and beyond through our webinar: Discover the 9 Scholar Success Habits.

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