Do you want to boost your grades and achieve success in your studies? While there's no magic formula for becoming a perfect student, there are certain habits you can adopt that have been proven to improve academic performance.
7 Study Habits to Boost your Academic Performance
By taking account these following seven habits that many high-achieving students utilize, you too may see improvement in your own academic career. Whether you're a high school student struggling to keep up with the coursework, a college student looking to improve your GPA, or anyone in between, incorporating these habits into your daily routine, you'll start seeing improvements in your grades, your study habits, and even your overall well-being.
One day you are adding and subtracting, then suddenly, taking derivatives and integrals. Soon enough, from learning that atoms exist, you will be learning about the process of nuclear fission and fusion.
As school becomes harder, bad habits start to develop and success seems unattainable. Examples of bad habits include:
Not managing your assignments
Under preparing for exams
Failing to ask for help
Improvements are not just a said-and-done task—to improve any aspect of your life, you need to make reasonable changes over time.
Listed below are seven smart habits, with anecdotes from interviewed students.
**Anonymity will be upheld; all are high school juniors in rigorous courses.**
Habit #1: Active Recall
This method refers to writing down a main idea and a corresponding explanation (without aid), verifying the answer, and correcting any mistakes. Rather than simply rereading the textbook or notes, this strategy demands active thinking, just like how an exam would.
“Before the AP European History exam last year, I would use active recall to make sure I got down all of the key concepts. For example, I would write down the English Civil War and then any information I remembered about it; surprisingly, the DBQ (document-based question) on the actual exam was on this topic.” – Student A
Need tips for better memory? Read our blog on How to Improve Your Memory.
Habit #2: Solve, then Seek
Intelligent learners have a growth mindset: the mentality that one can improve with dedication and hard work. They recognize that it is important to ask questions about what is difficult to grasp. However, before seeking help, they first try to solve their problems.
To solve, you can reexamine class notes or textbooks and watch online tutorials. In the end, you can always seek help from teachers or peers.
“I use Khan Academy to study for AP Physics. Their explanations are really helpful. However, it’s still better having a teacher to clarify concepts, but I rarely have to.” - Student B
Habit #3: Organize
Often, students may fall behind in their studies because they lack organization and structure.
Using an agenda
Preparing your backpack the night before
Establishing a homework routine
Rather than rigidly planning out when you will do each homework assignment, set goals for yourself. Perhaps in one hour, you want to write two body paragraphs. If you don’t accomplish this goal, figure out if you can work faster or if you simply need more time writing.
If you already maximized your schedule, minute by minute, you will inevitably fall behind. Don’t constantly rework your schedule, but also, don’t be afraid to.
Struggling with SAT? Get tips from our blog on How to make a SAT Study Plan.
Habit #4: Avoid Cramming
Intelligent students prepare for exams in advance, allocating themselves time to study every day. Waiting for the deadline develops a lack of urgency.
There is no denying that cramming can work. However, in the long run, it is important to grasp core concepts at a profound level.
No, sleeping on your textbook does not let the information soak into your brain. I wish.
Habit #5: Spaced Repetition
Incorporate your study material every day (breaks are fine, of course). For example, with a test on Monday, study for an hour on Saturday, then thirty minutes on Sunday. Again, you want long-term memory for useful information, not “Great, I can now recite all of King Henry’s wives, but I have absolutely no idea his impact on English politics.”
“We have math exams every Thursday. On Tuesday, I’ll do some practice, usually with classwork. On Wednesday, I’ll do more practice, and during FLEX (homeroom) time before the math class, I review, but not for the entire time, so I don’t get stressed out” - Student A
Habit #6: Study Buddies
Find reliable friends that you can study with or get clarification. Discussing answers fosters critical thinking skills and active recall.
Writer’s Note: Before a test on a novel, my friends and I will go over the novel by reviewing key plot details, then major themes and any other broader ideas to prepare for any free response questions.
Habit #7: Mistakes are Welcome
Remember not to dwell on nor avoid any academic mistakes.
Growth is not linear; sometimes, you may be at a flatline on the curve to success.
Hence, believe in yourself and recognize your strengths. Use all the skills you have developed over years of schooling to help you grow as an intelligent learner.
Get inspired by these 4 Books About Success and Motivation that Every Student Needs.
Building good study habits takes time and effort. Perhaps after skimming this blog, you’ll go back to being a procrastinator. When you do begin studying, though, you start using active recall and not simply reading your textbook. That’s still an improvement, and you should be proud of yourself for that.
Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Take it one day at a time and keep moving forward. With perseverance and dedication, you can achieve your academic goals.
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