5 study habits to adopt

5 study habits to adopt

The idea of tests and examinations can be daunting and is oftentimes a source of dread and fear for many students. However, these can be avoided with adequate preparation. Studying is inevitable in order to do well academically, as such, it is also ideal that we fully maximise the time that we do spend studying. Below are some useful study habits that can aid you in studying more effectively.

1. Timetabling

Create a timetable that details the outline of your week, and ensure that you allocate blocks of time to every subject that you take. This is to ensure that none of your subjects are neglected, and that a sufficient amount of time is spent on them per week. Do remember to consider the time you may take to travel from place to place, and to also include time for meals and breaks. Your timetable should be one that is practical and sustainable, meaning that it is one that you can keep up with in the long run.

It will also be useful to be specific about which topics should be covered each week leading up to your examinations. Thus, what topics to cover each week should be planned in advance as well, so as to ensure that all the content that will be tested can be covered before the examination itself.

2. Scaffolding

Scaffolding refers to a structure, which basically means having a an outline of the learning objectives for each chapter or topic. These are usually provided by teachers or are written at the start of each chapter in textbooks. However, if you are unsure, do ask your teachers! These are basically the essential concepts or formulas that you must know for your examinations.

These brief outlines need not be so detailed as you will cover them later on when during your revision. Essentially, the outlines act as a sort of checklist to ensure that you know and understand the key concepts that are being taught in each chapter.

3. Note-taking

Taking notes can help you take in and remember material better. Taking notes as your teacher goes through content in class helps you actively pay attention, as well as interact with whatever is being taught. Later on, as you go back and revise the lesson, you can always add on to your notes with whatever you have missed out from the textbooks or handouts that your teacher may have given. Research has actually shown that the number of notes taken is actually related to how much information is retained (Nye, Crookes, Powley & Tripp, 1984).

So, take notes! It is bound to come in useful, especially for subjects that may be more content heavy. It is also important to remember properly organise your notes so that you can easily locate whatever information you need as your prepare for your examinations later on.

Some examples of note-taking strategies that have been widely adopted include the outline method, the cornell method etc. Notes can come in the form of mindmaps as well. Each note-taking style has its pros and cons, with some preferring one over the other. Do your research and don’t be afraid to try out the different styles before figuring out which one works best for you. Some people don’t even stick to only one style, and use different strategies depending on the subject being studied.

4. Collaborative studying

Studying in groups builds a positive environment for information exchange, and gives you the opportunity to build on each others views and ideas as well. Besides expanding your access to information, you enhance your own understanding of the topic when you teach it to your friends as well. As you review the content over and over, you will definitely be able to remember it better.

Studying with friends also helps to keep you accountable as you wouldn’t want to be a distraction to them. You can help keep each other in check to make sure that you guys are on track and spur each other on to a greater success.

However, this method may not be effective for everybody. For some, studying alone may be a better option as group study sessions may quickly turn into chit chat sessions. So know the environment in which is the most conducive for you, whether it is studying with friends, or studying solo.

5. Make use of resources available

Lastly, make use of resources available. As in the point mentioned above, ask your friends when you need help. If you don’t understand something, don’t simply sweep it under the carpet. You have your peers, your teachers, the internet. Make use of them and don’t be afraid of looking stupid. Ultimately, all of you are there to learn and do well for your examinations. That wasted mark will not be worth it. Make use of what you have and don’t be afraid to ask questions. 


Nye, P., Crooks, T., Powley, M., & Tripp, G. (1984). Student Note-Taking Related to University Examination Performance. Higher Education, 13(1), 85-97. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/3446680

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