Adapted from 10 Great Study Habits to Improve Your Performance by Grace Fleming, About.com Guide
1. Write Down your study plan
The most logical place to write down your plan is in a planner, but you might prefer to keep a to-do list in a simple notebook or in your cell phone note pad. It doesn't really matter what tool you use, but it is absolutely essential to your success to write down your plan.
2. Organize your study materials
Is there a special place where you always put your paperwork each night? Establish a strong study routine with a special place where you work each night. Then you must get in the habit of organizing your resources, whether this is in a special folder on your desk or in your backpack.
3. Communicate With the Course Director or Lecturer
Every successful relationship is built upon clear communication. A student-faculty relationship is no different. Be sure to ask questions and seek suggestions for how to study for a particular subject. The more questions you ask, the more prepared you'll be.
4. Organize With Color
Devise your own color-coding system to keep your notes and your thoughts organized. You may select a single color for each class (like Micro or Genetics) and use that color for your folder, your highlighters, your sticky notes, and your pens. You'll be surprised to discover how much strong organization skills can change your life!
5. Establish a Study Zone
Take the time to assess your individual style and your real needs and plan for the perfect study place. After all, if you can’t concentrate, you certainly can’t expect to learn very well. Some need a completely quiet room free from interruptions when they study, but others actually study better listening to quiet music in the background or taking several breaks.
Find a place to study that fits your specific personality and learning style. Then stock your study space with the resources that will help you avoid last-minute emergencies.
6. Prepare Yourself for Test Days
See other handouts on how to prepare for taking multiple-choice tests.
7. Know Your Dominant Learning Style
Many students will struggle in a subject without understanding why. Sometimes this is because students don't understand how to study in a way that matches their brain style. There are some assessments available through the School of Medicine to help you identify your learning style. One inventory helps you identify whether you are an auditory, visual, or kinesthetic learner. Auditory learners are those who learn best through hearing things. Visual learners retain more information when they use visual aids, and tactile learners benefit by using their hands, maybe walking, using a whiteboard. Every student should examine and evaluate their habits and their natural tendencies and decide how they might be able to improve their study habits by tapping into their personal strengths.
8. Take Fabulous Notes
There are a few tricks to taking fabulous notes that really help when it comes to studying. If you’re visual person, you should make as many doodles on your paper as you can. Useful doodles, that is. As soon as you realize that one topic relates to another, comes before another, is the opposite of another, or has any kind of connection to another—draw a picture that makes sense to you. Sometimes the information will not sink in until and unless you see it in an image.
There are also certain code words to look out for in a lecture that can indicate that your teacher is giving you the relevance or the context of an event. Learn to recognize key words and phrases that your teacher deems important.
9. Conquer Procrastination
When you put things off a lot, you end up putting things off until it's too late from time to time. It's that simple. When you procrastinate, you take the chance that nothing will go wrong at the last minute--but in the real world, things do go wrong.
So how can you battle the urge to put things off? Start with trying to recognize the feisty little voice that lives inside every one of us. It tells us it would be more fun to play a game, eat, or watch TV when we know better. Don’t fall for it!
10. Take Care of Yourself
Some of your personal habits might be affecting your grades. Are you feeling tired, achy, or bored when it comes to homework time? You can change your grades by practicing a few healthy homework habits. Change the way you feel by taking better care of your mind and your body. Take an exercise class at Drayson Center, carry a water bottle (8 glasses of water a day is recommended), have a regular bedtime. Avoid distractions like text messaging and Internet surfing. Find out how to avoid pain in your hands and neck by changing the way you sit at your computer.