How to Develop and Maintain Good Study Habits

Proper study habits are crucial to success in schooling.

A study conducted by psychologists Roediger and Karpicke found that though “cramming” for an exam may help in the moment, the knowledge isn’t truly gained.  As the concepts advance, those who crash study no longer have the knowledge -leading to falling behind, frustration, and possible failure of the class.  Though it seems like a college right of passage, the “cramming” version of studying, in the long run, is doing more harm than good.

Developing good study habits is a surprisingly simple process.  Based on the idea of routines, you’ll find you can condition yourself to focus and truly absorb and learn the information.


Step One: Environment

Don’t set yourself up for failure.  Find a quiet place where you can concentrate.  It is also beneficial to study or complete school work in the same place every time, if possible.  This constant routine sends the message to your brain and creates a Pavlovian response – better preparing you to focus and learn.


Step Two: Organization

It is almost impossible to concentrate in the midst of chaos.  Take the time to organize your thoughts, your papers, and your work before you get started.  Create a system to file paper work, organize different classes, and separate assignments.  Clearing your area will help clear your head.  As simple as it sounds, having pens, pencils, highlighters, calculators, etc., readily available helps the studying process.


Step 3: Time Management

Often, the biggest deterrent to studying is a lack of time. Time management is a key component of academic success.  Most importantly, you must have a plan.  Use an academic planner, calendar, or app on your phone to block out times that are dedicated to schoolwork and study.  Then stick to it!  Treat your study time like your work schedule – uncompromising and rigid.


Step 4: Motivation/Goals

So, how do you stay motivated?  School and studying can be hard and the distractions and endless.  It is a good idea to set up goals and rewards for yourself.  Create positive associations with completing your work, further encouraging yourself to continue.  Maybe you earn a break for a segment of time worked, or a fun night out with friends, or a quick jog.  Whatever reward motivates you.

Much of your success can be attributed to your personal work ethic and drive. Commitment to your education is an investment in your own future.

The Question of Learning Styles
Much time and attention has been paid to the concept of “learning styles” and the possibility that they may prevent some people from learning, depending on how the information is presented.   Used by many students as a reason that they “can’t” study, learning styles is a concept often argued and questioned.  A study conducted by psychologists Pashler, McDaniel, and Bjork found that there was no definable proof that learning styles affected ability to study or learn concepts.

Take the time to develop strong study skills and invest in your intelligence and future.

At FNU we believe that there are many paths to success and we offer group tutoring at no cost for enrolled students.


Florida National University

Florida National University has provided exceptional education and meaningful degrees since 1982 and strives to meet the needs of the modern students. If you are interested in more information regarding the Florida National University please call 305-821-3333 ext. 3 or visit





Standord, G.A. (n.d.). Helping students gain better study habits. Retrieved January

5th, 2013 from


Roediger III, H.L., & Karpicke, J.D. (2005). Test-enhanced learning taking

memory tests improves long-term retention. Psychological Science, 17(3), 249-255.


Pashler, H., McDaniel, M., Rohrer D., & Bjork, R. (2008). Learning styles concepts and

evidence. Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 9(3), 105-119.

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