How to Develop and Maintain Good Study Habits

person studying with laptop and bookIn February 2019, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis issued an order intended to put an end to the Common Core State Standards of public education, but the order does not really object to the subject matter of the curriculum as such; instead, it focuses on the extensive use of testing and examinations, which many critics believe promote the questionable habit of cramming. While American college students are known to cram for exams as part of a goal-oriented approach to studying, there are serious concerns about this practice in terms of actually gaining knowledge.

Many psychological research studies have determined that the so-called “testing effect” has both advantages and disadvantages. Henry L. Roediger and Jeffrey D. Karpicke have dedicated substantial effort to researching both cramming and the testing effect; the good news is that repeated memory tests are actually beneficial to the extent that they actually promote long-term retention, but the bad news is that such strategies are seldom applied in university settings.

Let’s say you are taking Principles of Microeconomics as part of your Bachelor of Science in Business Administration program at Florida National University; you have an upcoming test on market structures, and thus you decide to cram the concepts of perfect competition, monopolies and oligopolies, and their characteristics. You purchase a whiteboard from Office Depot, draw a chart of all market structures and memorize it so that you ace the test. The problem with this approach is that you will likely move on to cramming for the next test, thus forgetting about market structures. There is a way you can counter this negative outcome, and that is through drilling one memory test after another, but that will not happen because the course will move on to other topics.

How Proper Study Habits Can be Developed

You will be unlikely to find the time to get the benefits of the testing effect as you work on completing your college curriculum. The testing effect is sometimes used by military units and in some internship scenarios, but it is not conducive to higher or professional education. Cramming and crash studying may eventually lead to memory loss situations that will make you feel as if you are a faulty computer. The stakes are high because you may not only risk failing a course but also run into future situations such as a crucial job interview where you have to recall market structures.

Good study habits can be developed as a set of routines; the goal is to condition yourself in a manner that allows you to focus on your materials and absorb all information, not just possible test situations. Here are four steps you can take in this regard:

1 – The Right Environment

If you can recall classical conditioning and Pavlovian responses from high school, you will understand the importance of setting up a spot where you can really study, concentrate and learn. This space will become the pillar of your good study habits routine, a place you can repeatedly enter and send a signal to your brain that you are ready to focus and learn. This step becomes even more crucial when you choose a fully online program such as FNU’s Bachelor of Arts in Legal Studies.

2 – Efficient Organization

When your course materials are a mess, you will find it extremely difficult to concentrate. After you choose the right environment, be sure to keep it tidy and stocked with the tools to enhance your studying: pencils, calculators, highlighters, or a browser page open to Wolfram Alpha. One FNU course that just about every student will encounter is SLS 1501 – College Study Skills, which promotes good habits such as creating simple systems for class assignments, materials review, research, and other study factors. To learn more about this course and similar subjects, contact one of our academic advisers.

3 – Time Management

Many FNU students are working adults who must balance their jobs with family time, leisure and education. Without a time management plan, completing a certificate or degree program at FNU would be nearly impossible. FNU provides flexible learning options such as online courses to busy students, but it is up to you to make the most out of your time. Work-life balance can come naturally to many students, but anyone can benefit from enhancements available from smartphone apps such as Rescue Time. As long as you can firmly commit to a schedule for a few days in a row, you will find time management to be one of the easiest steps towards the development of good study habits.

4 – The Right Mix of Goals and Motivation

Life is full of distractions, and going to college is not an exception. As much as FNU strives towards providing an immersive learning environment, our students are bound to be bombarded with distracting external factors that are part of life in this 21st century. Boosting your personal work ethic can go a long way towards resisting distractions, but you will also need a system to reward yourself for small achievements. A nice cup of coffee with friends, for example, can be a good way to celebrate getting good grades on a course assignment; in this case, you should visualize both the grade and the reward as goals, and your motivation would naturally unfold into envisioning the next set of goals.

Learning Styles Are Up to You

Study habits and learning styles are different concepts. FNU recognize high socioeconomic diversity within the student body, which is why blended learning, evening classes, and online courses are offered, but you are free to choose the particular style that suits your personality. Regardless of your learning style, FNU will make available financial aid, scholarships, athletics, job placement, and campus activities as tools to enhance your learning experience. To start planning your future, get in touch with an admissions counselor today. Keep in mind that FNU is a fully accredited private university that has been granting degrees since 1982 from our two South Florida campus locations.

Resources

 

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

5th, 2013 from http://www.edu-nova.com/helping-students-gain-better-study-habits.html

 

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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