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Good Study Habits for College Students Smart Study Skills Used by Successful Students

Successful students come to class, keep up with the reading load, avoid procrastination, manage their time, treat deadlines seriously, and try to enjoy learning.
So why does it seem like some college students always have their act together, while others are always struggling to improve their GPA and maintain sanity? While raw talent and brains certainly help, what separates successful college students from less-than-successful ones is good study habits. So what kinds of study habits will lead to good grades? Different strategies work for different students, so it's important to spend some time trying new things out to figure out what works best. With that said, here are a few study habits typically practiced by successful students. (Be sure to also check out these poor college study habits.)

Good Time Management Skills

Students are all very busy people, but some of them are better able to manage their time than others. Most successful students take the time to map out given chunks of time for the work they have to accomplish, whether that's for a whole semester or for one busy evening. Here are some time management tips for college students.

Avoid Procrastination
In reality, it's probably impossible for any student to avoid procrastination completely. However, good students figure out what it is that keeps them focused, and what behaviors they need to avoid to get their work done on time. Here are some tips to help college students avoid procrastination.

Come to Class Every Day

This is one fo the most basic things any student can do to improve grades. Coming to class is essential in order to understand how everything fits together, not to mention to get notes and other important information needed for tests and assignments.

Keep Up With the Reading Workload

Some students come to class with the attitude that college reading assignments are optional, or that they can be put off until right before the exam. Good students know that while some reading is more useful than others, students can generally get a whole lot more out of their classes if they read for the day the reading is assigned. They also know that by trying to cram in hundreds of pages of reading at the last minute, little will be accomplished. Here are some tips for keeping up with a college reading load.

Treat Paper Deadlines Very Seriously

There's nothing that professors hate worse than students who come in at the last minute with excuses about why they couldn't get the paper done. Good students know that paper deadlines should be treated like they are set in stone and to always know when those deadlines are. Not only will this lead to better grades in classes, but this is a habit that will prove even more important in the working world. Good students also use time management to identify potential problems with getting deadlines met, and if they realize they are way too busy, they know that they can approach professors for an extension if they do this ahead of time.

Read the Syllabus

Professors are shocked by how many students don't do this. It's very important. The syllabus explains what exactly is expected of a student in a class, and good students know they need to inform themselves with this information. Good students also know that if they have a question about the syllabus, they should ask.

Ask for Help

Good students don't always know the answers, but they probably know where to get the answers if need be. For starters, they are organized enough to ask their professors for help. They also familiarize themselves with resources on campus like tutoring centers and helpful library resources.

Don't Do as Little as Possible to Get By

Many students come to class with a little calculator in their head and compute how little they can do in a class to get a B, a C, or whatever. This isn't entirely bad, as sometimes it's simply impossible to give every class 100% effort. However, this approach should be avoided as much as possible. For one thing, it doesn't always work. It's very easy to incorrectly compute the work needed for a B, only to wind up with a D. In addition, good students know that by seeing a class as an opportunity to learn, as opposed to a collection of hoops needed to jump through to move on to the next class, they maximize their chances of actually learning something,and therefore getting a good grade.

Enjoy School
Here's another secret successful students know: school doesn't have to suck. In fact, if a student has the sense to choose fun classes and to make an effort to getting the most out of them, doing well in school doesn't have to be a chore. There's no definitive way to define good study skills, as every student is different and works well using different strategies. However, good students typically are ones who have a strong work ethic, come to class, stay organized, and look for help when needed.

Poor College Study Habits

10 Common Study Skills Mistakes that Students Make
Read more at Suite101: Poor College Study Habits: 10 Common Study Skills Mistakes that Students Make |

Learning how to study successfully in college is a challenge for most students. Because of the many ways that college is different than high school, students have a good deal to learn when it comes to proper study skills. Here are some of the most common study skills mistakes that college students make-- and some tips on how to avoid them. (Be sure to also check out these good college study habits.)

1. Poor Attendance.

This may be the most common student mistake-- and the most unavoidable. If you want to succeed in college, you need to be in class all or most of the time. There's no way around that.
2. Poor Notetaking Skills.

Unfortunately, many students come to college without having mastered this critical skill. To succeed in school, you need to learn how to listen actively and take accurate, thorough lecture notes. Here are some tips on how to take effective class notes.
3. Poor Time Management Skills.

Many college students are overwhelmed with multiple academic and other responsibilities, so learning to manage your time is essential. Here are some time management tips for students.
4. Last Minute Work.

If you write a paper at the last minute, it shows. If you try to do the reading at the last minute for the test that's tomorrow, you're unlikely to do well on the test. While it may be impossible to completely avoid the experience of pulling an all-nighter, do the best you can to keep up with the work on the syllabus.
5. Procrastination.

Of course, the issue of last minute work is related to procrastination. Learning to stay focused is a skill, especially with so many distractions like Facebook and video games around campus. Here are some the top college student study distractions, and how to avoid them.
6. Failure to Read Directions.

If your instructor hands you a detailed description of how to write an assignment, read the description very carefully and follow directions. If you have any questions, ask the instructor, and if he or she goes over the assignment in class, listen carefully and take notes. It's plenty frustrating to work hard on assignment and receive a low grade because you failed to follow instructions.
7. Over-reliance on Other Students.

Asking a friend to take notes for you when you're absent is a risk you should only take when absolutely necessary. And study groups can be an effective way to prepare for a test, but only if you conduct them correctly and don't rely on the other students to do all the work. Here are some tips on how to conduct an effective study group.
8. Over-reliance on the Internet.

The Internet has made student research so much easier than it was a decade ago. Unfortunately, students can over-rely on the Internet and ignore other ways to do research. What's more, you're more likely to encounter inaccuracies on the Internet than in a book or

article. When using the Internet, always verify the information you find online by looking at other sources.
9. Plagiarism.

Fortunately, most students don't plagiarize-- but it's still a serious problem on college campuses. In most cases, plagiarism occurs because a student has a looming deadline and panics. Here are some important reasons why you should avoid plagiarism.
10. Failure to Ask for Help.

Professors and TAs probably aren't going to seek out students who need help-- but that doesn't mean help isn't available. If you have questions, ask. Visit office hours whenever necessary. In addition, seek out other help on campus, such as the writing center. Remember, learning how to study is a process. If your study habits are not what they should be, assess what you need to change and do your best to improve. No student is perfect, but if you put in the effort to study more effectively, you'll find yourself improving quite a bit over time.


Most Common Bad Study Habits This section should be pre-empted by noting that everyone has a different study habit. It is important to find your personal best way to study, as you may hate music, while others love it. The following list is a generalization of all problems that students have encountered while studying. Some may apply to you, while others not. Either way, we have provided an explanation and "fix" to the problem.
1. Studying with Friends 1. Explanation: While fun, sometimes you may lose out on quality study time by socializing. 2. Fix: Find one good study-buddy if you like group studying. Otherwise, "just say no" when everyone wants to study together. Too much Music 0. Explanation: Noise and music can interfere with the brain's abilite to comprehend new information. It can also distract you from focusing on the material at hand. 1. Fix: If you need music in the background, find a specific type (usually classical) that works well for you. Don't keep changing it around. When there are no lyrics, then it is easier to focus on the words on the paper in your hand. Bad Environment 0. Explanation: A poor study environment can ruin all quality time. If you are uncomfortable at a chair, desk, room, the temperature is too cold or too hot, you will be unsuccessful studying. 1. Fix: Test out different sites until you find the best place for you. It may be the library, it may be your room, your bed, your best friend's backhouse. Who knows? Find what works best for you and stick with it. Last Minute Cramming 0. Explanation: While many people swear by the cramming method, it is ultimately terrible at long term knowledge retention and can cause undue stress. 1. Fix: Study for days up until the test. Or, if you do prefer cramming, try cramming two nights prior to the exam so that the final night will not consist of stress. Rather it will be a night for review. Eating

0. 1.

Explanation: Eating too much food during studying can disrupt retention of material. It can also take too much time away. You may want to snack lightly during studying, but not eat enormous meals. Fix: Keep a small bag of snacks by your study area. You won't have to leave the area just to pick up food when you get hungry.

Drinking 0. Explanation: Drinking is a double-edged sword. Never drink alcohol while studying. However, it is important to stay awake and hydrated. 1. Fix: Have a glass of water (or soda with caffeine) by your side. Be very careful not to spill it onto your books and papers. Working in your Bed 0. Explanation: While it may be comfortable, your bed can also sooth you to sleep instead of study. 1. Fix: Sit at a desk in your room instead of on your bed. Do not study on your bed late at night, as you will be tempted to fall asleep. Multi-Tasking 0. Explanation: Many people are able to multi-task, meaning they can do several different things at once. This can be good for daily tasks. When it comes to studying, you may not retain as much material as if you were to focus purely on one task. 1. Fix: Before a big exam, drop everything else for at least 24 hours and focus purely on the studying. When it is complete, you can return to your multi-tasking. Studying during a commute 0. Explanation: Many people enjoy reading on a train, bus, or car to work and school. These environments are wonderful for light reads, but not necessarily for intense studying. 1. Fix: Use the commute (if you have one) for light studying, such as memorization, repetition, and review. Do not use this time to learn new information. Outside Stress 0. Explanation: It is inevitable to allow outside problems into your study world. They exist and cannot be turned off light electricity. 1. Fix: There is no perfect way out of eliminating outside stress to a study area. The best advice we can give you is to find a location that eliminates all superficial stress enough that will allow you even a few hours to focus on writing, studying, reviewing.

By J.L. Cook|G. Cook Pearson Allyn Bacon Prentice Hall
In early childhood, children learn that emotions represent their own reactions to situations and events and that children can differ from each other in their emotional responses. Middle childhood is a period during which children learn to control and regulate their own emotional reactions, and they improve their accuracy in reading the emotions of other people. Children need to learn that their emotional reactions affect other people. To get along effectively, we all need to learn to manage our own emotions and we need skill in predicting and interpreting other people's emotions. Children who learn positive emotional skills from their parents seem to have more success making friends. Children of emotionally expressive mothers tend to receive high regard from their peers (Cassidy, Parke, Butkovsky, & Braungart, 1992). An interesting longitudinal study linked adults' level of empathy (ability to feel other people's emotions) with childhood experiences. The study found that when empathic adults were children, their fathers were more involved in their care and their mothers were more tolerant of dependent behavior, were more likely to restrict the children's aggression, and were more satisfied in their role as mothers (Koestner, Franz, & Weinberger, 1990). You can imagine that parents who fit this description would tend to model positive control of emotions for their children. Of course, the reverse is also true. Children of mothers who are chronically depressed, for example, are prone to feelings of guilt and helplessness. Although they try hard to make their mothers feel happy, they cannot succeed, and they often believe it is their fault (Zahn-Waxler & Robinson, 1995). Even subtle differences in emotional treatment can affect children-research with twins shows that the twin who is treated more negatively and less warmly by the mother tends to have more behavioral problems than the twin who is treated more warmly (Caspi et al., 2004).

Accuracy in reading emotions is an important social skill. Children who are adept at reading emotions tend to be liked more by their peers (Denham, McKinley, Couchoud, & Holt, 1990). They know when they are making their friends happy, when to back off if their friends become frustrated, and when to console friends who are sad or dejected. Children tend to have a bias toward positive emotions. They like other children who are happy and know how to control their emotions. As one group of researchers put it, "feeling good...makes it easier for a child to enter the peer world" and "greases the cogs of ongoing social interaction" (Denham et al., 2003, p. 251). Conversely, children who have difficulty controlling their emotions are more likely to suffer problems such as anger and depression (Eisenberg et al., 2005) and would presumably have more difficulty making and keeping friends.