Study Habits Create Success

Developing effective study habits makes studying easier, less time consuming, and more beneficial.

Review the following study habits to make sure that you are utilizing each one:

Plan, Plan, Plan: Plan for each day of the week and each week of the semester. Keep yourself on track with your plan and don’t let yourself ever fall behind.

Divide study tasks into small chunks: Cramming never supports learning. It might get you through the assignment but you never learn as much as you should. Take time to read, reflect, and review the readings and discussions by consistent, regular study sessions.

Manage your materials: Print out the articles and write questions, thoughts, and notes from the discussion in the margins. Keep a list of “Final Paper References” up to date. Refer to your Syllabus every week to keep assignments in mind.
Give it your best: Dozing through your readings doesn’t create understanding. Skimming articles doesn’t allow for full comprehension. Studying smart doesn’t ever mean cutting corners that decrease learning. Use your study time to take full advantage of all the learning opportunities your courses provide.

Stay positive: Keep reminding yourself that you are learning important information and knowledge that is helpful for your academic and professional goals. Apply knowledge as you gain it in your professional role. Motivate yourself with your good attitude.

Construct your own knowledge: Serious students look for every learning opportunity. They actively seek ways to learn as much as they can from their instructor and their classmates. They do extra reading. They ask additional questions.

Use feedback constructively: Pay close attention to individual and group feedback from your instructor and classmates. Use the information to develop yourself academically and professionally. Keep developing additional skills and competence in new areas. Challenge yourself to master new tasks.

Aim high: Good enough is not good enough for you. You have what it takes to be a great student not just a good one. Keep aiming for the best you are capable of doing and you will reach that goal.†

Adapted from: Jacobs, F. & Hyman, J. (2006). Professors’ guide to getting good grades in college. New York: HarperCollins Publishing


Study Skills Analysis

Take time to analyze your study schedule and study habits. There may be additional study strategies and techniques that would support you in being a more efficient learner.

Study techniques to consider:

Read and Refer to your Syllabus and Course Information – These documents are your “blueprints for success” for your course. Keep them in an easily accessible place and refer to them often. Specific information becomes more relevant as the semester progresses and major assignment deadlines come closer.

Create and Use a Semester Calendar – Read through the assignments for the entire semester, write down every assignment due date on your calendar. Check your calendar daily so you never forget an assignment.
Create a Study Schedule and Routine – Think about when deadlines occur, how long certain tasks take to complete. Plan your day, plan your week, and build your schedule around these tasks.
· Establish a Study Area – Find a space or spaces where you can study with good concentration, focus, and attention to task. Be creative-this could include your bus ride to work or your lunch hour. Put an organizational system in place for keeping study materials together.
· Discipline – It takes discipline and determination to keep yourself academically on track. Your success depends on your willingness to stay on task and on time with your work. Don’t allow yourself to fall behind!
· Identify Your Academic Needs – Understand yourself as a graduate student. If you feel under-prepared, lack specific skills, or find yourself struggling in certain areas, ask for support. The Erikson team is fully prepared and committed†to supporting each student in fully developing their academic potential and reaching their professional goals. Through identifying where you need support and communicating your willingness to accept our invitation to provide it, you now have all the tools you need for success.

Build on successful strategies – Don’t change a study schedule that works well for you. You have already developed some habits and made life style adaptations that support you and your success. Congratulate yourself on this important accomplishment. Problem-solve how to add additional study times, lengthen current ones, or make existing sessions even more productive. Use what is working to problem solve where else you could build on and “plug in” more ways of getting it all done!

Stay positive – Focus on all that you are accomplishing. Congratulate yourself for all that you are achieving. Don’t waste time and energy on negative thoughts or feelings. Keep reminding yourself that you have the ability to figure this out and remind yourself what a great problem solver you are.

Keep motivation alive – It’s easy to get a little discouraged and defeated as fatigue sets in. Use motivational techniques that work for you: positive affirmations, calendar and checklists of completed assignments, quotes that inspire you, and positive instructor feedback. One of my personal favorites is to draw a big black line through completed assignments. The visual reminder reinforces moving forward toward my goal.

Just do it – Procrastination creates difficulty upon difficulty for effective learning and student success. Begin a task at the time determined with full focus and concentration. Sooner started, sooner done. The harder I think something is going to be or the less I feel I understand how to do something, the more apt I am to put off doing it. If I get started then solutions often present themselves or I have ample time to ask for support.

Stay mentally alert – It is easy to become distracted when we are tired. Stay mentally active and engaged through sitting in a not too comfortable spot, write notes as you read, ask questions of yourself and others, and stay engaged with the material on task. Take movement breaks as needed-just like you allow your students!

Transformative learning – Take a few minutes to assess yourself and your growth as a professional. Knowledge “seeps” into our way of being. If we don’t take a moment to reflect, we miss the many ways that we really are growing. Realizing new competencies is a reward in and of itself.

Keep your Goals in Mind – Use affirmations, positive visualizations, and quotations to keep your vision strong. Reaching goals isn’t easy but it is always worthwhile.