10 Common Bad Habits That Every Student Should Break and Change

Written By Smart Guides For Learning | April 2023

When you are a student, it is natural to have frequent ineffective habits, but these habits might hinder your capacity to learn. For this reason, you should be aware and figure out if you are making these bad habits so that you could avoid mistakes in your studying progress in the future. 

Here is a list of 10 common bad habits that every student should avoid when studying or learning:

Contents In This Article

1. Skipping a healthy breakfast

Skipping breakfast can lead to a lack of energy and focus, making it harder to retain information. A healthy breakfast is needed by the body to start the day with a refreshed mind. Many students have a habit to skip breakfast and even if it may not be noticeable at first, skipping breakfast may have an effect to your academic performance. Your body goes many hours without meals while you sleep, which causes your blood sugar levels to fall.

Breakfast aids in refueling your body with necessary minerals, carbohydrates, and protein that provide you energy for the rest of the day. When we study for extended periods of time, our brains become overwhelmed and stressed. We may struggle to retain information or process new concepts effectively. Eating breakfast can also boost productivity by increasing your concentration and memory recall abilities as you study for the day.

2. Allowing distractions into your study area

Distractions can be a major impediment to effective studying. Students should set up a study area that is free from interruptions like mobile devices, TV, and social media notifications. These distractions can interrupt your flow of concentration and focus, leading to loss of time and productivity. Students should consider creating a study room that is favorable to studying, complete with a comfortable chair, a desk, and adequate lighting.

To remove distractions while studying, students can turn off their phones or put them in another room. They can also use website blockers or apps that limit the amount of time spent on social media or other distracting websites. You should know that every distraction that is avoided helps to increase your focus and productivity during study sessions.

3. Not taking regular study breaks

Taking breaks during study sessions is important for several reasons. Taking breaks help to prevent burnout and mental fatigue, which can negatively impact focus and productivity. Taking pauses can assist to alleviate stress and anxiety, which are frequent during periods of intense concentration. Deep breathing, stretching, or taking a brief walk outside can help clear the mind, relieve stress, and enhance your motivation.

You should aim to take short breaks every 45-50 minutes of studying, allowing time for rest and relaxation. During studying sessions, you may avoid activities that are likely to be distracting or overstimulating, such as monitoring your social media accounts or watching a series. Instead, you can try to engage in relaxing activities that assist to relax the mind and body. If you are studying for long hours already, taking a short nap may be effective to gain back your concentration and refresh you with a renewed motivation.

4. Not getting enough sleep

Sleep plays a crucial role in learning and memory retention. During sleep, the brain processes and consolidates information learned throughout the day. This means that students who want to remember more information in the study material and want to do better on tests must obtain enough sleep for cognitive function. Remember that the quality of sleep is just as important as the quantity of sleep.

You should establish a consistent sleep schedule that allows for at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night. You have to rest and go to sleep and get up at the same time every day, including weekends. Students should create a sleep-friendly environment by making sure their bedroom is cool, quiet, and dark. Having a deep, restorative sleep by avoiding caffeine and alcohol before bedtime, as well as limiting their exposure to screens and blue light are a few helpful ways.

5. Cramming all the information in a short time

Cramming your study review is a common mistake that many students make, especially when they have an upcoming exam or an assignment deadline. You may have done this, even I have struggled cramming all the information to my memory, but cramming is not an effective habit to absorb and retain knowledge over time.

Cramming may give you the most motivation to memorize everything all at once by pulling an all-nighter, but in reality, cramming mainly focuses on short-term memory recall. Instead, you should be able to spread out your study sessions over longer periods of time for you to remember the material more efficiently. In a week or a month, you could allocate one day for each chapter or topic. This way, you can space out your study sessions and avoid the stress and pressure of cramming the night before.

6. Leaving the most difficult subjects last

Leaving the difficult tasks during the last hours can lead you to feel overwhelmed and stressed. When have been studying for a while, your motivation to continue starts to drop and you may feel more unmotivated to even start the difficult subjects. Major subjects that are difficult to comprehend, concepts that need critical thinking, or topics that you are struggling with are some examples of tasks that needs much of your time.

Knowing this information, you should prioritize the most difficult tasks and give more attention to them first. This strategy can assist to enhance productivity and motivation by providing a sense of completion and decreasing the stress of knowing that a difficult subject remains unfinished. Ideally, students should review difficult subjects regularly, instead of waiting until the night before the exam.

7. Only reviewing notes taken in class

Only reading notes in class is not an effective way to retain information because it is a passive form of learning. While it is crucial to take thorough notes in class, in order to properly comprehend and retain the subject, students must actively participate. Students can accomplish this through conversing with their lecturers or peers, participating in discussions, and raising questions. When reviewing their notes, you should not only rely on reviewing your notes taken in class. You should be able to use your lecture notes to create flashcards or practice quizzes to prepare for your exams. Actively engaging with the study materials and using different note-taking strategies can help students retain more information and perform better in their courses.

8. Not revising notes in your own words

This common habit is somehow related to the habit mentioned earlier. Having notes is an important step when you start reviewing your subjects, but revising your notes is another. You may have the prettiest notes in class, but not getting the most out of the study material should concern you. Revision is an essential part of the learning process because revisions allow students to reinforce what they have learned so that they can easily remember the information for the exams. You should start by reviewing your notes and identifying the key concepts and ideas. Summarize this information to connect between different topics and examples or situations in real life. The information will be more clear to you since the concepts are explained in your own words. 

9. Not asking help from a professor or tutor

One important part of a student’s learning process is asking for assistance. It is critical to ask your lecturer or a tutor for help if you need assistance with a particular subject or topic. By asking for assistance, you may fill in any knowledge gaps you may have and clarify your comprehension of the subject. Asking for guidance may also help you approach the subject with clarity and offer you with a fresh understanding.

When you need assistance, don’t be hesitant to reach out to your professor. If your professor may be too far to reach, you can ask tutors for help. Tutors are particularly helpful when you’re struggling with a specific course, topic, or subject. Getting the academic assistance you need should not be as challenging since you can ask help from your colleagues. You can ask them to be your tutor in certain subjects that you find difficult or you can ask if you can form a study group together after class or during the weekends. You may clarify your comprehension of the topic in each chapter and solidify your understanding of the important concepts by making use of the support available to you.

10. Not using study techniques that work for you

Study techniques that align with your own learning style can improve comprehension and retention of the study material. For example, active reading, which involves actively engaging with the text by highlighting important points, taking notes, and asking questions, is an effective technique for visual learners. Mind mapping, which involves organizing and linking information in a visual format, can be beneficial for those who prefer a more conceptual understanding of topics. You should also try other techniques that your colleagues have tried and worked out. By trying out new study techniques, you may be able to distinguish what works best for you.

Article Summary

Avoiding these common bad habits will greatly enhance your learning and aid in your performance as you go on with your study journey. You’ll be on the right path to succeeding if you prioritize excellent study habits like getting enough sleep, taking breaks, and actively participating in the course that you are taking.

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