7 steps to building healthy study habits
Published: Wednesday, August 29, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, August 29, 2012 15:08
Throughout your career as a student, you may have heard that three hours of studying should accompany every hour of being in class. Although this might seem like study over-kill, you will reap major benefits in the end. However, without proper study techniques, you might find that resorting to unhealthy habits or skipping out on studying altogether is the “better” route.
As a short guide to healthy studying, here is a list of seven tips to help get you on the right track:
1. Noteworthy note taking
Before you even think about studying, prepare by taking detailed notes, whether you type them on a laptop or write them in a notebook. If you are looking for helpful tips on how to take good notes, academictips.org outlines several note taking techniques. To help your brain retain the information, try writing in columns instead of rows, using a variety of pen colors, or re-writing your notes during your study sessions.
2. Know your style
Learning comes in several forms. Visual learners remember what they see, auditory learners remember what they hear, tactile learners learn by touching (i.e. doodling while they listen) and kinesthetic learners learn by doing or by being hands-on. Figure out how you learn best so that you can apply your specific style to your studying.
3. Take time to time manage
According to the American Psychological Association, about “75 percent of the general population experiences at least some stress every two weeks.” Stress is a major part of our society; keep your levels under control by practicing healthy time management skills. Schedule study sessions by writing them in your planner during appropriate hours and for realistic blocks of time, and try not to procrastinate when it comes to turning in assignments or studying for a test.
4. Figure out your study preferences
Get in the zone. If you like to hear background noise, go somewhere to study that’s less remote than the library, for instance. Study with friends if they help to motivate you. Walk to the nearest coffee shop if the scent of freshly brewed coffee and baking cinnamon buns helps you relax. Listen to music while you highlight your notes, or choose “your” spot in the quietest corner of the least populated building on campus to get in your studying zone.
5. Perks of posture
The way you sit at your computer or read your textbooks can have a huge impact on when, how and where you choose to study. Comfort is key, but making sure the muscles in your back and neck are not having to endure extra strain is equally, if not more important. Staff members at Mayo Clinic stress the importance of good posture, stating that practicing poor posture “can lead to fatigue, back pain, headaches and other problems.”
Take time to take a break in between subjects or hourly blocks. Treat yourself to a light snack, go for a short walk, or call a friend to chat. Also use your ten-minute break to check your texts or social networking sites so that you are not tempted to do so while in the middle of a study session. Creating healthy study habits is easier if you give your mind and body a break.
7. What you’d least expect: exercise
Believe it or not, exercise, nutrition and sleeping patterns all play roles in how easy or difficult it is for you to study. Being active regularly (eating a nutritious breakfast, lunch and supper), and getting an adequate amount of sleep each night is important for your body to stay alert and for your mind to retain and recall information while you are studying.