Developing good study habits in college will help you succeed in class and achieve your educational goals. Knowing how to study hard and smart could result in the difference between acing a class and just passing. Those who have bad study habits or poor organizational skills could end up flunking a class or getting behind in school. If you want to turn your grades around and find new, more effective ways to study, then check out these seven bad study habits you should change immediately.

  1. Studying at home:

    Studying at home might be convenient and easy, but there are way too many distractions lurking in your dorm, apartment, or house. No matter what room you study in, you’re always going to be faced with some type of distraction. Maybe it’s your talkative roommate, your TV, or the growing pile of clothes that are just asking to be washed. The smallest of things can break your concentration and make studying less effective. Instead of locking yourself in the bedroom and risking a wasted study session, go to the library and find a quiet room or desk to do your studying.

  2. Listening to music while you study:

    The benefits of listening to music while studying has been argued time after time. Although classical music was once believed to increase spatial abilities and improve learning, subsequent research was not able to support this theory. Recent studies show that music may actually impair cognitive abilities and hinder memorization because of the changing words and notes in songs. Studying in silence or a little white noise will allow you to hear your thoughts and concentrate without the distraction of lyrics and changing tempos.

  3. Studying with friends:

    No matter how much you tell yourself it helps to study with friends, it’s probably not doing much good. First of all, anytime you meet up with friends to study, there’s always a delay in the actual studying or reviewing and you’re bound to take several breaks to goof off and chit chat about non-class related things. Although this kind of study session can reduce stress and increase your energy level, it may not be as effective as you’d like. Even if you’re going to study with your "serious" friends, you still need to review the material on your own.

  4. Pulling all-nighters:

    We’re all guilty of it, but staying up all night cramming for an exam has been shown to do very little good for test preparation or performance. Not only does sleep deprivation make you look and feel like a zombie, but it also can take a serious toll on your happiness and overall well-being. The best way to avoid pulling all-nighters is to study ahead of time. It’s easier said than done, but the only way to avoid pulling an all-nighter besides not studying at all. Dedicate a few days a week (or more) to study and review the material so that you aren’t trying to cram everything into your head in one night.

  5. Procrastinating:

    Procrastination is something we’ve all done in school, but just because it’s common behavior doesn’t mean it’s OK to do. When you procrastinate studying, you run the risk of doing things halfway and not retaining as much information as you need to ace the exam. If you have to pull frequent all-nighters or find yourself rushing to finish every essay or project, then you need to work on your time management skills and start studying earlier.

  6. Not making an outline:

    If you aren’t making outlines while studying or writing a paper, then you aren’t being as efficient as you could be. There are many reasons to make an outline. It helps you keep track of large amounts of information, organize your ideas, and present your class material in a logical way. Instead of trying to reread your textbook or write an essay from scratch, make an outline to organize your thoughts and study more effectively.

  7. Highlighting the textbook:

    You might think that reading a textbook and marking the pages with a neon highlighter is the best way to study for an upcoming exam, but, in all actuality, this is one of the least effective ways for students to remember content. Instead of coloring entire pages with highlighters and trying to reread the text, you should quiz yourself over the material you just read. This will help you retain more information and score higher on exams.

View Additional Resources