College students struggling to make the grade might want to take a closer look at their study habits to find a solution that works. Researchers have concluded that one of the best indicators of grade-point average lies in a student’s practices and study habits. Those who have honed their study skills tend to excel where their counterparts might not.
Key differences between students with a high GPA and those without highlight the importance of study skills, according to the article “Making College a Success” in the Research in Higher Education Journal. Those differences include self-adjustment, self-awareness and purposeful planning.
Good study skills aren’t developed overnight. They have to become habits to be effective. Positive habits can drive success by making it possible for goals to be achieved. Though setting a goal creates a motivation point, reaching that goal often depends on habits that are developed to support attainment.
Study Skills that Count
Developing skills that support studying and turning them into habits can make all the difference for you if getting more out of classes and making the grade counts. Here are a few skills to hone and transform into habits that may help you make the grade:
- Set aside specific times each day to study.
- Use the library and technology to your advantage.
- Always ask questions.
- Prioritize studying and study times by determining which subjects require more effort.
- Get organized and make sure the place where studying occurs is well-provisioned for the task and includes necessary supplies.
- Create a calendar of projects, assignments and due dates, and set study schedules to accommodate tasks.
- Take clear, concise notes and listen intently in class.
3 Rs of Forming Habits
In order to form new habits – or break old ones – it’s helpful to understand the patterns that habits follow. According to motivational author James Clear, all habits follow the 3 Rs:
- Reminder – This is the trigger that starts the behavior.
- Routine – This is the action, or habit itself.
- Reward – What is gained from the action.
Creating New Habits
Using the 3 Rs to form better study habits can be helped along by following these tips for creating new habits:
- Set a goal – Determine what needs to be achieved. This establishes the motivation and focal point the new habits will support.
- Build habits into routine – If improving study habits to earn better grades is the goal, establish set times to dedicate to the task. Stick with that schedule.
- Reflect – Take the time to reflect on how ingraining the new habit is working. If it’s not, reflect on why that might be. Perhaps you’re trying to study each morning at 7 a.m. when you’re more of a night person. Or maybe you’re studying in time chunks that are too long to endure. Changing your study schedule to accommodate your peak performance time or breaking up study time into two smaller sessions each day might make more sense.
- Get disciplined – Once a routine is working, stick with it and find ways to remind yourself of the goal to help with discipline.
- Get help – Trying to establish new habits can be tough. Let friends and families know your goal so they can support and encourage you.
Successful students have great study habits to back them. Creating your own just takes a concerted effort and a little time.