By: Susan Parker
College is undoubtedly an exciting time of your life as this is the first time you get to step out of your home and live a life like an adult. Of course, such an adult life comes with its own share of responsibilities as well. You’ll have to manage your finances, live by yourself, and above everything keep your goal in sight, which is to study hard and get good grades.
This is not easy at all because you’ll have tons of things to do within a short time. You’ll have to cook, clean your home, take care of your laundry, complete assignments, attend classes, and between all this study too.
To help you wade through this phase of your life and to help you get the grades needed to cement a good career for yourself, here are a few mistakes that you should watch out for while studying. In fact, when you notice and address these mistakes, you’ll be able to study a lot better and smarter.
Studying for a Long Time
Most people tend to think that when you study for a long period, you tend to learn and remember more. It is even common for many people to burn the midnight oil and study when others are sleeping as they believe that studying at night makes them super productive. But research clearly shows that this is not true.
You should not study for long stretches because your brain loses its ability to learn and grasp what you read. In other words, you should take small breaks between your studying sessions so your brain gets refreshed. This is similar to how professional athletes train. Have you ever seen an athlete train 24/7 without a break? Never. Though they work hard, they also have rest days during which time they allow their bodies to relax and recuperate. The same is applicable for studying.
If you’re wondering why this is necessary, let’s take a brief look at the physiological side. When you use the same neurons over and over again, they tend to become weak just like how muscles get worn out with continuous use. Small breaks help your neurons to recuperate, so they become stronger and can help to retain what you study for a longer time. For this reason, never make the mistake of studying too hard continuously. Rather, take small breaks between study sessions and do other things, so your brain and the associated neurons get refreshed and become stronger.
One thing to keep in mind is what constitutes rest. It doesn’t have to be mindless TV binging, instead, it can be a quick cardio exercise, timed power nap, or even a walk around the block to get some fresh air.
Memorizing Over Understanding
Let’s face it! Many concepts tend to feel overwhelming and we tend to either skip the topic altogether or try to memorize it instead of understanding it. Both these choices are bad simply because they are sure to lower scores for you. In fact, the former option is better than the latter option simply because you get to save some extra time and energy, as both these choices will lead to the same results for you.
When you memorize, you’re just not sure about what you’ve studied. In other words, when you memorize a lesson or a few answers, you can forget it because you have not understood what exactly that answer means. Memorizing without understanding leads you to nowhere, so make sure you take some extra time or take additional help to understand these difficult concepts so you can remember them during your exams.
Fear of Seeking Help
One of the reasons why we cram down lessons or we’re unable to retain what we study is that we really don’t understand what is being said. It’s important to understand that no one is super-human and everyone needs help at some point in time with their studies.
Many students tend to avoid taking this help simply because of the fear of reaching out. What will others think of me? Will they think I’m a dull head and can’t even understand such simple topics? Who can help me? Such questions can greatly impede your ability to study and do well in exams.
As a first step, get over this fear and understand that all of us have our own weaknesses. Some of us are good at math while others are great at science. No one is exceptional in everything and so, taking help from others is fairly common. No one is going to judge you when you take help and even if they do, you should simply learn to ignore them because at the end of the day, your grades are what matters and they will also speak for themselves about your ability to learn and perform.
The next question is, where can you seek help? One option is to reach out to your trusted friends and professors who may help you, but this option is highly limited because they will be busy studying or teaching. Another option is to look for reliable sites like MoneyTaskForce that explains difficult concepts in a simple language so you can understand them easily.
Relying on Your Notes
Another common mistake is relying on your notes completely. Though you have spent many hours writing down the important points, relying only on these notes is not good. You can use it to quickly scan the important points just before your exams, but also make sure to read through the entire book to ensure that you cover all the subjects in-depth and are ready to take on your exams. Also, when you read only your notes, all that you’re doing is cycling through the same information over and over again and not covering all the necessary information needed to answer all the questions in your exam.
Thus, these are the four common mistakes you should avoid while studying to ensure that you study smart and get the best grades in your exam.
Susan Parker is a writer and tech geek. She volunteers for local environmental conservation programs and writes stories online about things that inspire her.