Students often find studying difficult. If you also have a hard time understanding certain topics or concepts then don’t worry, we got you.
It doesn’t matter if you are one who often top or fail the exams. No matter how smart or worthless you think you are, you can grow and make yourself the smartest person in the room.
I have used the same techniques and topped in my graduation. Being Gold medalist and clearing all the top entrances exams in less than 6 months, amazed everyone.
In today’s blog post, I’ll be sharing with you the 7 habits to become smarter in your studies and how to focus on study.
Table of Content:
1. Love to learn
2. Work and Reward
3. Whole-brain learning
4. Never Give up
5. Being Regular
6. Efficient planning
7. Allot breaks at the right time
Love To Learn
When students don’t study at all, or they don’t have the “mood” to study, it is usually because they like doing something else – like watching YouTube, playing games, social media, or chatting with friends.
Now, I know most of you must have been thinking, “Only nerds love studying”, “Studying is so boring”, or even “Why do I have to study?”
I’m not going to tell you to develop an interest in whatever you are studying, instead to share with you some personal experiences and my perspective. Naturally, you will start to grow interested in your study.
How to be motivated to study?
Have you ever notice that you get better results when you study with interest? When you love to study a particular subject, you’ll be more interested to study more about it, practicing more, and thinking more about it. More you study with a thinking attitude, the smarter you become.
When I was in graduation, I hated theoretical computer science. I like subjects with some programming and mathematical concepts not all registers, CPUs, and flip-flops.
I knew this was one of my weaknesses. When I was in the final year, I was determined to score 10 pointers, and having a weakness like this could have let me down.
There were 3 theoretical subjects in my fifth semester and the beginning I was worried if I could score better marks.
I knew that interest is important in our studies as I have seen toppers of my class studying with attention. They ask so many questions in class like they want to know everything about the topic, but I couldn’t understand how to “love” what you are studying.
However, even though I like Computer science more, theoretical subjects were boring for me. But strangely, I decided to do it. I used to study those subjects daily even for half an hour. I started to develop interests.
I used to study all topics clearly in class and revise it on the same day at my residence. I had started to love theoretical computer science. Guess what, I scored the highest marks in all those 3 subjects.
When I looked back towards my journey of getting better in the study, and how I started to like what I’m studying, I realized that I used some of these cool motivational techniques to ignite the desire and interests in my studies.
Work and Reward
We need to work and reward ourself to take action so that we move towards our goals. I have talked about the reward system in some of my posts on self-discipline.
Some people are more motivated when they have a factor that forces them to work, a few are motivated when they are moving towards something pleasurable or having some rewards when that task will be completed.
For us to motivate ourselves to study, we may need both pain and pleasure to motivate ourselves to love what we are studying.
Let us go in-depth into what’s pain and pleasure.
In school days, I have seen most parents usually implement some punishments for their kids if they do not study or do well for their exams. This is known as external pain and it may or may not work for everyone. We are grown now and in college, we are not those small kids.
I don’t think external pain is very effective as I was never been a student who had been punished.
What is more powerful is the natural pain that comes from inside. Let’s see what it looks like, “I want to do well so I could improve my financial conditions”, “I want to excel in my studies as I am being tired of performing average”.
I was a topper student in my schools and being counted as an average student for the last two years in college had challenged me to do better.
It became a real study motivation for me whenever I was preparing for exams.
Whenever I got stuck in some problems or questions, this whole fact would appear in my mind, and I would continue to visualize myself doing all these things.
You also need to search for what’s making you feel the pain that will be your motivation to study more than before.
Pleasure or Reward
We often feel happy when there is a positive outcome in an experience. When we reached our goal, we will experience a positive result.
In school days, most parents try to reward their kids with games, chocolates, vacations, or cycles, when they study hard and achieve good grades. This is also a form of external pleasure to motivate the students.
Different people have different values and emotions in what makes them happy. Some people earn fame, some need love, some feel happy when they achieve something.
Just like pain, you need to know to identify the reward for yourself. It can be the outcome related to your work when you complete this. It may be the job you get when you ace the exams.
For me, the reward was the Gold Medal that I could get if I scored 10 pointers in the next two semesters.
In every test, I made a point that I must get better grades each time for the rewards to be mine. And each time I get better grades, I feel the sense of satisfaction and often plan for my next exams carefully.
I became more and more interested in what I’m learning in school. I started to take part in the discussion going in the class.
I started to have some doubts that the teacher would think that yes he made a point. The more I grew interests in my studies, the easier and more comfortable it became for me to continue it.
If you can control these motivational factors as well, you can easily develop interest over time. Start by finding out what’s your inner pain and rewards are and keep visualizing yourself getting out of that pain and receiving those rewards as you complete the task.
What is whole-brain Learning?
By using whole-brain learning, you can connect your facts and ideas effectively and develop a deep intuition of the topic.
Different students have different learning styles. The geniuses learn differently as well. Most research has shown that geniuses can tap 4-5 times more than average people. And it is believed that average people only tap into 1% of their brainpower!
Do you know how Albert Einstein learn?
Albert Einstein was considered a slow learner. He learned to speak at a late age, and the teachers used to make fun of him because he seldom pays attention in class.
It was much later on when Einstein applied both sides of his brain to develop the special theory of relativity.
The incident goes this way, he was riding a bus and began to daydream. As the bus moved forward, he looked back at the clock tower and ask himself the question “What if the bus were to accelerate and move at the speed of the light?”
He again visualized and asked himself, “What would he see if he looks back at the clock?”
He imagined that if a person were to stand at the clock tower, the clock would seem normal to him. But when the bus moves at the speed of light, the light from the clock is not able to catch up with him and hence the clock would stop moving.
And this was how he discovered the theory of relativity.
To learn effectively, you want to tap into both sides of your brain and apply the whole brain. By using whole-brain learning, you can connect your facts and ideas effectively and develop a deep intuition of the topic.
Whole-brain learning is about using more senses in learning – visual, auditory, and awareness.
With your imagination and visualization, you can tap into apply whole brain learning in your studies. Whole-brain learning is an entirely different system of learning that is much more powerful than what we are usually taught in school.
Back in the college days, I had a classmate who often topped the class with the best grades.
He was different from many other friends as he would often crack jokes using what we are taught in class. I sometimes used to ask lame questions that the whole class would laugh. It was intentional to make the teacher laugh.
As I looked back now in those days, that was exactly what made him scored so well for his exams. He was using his imagination to crack those jokes and enjoying himself in the learning process.
Sometimes a little humor and imagination could also help us to learn more effectively in class and that’s what I felt over time.
Never Give Up
Do you find it difficult when you are studying? Most of the time, when we face a difficult question or a problem, we often want to get the solution or answer right away.
I have seen most students gave up easily. When they are given a question, and they don’t have an answer, they would straightaway ask for a solution without even thinking for a minute or search it on google.
What most students don’t understand is that “Thinking is a key factor for learning”. To master and learn a certain topic, we must first start to think through it in a very thorough and detailed manner.
The initial phase of learning a new thing is always the most difficult. Even when we play a game on our smartphone, initially, we fail until we learn how the game is working and we understand the rules.
The same goes for our studies too. We will face many hurdles and confusion when we first start to learn it. But if we don’t try without even thinking, then truth is that we are not learning anything.
When I was practicing questions for college exams, I had gotten stumped in some difficult questions for a few days. I would never give up until I work out the solutions all by myself or at least identify what is the concept that I am unable to apply.
As a result, either I would discuss that topic with my friends or search that particular topic over the internet. This is the way Google will help us and we will have a long-lasting impression of that topic on our mind
Usually, advanced concepts and topics are developed using the easier ones. If we don’t understand the easier concepts, then it will be harder for us to even understand the difficult ones.
The key here is to think for the solution by yourself for some time and let mind figure out what concepts will ultimately be used to solve this problem. Even if you do it the wrong way, it doesn’t matter, you just need to learn from your mistakes.
Most of the top students understand the power of consistency. When we do something consistently, we developed a very strong habit of doing a particular action. When we consistently do something in the long run, we can eventually become successful in that.
That goes for your studies and learning as well. For most students, they are not consistent with the learning process. The study only when the tests are near or the assignment deadline is the next day. when they do that, they find that it is extremely difficult to master everything in such a short interval.
Top students study consistently. All they do is to spend an hour a day to study and when the tests are approaching, they just simply got to revise a little for it every day.
They can still have fun and play near the exams. Even when you use whole brain learning, you also want to learn consistently.
Nowadays, there are so many things to do in college– From projects to homework, college functions, clubs, and organizing events. If we don’t plan the time well, we may not have enough time to complete them.
To plan effectively, we need to estimate the time needed to complete each of the tasks.
For example, you need to know how much time to finish reading a chapter and understanding it, how much time to take while making notes, how much time to spend to memorize notes, and how much time to practice the questions.
You need to get an organizer and plan your time according to daily, weekly, and even monthly schedule.
To avoid missing the deadlines, you may want to leave some buffers of a week or two so that if you can’t finish, there are still 1 or 2 weeks for you to complete them.
Allot Breaks At The Right Time
Getting excellent grades do not mean that you need to mug the whole day. If you study for the whole day without taking breaks, then you are not studying effectively.
For example, while preparing for entrance exams, I realized that when I study for regular 2-3 hours, my productivity eventually falls at the end of hours, and me barely able to continue my interest in studies.
I came to know about the Pomodoro Technique over the internet. I fixed my study space and experimented on myself using this technique and found that the topic which I have been covering in 7-8 hours earlier, now I could do in 2-3 hours interval.
Can you see that you are not using your time effectively when you study too long without resting?
You need to take a rest too when you study so that you can keep your productivity at the same efficiency.
Here’s what you can do to keep your productivity levels up. Read about Pomodoro Technique.
Take 15 minutes to break after 1 hour.
During the 15 minutes, do something else like washing up, exercising, playing a musical instrument, watching a comedy video. But don’t do anything that sucks your concentration away like playing computer games.
Take an hour break after 3 studying sessions.
After each studying session, take an hour break before you start another studying session. With these strategic allocated breaks, you will have no problem in studying effectively and keeping your productivity up.
Learn From Mistakes
Do you know that one of the best ways to learn something very fast is by making mistakes? The top students know this very well and treat each mistake as feedback. They learn from their mistakes.
Average students don’t learn from their mistakes. Whenever they’ve gotten back their results, they would be sad thinking that “Why am I not getting better grades” and some feel sick to look at their mistakes again.
They feel that they are stupid to make those kinds of mistakes and let the mistakes to discourage them.
Think to make mistakes as playing a game, whenever you lose in a game, you can always retry until you get a higher score. And you can keep on change your strategy till you get better and better scores.
This applies to study and learning as well. You want to learn from your mistakes and treat it as feedback that you can change and learn from it until you eventually succeed in it.
There was a period when I usually get C’s, D’s during my third semester. I took a close look at my exam papers to find out what kind of mistakes do I usually made.
And most of the time, I found that I don’t understand the concepts or facts well enough.
As a result, I went back home and redo the questions again one more time. After that, I also took similar questions from past year papers and try to do it again to see if I understand how to do it correctly.
What are some of the study habits that you can apply in your life now? Try applying it in your daily life and boost your grades immediately.
Remember the consistency is key to success. Don’t leave practicing these study tips and be the best student with your smart work.