Over the years, students have developed certain studying habits that they believe work best for them. However, what they don't realize is that there a lot of common myths and misconceptions that come with specific beliefs about studying. What students believe to be most productive and effective might not exactly be true. Read on to find out if you should change certain habits and beliefs that you have.
1. "I study better under pressure/at the last minute."
Most students believe that cramming before an exam actually helps with better performance, which explains why the idea of procrastination is so popular. However, studying under pressure actually does the opposite. Stress actually makes it increasingly difficult for the brain to function. People under pressure actually tend to produce more errors of omission and commission. Cognitive loads interfere with the brain's ability to translate ideas into meaningful information.
2. "The longer I study, the better I'll do."
We've all heard it being said and we've said it ourselves: "I studied for 20 hours yet I still barely passed!" The truth is, the number of hours you study has no relation to how you will perform on a test. It isn't about how long you study but about how you use that time that you spend studying. Keep this equation in mind: work accomplished = time spent x intensity of focus.
3. "Taking notes on a laptop is better for me."
In this day and age where computers are everywhere, it's true that using a laptop to take notes is a whole lot easier than taking notes by hand. However, you should really ditch the laptop if you want to do well in class. Laptops are not only distracting because you can literally access all form of social media through a single tap, but they also encourage students to take verbatim notes. In a study, it was discovered that writing out notes forces students to be more selective with their notes. This extra processing of material is much more beneficial than simply trying to record as much of a lecture as you can.
4. "I always focus on one topic at a time."
While sometimes you may only be able to afford to focus on one specific topic due to the nature of the situation you're in, it's actually encouraged that you study multiple topics in one sitting. This idea is known as "interleaving." By forcing students to notice and process similarities and differences across the different things they're trying to learn, they're developing a deeper understanding of the topics.
5. "I can only be productive at my desk in my room — nowhere else."
Many students like to establish a specific location to study for themselves and they convince themselves that they can't get work done elsewhere. However, a New York Times article states otherwise. In fact, alternating rooms while studying can actually improve retention.
Next time you study, try to let go of all your poor habits and establish new ones! Never think it's too late to start now.
Lead Image Credit: Jazmin Quaynor via Unsplash