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7 Healthy Study Habits for Long-Term Academic Growth

Updated: Jul 10, 2023

Looking for strategies to achieve long-term academic results? Find out how implementing a few healthy study habits can help boost your academic performance and results.

The absolute key to becoming a high-achieving student is to remember that studying more does not always mean that you get better results. Studying smarter is much more effective than studying harder. Also, learning how to study smart early on so that you can acquire the skills that you need to excel in high-stress situations is incredibly important and valuable, especially in your senior years or when you finally head off to university.

Woman writing on a sticky note with an open binder on her work table

You will find that most students, especially in their senior school years, have not managed to develop effective study habits. However, smart study habits are essential if you want to reach your academic potential. As a result, you will often hear about students not submitting their drafts, leaving their work until the last day and pulling all-nighters. If this is you or you know someone who faces these difficulties, do not be discouraged and do not give up. Keep working hard and try your best to incorporate a few of the seven healthy study habits listed below and you will undoubtedly see the difference in the way you approach studying and the results that you get.

1. Create a weekly schedule and plan out your study time

Whether you use your calendar or you create your own Excel spreadsheet and planner, block out specific times of your week and dedicate it for studying.

Consider your extra-curricular commitments and add them to your weekly schedule. Make sure that you also include at least a half-day or full-day of no studying in your week. This is absolutely key to maintaining a healthy and balanced lifestyle while still remaining productive.

In addition, it is recommended that for primary students, each study session lasts at least one hour. However, highschool and senior school students should study for a minimum of two hours at a time to ensure that there is enough time to dive deep into content, to practice questions and to ensure that what you are studying is being absorbed and understood.

2. Create a study checklist

A study checklist is a list of all the important topics and ideas that you need to learn or revise. This list is what your study sessions will be based on and it should be a concise and organised checklist that is easy to read and follow. If you are reaching assessment time, it would be wise to break down your assessment task into smaller steps or goals so that you can clearly what you need to get started on.

For example, if your English assignment is to write a persuasive speech, your first four steps might look something like this:

  • Research and select a topic

  • Write my thesis and three body points

  • Find two pieces of evidence for each point

  • Research examples of persuasive speeches and take notes of interesting ways to hook the audience

On the other hand, if you are currently learning about cells in Biology, you could write:

  • Draw a diagram of a eukaryotic cell and label all structures

  • Compare and contrast eukaryotic and prokaryotic cells using a Venn diagram

Note how goals at the top of the list are required to effectively meet the goals below. Your checklist should always be structured in a logical order that makes sense to you, almost as if you are teaching yourself a topic point by point, step by step.

Altogether, having this checklist on hand will ensure that your study sessions are effective and productive.

Sticky notepads with written reminders on a brown wooden table

3. Create your perfect study space

It is very important that whenever you are studying, you are in a space that feels comfortable yet productive. It is not recommended that you study in your bed as it will be hard to stay focused. Try to find a clean study space with good lighting, gather all your notes and place your phone on silent. Remember to grab a glass of water and make sure that you have eaten a light snack beforehand, but not too heavy as you might get tired. In addition, try to study offline as much as possible so that you can stay on task.

Studies have also shown that if you keep your study space consistent every day, it will also increase your productivity.

4. Take great notes

Whether you are learning something new in class or you are revising content, start by identifying the message or point that is being taught. Then, try to connect the ideas that you have learned together. You can either draw a mind map or use diagrams to help you remember it better. Note that handwritten notes are generally more effective than digital notes for most people.

Overall, being able to take great notes that are concise, easy to understand and remember, will benefit you greatly in the long run. It will not only cut down your revision time if you remember to do it as soon as you learn it in class, but it will help you commit knowledge to memory much more effectively. Lastly, please remember that everyone learns differently. Knowledge retention can be maximised through a variety of learning methods such as pictures, mindmaps, videos, self-made revision tests. It is up to you to find out what works best for you.

5. Make use of other resources

During this day and age, the Internet is your best friend. Whether you are stuck on a question, struggling to understand a concept, studying for an exam or writing an essay, you can freely access unlimited resources online that can help you with what you need.

YouTube is particular great for explaining and understanding concepts, especially for maths and the sciences. You can usually find examples of questions that are quite similar to what you are learning at school. From these tutorials, you can pick up on the steps shown and apply it to your learning.

For written assessments such as speeches, essays and reports, try looking up examples of the assessment type you are doing. For instance, if you are writing an analytical essay about Romeo & Juliet, there are plenty of example essays out there that can give you great ideas for how to structure your writing or elevate your introduction to make it more interesting. In addition, reading the analytical points that other people have come up with can sometimes give you great ideas for your own essay so that you can get more marks for your analytical skills.

6. Learn to ask questions

It has often been said and repeated many times that asking questions is the fastest way that you can get answers. As far as personal studying and researching goes, asking your teacher directly about something that you are confused about will help you much more in terms of your grades and your academic performance. But why is this the case? Well typically, your teachers are the ones who are writing your exams and creating your assessment so it makes sense that they will know what level of knowledge you need on certain topics and what they expect from you.

High school students cheering happily on an indoor volleyball court

7. Stay healthy and motivated

Nothing is more important than your own personal health. This does not just include your body and getting enough physical activity, but it includes making sure that your mind is . Mental health is a significant factor that can make or break academic progress. Ensure that when you are not studying, you are regularly getting enough fresh air and diving into your hobbies. Recreational time has been shown to re-energise your mind and help it unwind. It not only helps to reduce stress, but it gets you into the right mindset so that you are ready and motivated for your next study session. Getting at least eight hours of sleep every night is also crucial if you wish to have enough energy to focus and effectively stick to your study plan.

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