Being a good student in school, college, and the university is more than just getting good grades. It takes discipline and it requires skills that in the beginning don’t seem that important but in reality will set you up to tackle most problems that might come up in the future.
These abilities that you learn that make you a good student; being organized, time management, always having the tools you need, knowing where things are (most of the time), among others, that you will carry with you throughout your life.
One of the first things you need to do is to create a space where you feel comfortable studying and doing your homework. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but there are a few things that are quite important for it to actually work.
For example, it should be as quiet as possible, it should have plenty of light (preferably sunlight), a clean and tidy surface and furniture that will make you feel comfortable and won’t cause you back pain or any other stress on your body.
Once you have that study space set up as your place to work, it’s important to prepare everything you need.
If you sit down to study and then realize that some of the materials are in another room or even in your backpack, that means that you have to interrupt what you’re doing and get up and find what is missing, and this can really break your concentration and it might be difficult to get back to where you were.
So, before you actually sit down and start studying or doing homework, make sure that you have everything you need on your desk; pencils, pens, textbooks, calculator, paper, notebooks, etc.
When you sit down to study, avoiding any type of distraction is a must. It’s very hard to focus when there are people fluttering around you or the TV is on or there’s a radio playing, creating unwanted noise that will draw your attention and make your studying and homework time less effective.
For some people, actually having background noise helps them focus better, and if that’s the case for you, just make sure that it won’t cause a distraction.
The next step is to create a study plan. In order for this to actually work, it has to be one that is realistic and that you can really stick to. It’s no use creating a plan that is impossible for you to go through with; it will frustrate you, and it will cause unnecessary stress.
One of the things that can make or break a study plan is your attitude towards it. It is vital that you develop a calm attitude and be patient with your learning rhythm. Remember that everyone has different learning paths and methods, and nobody ever learns something new straight away.
A mistake that everyone makes at least once in their lifetime as a student is to stay up late studying. It has been proven time and time again that a lack of sleep really prevents you from concentrating properly and it reduces greatly the amount of content that you remember.
Having a clear schedule of your classes, deadlines, and any other important dates is also very important. With that in mind, part of that schedule should be the time that you will dedicate to studying and completing your homework and assignments. This will help you with time management and it will avoid those last minute rushes and panic attacks.
It’s also a great idea to put together a study group, it makes studying much more fun and effective since you can quiz each other and learn things from your peers.
Another thing a lot of students forget to do is to take frequent breaks. Your brain and body need to relax and unwind. You can go for a walk, ride a bicycle, or just hang out with your family and friends. You will notice that when you do this your mind freshens up and you actually feel an urge to finish your work.
Tackle the hardest part of the assignment or the hardest topic first. This will get it out of the way and if you need more time to work on it, you can take it too.
Critical reading skills are vital for anyone that is trying to become a good student, reading comprehension and the ability to learn to read for key information can make the difference between a cumbersome and winding road to knowledge or an effective and straight path to the end goal.
Finally, it is never a bad time to ask for help, either to your teachers, classmates or tutors.