How to Develop Good Study Habits

Growing up I never really liked studying. this was especially so in primary school and in the first part of high school. In part I was rather lazy and preferred to bury myself in books… books such as Billy Bunter, the Chronicles of Narnia and just about anything by Enid Blyton. The other part of the equation is that I didn’t have very good study habits. I just didn’t know how to study effectively and so it took me twice as long to really understand my schoolwork. I especially hated math which was ironic considering that my mother was a math teacher. However, things did turn around for me. There were two significant points in time that actually helped me immensely to become a much better scholar.

The first of these incidences happened when in primary school I came home with a less than stellar math report card. My mom took one look at the report and declared that it was ridicules that I would come home with such grades when there was a math teacher in the house. That school vacation she began to tutor me in math. What was interesting was besides that fact that I was actually paying attention (its my mom so how could I not pay attention), her style of teaching was very different from the other math teachers I had in the past and many to come. The lesson I learned here and this was reinforced years afterwards in my other classes, a good teacher can make all the difference. This is true not just at school but also in all areas including at work. There are those who are really smart but when it comes to teach or explain a concept, they do a really poor job leaving students and/or the audience lost and mystified.

The second significant incident happened years later while I was in boarding school. The boarding school I went to for the last half of my high school experience was really, really strict. For example, if your socks were not pulled up, or your tie was not straight, you would immediately be called out during the morning assembly and sent to detention right after. The school performed well academically and that was in part due to the fact that every day (except Saturday) after dinner there was mandatory study prep time. This was from 7:00 pm to 9:30 PM. Lights out was at 10:00 PM. Students were woken up at 5:00 to do chores till breakfast. The final year students were exempt from the chores however they had to go to class and study till breakfast time. What I found out after about two to three weeks of this routine was that once it had become a habit, studying like this was actually fun and easy to settle into this sort of routine. I suppose it also helped that in a rural boarding school in Kenya, there were no disruptions like TV, Cable, Internet, Facebook, etc. The lesson learned here is that setting aside a timetable that you stick too and creating a routine free of interruptions and disruptions will help you develop better study habits. The key is that the first 2 or so weeks will be akin to a stumbling block but once you get over the hump then the rest becomes a lot easier. I believe this concept can be applied to anything you would like to get better at, for example getting an exercise routine to keep in shape and/or lose weight.

These two concepts outlined above will help you go a long way towards attaining your goals of developing better study habits.


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