These tips can make good study habits easy!

The magic grade fairies have been watching you. They know just how hard you’ve been working on that project/homework/study session and they will grant you the exalted, golden A+ of perfect knowledge. Your mental sweat translates directly to superior scores.

Riiiiiight. If you believe that I’ve got some fantastic diet pills that will let you EAT WHATEVER YOU WANT and NEVER GAIN AN OUNCE (HALF PRICE TODAY ONLY GET’EM WHILE THEIR HOT). Good study habits involve a lot more (and less) than hard work during crunch time.

There is no magical connection between hard work and great grades. Let me be as clear as the school parking lot the day after finals; I’m NOT advocating sloth. You must definitely work, but smart work is MUCH better than hard work. Did you know that a professional athlete expends less energy performing a given skill than does a novice doing the same skill? That’s because the pro knows what muscles not to use. The pro knows just how much energy to expend to get the desired results. The novice, on the other hand, uses too much muscle and too much energy which translates to poorer results and more fatigue.

Many good students make the same errors in their studies, especially at crunch time, but a few simple study tips can make a big difference in getting them great grades. Most students put too much energy and power into the wrong things. In the coming days we’ll look at the top five ways students work too hard for less-than-wowing results. Let’s start with …

When crunch time comes, college students start cramming. Cramming to do well on a test or project is like spending four hours in a tanning bed the day before Spring Break. It hurts. It costs you now and later (now it’s expensive and painful, later it causes skin like fried pork rinds and visits to dermatologists). It hurts. The effects will peel away in a few days. And did I mention it hurts?

Cramming during crunch time hurts too. Crunch time leads to cramming leads to PAIN. Failing to use good study habits costs you now and later, and you end up losing more than you gained.

You may spend all night working your keister off (the keister is located just south of the duodenum, if you were wondering). You may actually pass the test without using good study habits. But now your brain is seriously sizzled leading to poor performance on other tests and assignments. You’ve also stored everything in short-term , meaning that all that time and energy will net you exactly bupkiss since you’ll forget it all three days after the test. So next semester, when you are taking the second part of that subject, you’re going to have to learn it all again. Congratulations. To summarize; 20 hours of mind-numbing study + 14 Red Bulls = an undewhelming exam score + the functional IQ of a drunk weasel + zero recall three days later. Nice.

Study Tips for Crammers

Use these good study habits instead. Take that same twenty hours of study and spread it out evenly over the course of the semester; thirty minutes per week day should do it. Study the same stuff, but in small doses. That way it’s not mind-numbing–not even mentally taxing. Now it’s going into long term memory, so three days after the test it will still be there, not to mention next semester when you need it for the second part of the class.

If you’ve done that, then you can apply these study tips. Go watch a movie the night before the test; then turn in early for a good night’s sleep and a prof-impressing performance on that exam the next day. To summarize; (30 minutes of easy study x forty sessions) / over a semester = an impressive exam grade + the IQ of the ideal you + the envy of your friends – that Christmas card Red Bull sends you every year in thanks for your support.

Next time we’ll look at number two of the Top Five Ways College Students Work Too Hard…
Taking too many notes on the wrong stuff


Top Five Ways College Students Work Too Hard

  1. Cramming
  2. Taking too many notes on the wrong stuff
  3. Reading more than you need to
  4. Studying the wrong way
  5. Not taking care of your brain
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