SAIM College

5 tips for college students to develop good study habits

Have you ever thought what sets apart the most successful student in college from the average ones? Some students are able to accomplish academic achievements with good GPA despite putting less time and effort in their study. On the other hand, there are students who appear to be bookworms, study all the time and still, they struggle to pass the exam.


What is the secret behind the most successful students? Is it related to IQ and genetics, or there is some secret sauce behind that?


Well, success is a choice and depends on how badly you want it. The key to success for the majority of college students is their study habits rather than intelligence and talent alone. Many studies show that the direct relationship between study habits and good academic performance. Study habits incorporate different skills such as time management, discipline, hard work, and organization. As you develop good study habits, studying and learning will be fun and easier.


In this article, we share useful tips for college students to develop good study habits. You’ll see a major improvement in your academic success if you develop the habits outlined below:


Discover your learning style


A learning style refers to an individual approach to learning based on your strengths and preferences. Knowing your learning style is important to develop good study habits and study more effectively.


Our brain process information in three main ways: sight, hearing, and touch. Two educators (Fleming and Mills) studied how the human brain learns best and they popularized the concept of learning style called the VARK model that tells about four types of learners.


Visual learners- (learn via visual formats such as pictures, movies, diagrams, chart, maps)


Auditory learners- (learn via listening, discussion, talking, questioning, recalling)


Reading and Writing learners- (learn via making lists, taking notes, reading textbooks)


Kinesthetic learners- (learn via examples, experiment, practical exercise, cases, trials and error, hands-on activities)


A visual learner learns best when information is presented visually. They are more interested in learning through videos, pictures, graphics and mind maps. Similarly, auditory learner tends to learn better by participating in class discussion and listening to lectures. In the same way, the best practices for the kinesthetic learner is to write down when studying and use the computer to boost learning.


Each student learns differently. However, there is no evidence that one size fits all, particular learning preference that suits all students. Many students tend to learn best by incorporating multiple modes of learning style. But if you know your learning style, you can learn smarter, not harder and make significant differences in your study.


Prioritize your time to study


As a new semester begins, many students set study goals with high expectations. They think about being successful in their studies, however, they lack an attainable plan. Time-bound study goals and consistent routine help achieve their academic ambitions. The duration of a course is fixed and if you don’t pay attention; the semester will end before you know it. For many students, this may seem overwhelming, but you have to manage your time effectively to do well in your educational journey.


It’s much easier to accomplish your study goals if you break them down into smaller, more achievable goals. Always set your study goals and accomplish them during each study session.


Once you start studying, try to eliminate all kinds of distractions like social media, phones, chatting, gossips and noise to achieve most from your time.


In order to develop good study habits, you need to be proactive and schedule your own study times. For example, use daily/weekly planners to schedule assignments, tests, papers, field trips etc. You can separate time for each subject and use reminder apps or other planning apps on your cell phone to stay on top of everything. Otherwise, you’re more likely to miss your assignments’ deadline.


Always remember, not all the plans go as smoothly as you expect. There are unforeseen obstacles in the way, and you have to be flexible. You must get on your track and follow your daily, weekly study goals and make effective use of your time.


Review your notes


It’s easy to forget what you’ve studied if you don’t apply the knowledge. There is no benefit of taking notes unless you review it. Studies show that students forget 95% of what they learn in colleges after 3 days. That’s why it’s important to not only take notes but also review them in order to retain what you’ve learned.



  • Review notes every day after college class.

  • Review the week's material every weekend and test yourself.

  • Read and review notes before each class to recall information from the previous class.


Reviewing notes is the best way to remember what you’ve learned over the long term, but you need to this more often. The goal is to develop good study habits and get a better understanding of knowledge. These practices allow students to remember context better and make easier in the examination.

Use study group

A study group is a great way to develop good study habits and make learning fun.

When you study by yourself, you are limited to a single viewpoint and your own ideas. However, studying together in a group allows you to discover different viewpoints on the same idea. You might be good at your study methods and understanding, but study groups allow you to get new perspectives and solve problems effectively.

For instance, having group discussions with other members may bring thoughtful disagreements on subject matter that allows you to see things from different perspectives and come up with more ideas. For students, they are equally effective for completing the project, developing presentation and preparing for an exam.

By joining a study group, synergy happens, resulting in better outcomes compared to individual performance. Each group member tends to excel in certain subjects, they can share their insight with other members who are struggling to learn those subjects. Therefore, group members exchange their knowledge and help each other to become proficient and also learn better from each other.


Don’t cram for an exam

Cramming is the most common approach to study for many college students. They procrastinate until the last hour, wake up all night and try to review as much as possible in terms of preparing for an exam. Maybe, you are quite familiar with that!

Unfortunately, cramming is inefficient and it impairs your brain performance. Research shows that cramming results to lower productivity and emotional distress.

The best way to study is to develop a regular study routine and stick to it. Instead of studying intensively for a long hour, you need to study for a short time period and take regular breaks. This approach of study becomes more productive and helps you succeed academically.


To sum up

  • Studying is a skill that requires practice and good study habits.

  • It is best to review notes immediately after class.

  • Breaking the study time into a half-hour study session is effective.

  • Using all three learning channel maximizes your learning potential.

  • Schedule your study time in a daily planner.

  • Join a study group to maximize your study time.


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