There are a lot of distractions for students. A lot more, in fact, then there are for high school students. It isn’t just that either. University courses are different from high school ones. Suddenly, students need to take responsibility for their own behavior and their own studying habits. If things go wrong, nobody but the student will often be aware of it for a semester, possibly even two.
In this kind of environment, it’s easy for young people to screw up. Their grades can slip to such a level that even if they work really hard at the end to catch up it might not be enough. And with universities getting more expensive by the year, failing a semester or even an entire year can lead to a lot more debt. Even worse, if they drop out they’ll be left with a pile of debt and no degree.
The best way to counter that is to make sure that students have good study habits. In that way, they’ll be able to avoid getting into situations where they have to play catch up. Even better, they’ll be able to get far more out of the time they’ve got at school.
For that reason, here are some of the best activities students can take to have a brilliant studying process.
Set up a routine
The more abstract a goal is, the less likely it will lead to the desired behavior. For that reason, the best goals are not ‘study tomorrow’ or ‘write the essay tomorrow’ but ‘sit down at nine o’clock’. In a similar trend, you don’t want to create huge unmanageable projects like ‘write on thesis’ as that’s way too big a mountain to climb. Instead, it’s important to create manageable chunks like ‘find four articles’ or ‘write a first draft of the introduction’.
By cutting huge difficult projects into smaller ones which are actually feasible, there is much less danger that students will procrastinate. And as that’s one of the biggest problems students have, this will make a big difference.
Questions are good
Another thing students have to learn to do is ask questions when they’re overwhelmed with something. The first person they should ask questions of is themselves. In this way, an undefined fear can be defined and become less scary.
Of course, that’s only the first step. If the student can’t answer the question, then they shouldn’t be afraid to ask other people. A network of some kind where people help each other out with difficult topics can be useful. If the information isn’t forthcoming there, then the student should feel they can approach the teacher and get help from them.
If a student seems to have a propensity to leave work to just before the deadline and then try to rush through it, a good strategy is to create smaller deadlines along the route. By sub-dividing big projects into lots of smaller ones, they will be more likely to finish some of the work before it is due.
There should be real consequences to them not meeting these deadlines. Otherwise, it will be far too easy for them to ignore them and still miss the whole deal.
A good strategy to follow is to cut a big project into several smaller ones, with the different parts due over the process of the class with grades along the way (and a big grade right at the end). This will not just keep students on track but teach them the value of not procrastinating.
Workgroups can play a similar role. If students are in a group together and they’re accountable to each other for doing certain tasks, then the chance they’ll actually live up to their commitments are going to be much higher.
For example, you have a task in literature subject – write an essay on “Romeo and Juliet”. You can ask professional writers from essay writing service to help or you can get together with students in a group, discuss all the questions of this Shakespeare’s tragedy and try to answer these questions together in your essays. The result will be positive.
To make studying easier make some things harder
In his book ‘the happiness advantage’ Shawn Achor discusses how he helped one executive become more productive by making certain things harder to do. What did he make harder? Well, he made it more difficult for the executive to access those things which he wasted time on, like checking email and his stock portfolio.
In both cases, he made it much harder for the executive to log in and even put the email link in several subfolders, so that it took several steps for the executive to get to them. The exec initially was not impressed, but after a few weeks, he noticed his productivity was much higher.
The reason? Because rather than it only taking one step to get into his email it took several, he was able to stop himself from going there before he did. And when he did that, he was able to keep working on what he was supposed to be doing for longer. This significantly boosted his productivity.
Students should do the same. They should get in the habit of turning off their phones when studying and not having their social media activated on their laptops and tablets. In that way, they’ll have a cleaner working environment which will mean they’ll be able to focus on their tasks for longer.
And that will make them more productive and will lead to them having more brain cells to boot.
We have this idea that we need a lot of willpower in order to be good at what we do. The thing is, research shows that those people who manage to work hard and get far don’t actually use their willpower. Instead, they make sure they have not tempted away from what they’re supposed to be doing. There are several ways they do this.
- They have a disciplined working routine, so they know when they should be working and when not.
- They make sure they can’t be tempted.
- They take responsibility for what they’re doing.
- And they get help when they need it.
If you can instill these very things in your students, then they’ll not just be able to pass your class, they’ll be able to do better at life. And that’s something they’ll be grateful for the rest of their lives.