Whenever we talk about exam success, we are continuously bombarded with the age-old study techniques of sticking to the time, continuously revising and remaining passionate for the studies. I am not saying that these age-old teachings are wrong, in fact, the teachings are universally accepted and tested ones, but the techniques are just taught to be accepted, but not how they can be accepted practically and easily.
Knowledge of the strategies serves as the starting point only, there is a very long way to go after that. To make the learning process easy, you have to integrate these strategies into the daily routine and life. When you do that, it becomes your habit. Do you know what a habit is? A psychological reflection on habits will help you to understand them better and to develop them consciously. Actually, habits are some behavior patterns that we follow on a regular basis. The habits are performed without much mental effort.
There is an extensive psychological study conducted on habitual behavior. The study suggests that any habitual behavior comprises essentially these three things:
(a) Something which causes the behavior (clue)
(b) A habitual response based on the routine you follow.
(c) A reward that helps you to stick to the habit.
Is time taken to develop a habit?
Do you know, the internet is abuzz with various assumptions about how long does it take a habit to develop? In most places, you will find written that it takes merely about 21 days to develop a habit, but this is a myth. There is no fixed span for each and every individual. The habit development takes a different time span for each individual, and it depends on the psyche and strength of each individual. So it may take just 4-5 days for someone to develop a particular habit, and it may take a month by someone to develop the same habit.
I think, we have extensively discussed the habits, but let us now discuss some of the study habits of successful students and about, how to become a successful student in school. Actually, there are some effective study habits and effective study tips, which if included in your daily behavior can become successful student habits. Let us discuss in detail about creating new habits for study success. For this, let us start with 20 habits of successful students.
20 habits of successful students:
I am discussing here 20 good habits for students which can bring them immense success. But for the ease of understanding, I am dividing the list into two parts
(A) Primary Habits
(B) Secondary habits
However, the major habits are dependent on each other.
(A) 10 primary habits of successful students:
Time Management for getting Organized:
See, the more complex the assignments get, the more difficult it is to manage time. If you think that for the best time management you need excessively expert planning, it is not so. If you just pay heed to the finer details about the time management techniques of the successful students, you will find that there are two or three things in common.
The first one is they jot down the points on the paper about which things need to be done at what time or up to what time i.e. they use a planner.
Second is, they keep smaller goals each day to make it easy for them. They do not write on the paper that they need to complete the whole math chapter or series together, instead, they may write that they need to devote at least 15 minutes to the mathematical problem called fractions each day for about 10 days. This is the fragmentation of the goal in small units.
The third one is that they keep a close eye on the clock. If they have decided to pay 15 minutes to the basic math problem, then they will give about 15 to 18 minutes only and not more than that, so that their planning does not become a mess and they don't have to waste the time in planning on the next day also. Wear a clock and check it continuously, is a life habit to cultivate for success in exams.
If you are actively engaging your mind in the studies, it is impossible to multitask physically. This is a very effective study tip that says do not multitask while studying. Checking the mobile for any updates and studying math at the same time is not going to produce effective results. It diverts the mind and you somehow reduce your productivity in the devoted time. Creating new habits for study success and then inculcating them is difficult initially, but this habit of ‘no multitasking' is easy to cultivate for sure. This is how top students learn.
Do not study at the cost of your sleep:
See, the studies suggest that learning students' mind needs at least 8 hours of sleep. It is generally also suggested that one must take 8 hours of sleep. The sleep is said to sharpen the focus and memory. It is the easiest and effective study habit that can be adopted by the students quickly and easily.
Set a schedule:
See, you must have heard different students talking that I am better when I study at night, and some others say that they are better when they get up early in the morning and start learning. For different students, the effective time span when they can study with their full potential and mind power varies. Though it is said that the mind works best in the morning after we take a sound sleep in the night, but if you feel that it doesn't work best for you, you can decide accordingly. Whatever be the time you feel is best for you to set a schedule according to it.
Finding a schedule that works best for you is an achievement and sticking to it is a boon for students. Try it. For most of the students, finding a schedule is easy as compared to sticking to it. But remember, if you somehow stick to the schedule for 20 to 30 days, it will become your habit. Whenever any student asks me how to become a successful student in school, I always suggest them to build a schedule and stick to it as if there is no other day to add to it.
For some, taking notes is just a way to keep themselves engaged in the class, or to show to their teachers how attentively they are listening. Some students even throw-out the notes after the class with overconfidence that they have learned the concept well and they will not need them anymore. But do you know, when exam times roll out, these notes help you to learn the entire concept in no time?
Actually, the notes narrow down the concepts and study matter. This helps you to revise the content when you are in a hurry. This is actually how top students learn.
Some students hesitate to ask a question. The reason may be varied, it may be that they fear that their companions might mock at them for asking such a silly question, or that the teacher might consider him/her dumb to ask a silly question, or for the simple reason of not disturbing the class.
Whatever might be the reason, remember one thing that you are in the school to learn and learning needs a questioning mind. If questions frequently come to the mind of a student, it is a good symbol indicating the active engagement of the students' minds in the learning process. Questioning makes sure that if you have truly learned or understood the concept well or not. This is a student tip for success, which is given by most of the successful tutors from around the world.
Study in a group:
See, parents and students tend to separate the students into two types: Introvert and Extrovert. It is not wrong to categorize, but the categorization must not lead to distinction and lessening of the opportunities. Students, who are more of an introvert feel uncomfortable in a group, as they tend to speak less and found themselves neglected. Some parents of such students always instruct them to stay home and study at their leisure, and some others pressurize them to study in groups so that they may open up and speak. Both ways are actually wrong.
Do not pressurize a student for something which is opposite to their basic nature. But always motivate them to study in a group, highlighting the benefits of it. Even if someone does not talk or open or share their learning in the group, at least they can listen to the talks of other persons in their group. Who knows they may end up getting new insight on the topic or field of study! It's fun to learn in a group. Studying in a group has been found to be one of the best study habits of successful students.
Facing the mistakes with courage and finding the methods to correct them (This is how top students learn):
Facing the mistake with courage is one of the common study tips for exams given by the tutors. We are humans and not machines. Even after planning and organizing, we fail to achieve our goal. This seldom happens with the students. But getting demotivated because of this is really a failure. As said for the sportspersons, they must not dwell on the failure, as it is a part of their game.
The same is the rule for the students. A missed question, a wrong answer, a missed deadline for the assignment submission, etc. cannot and should not demotivate or demoralize a successful student. Facing failures with courage is one of the life habits for success in exams.
Do not take much help from the parents:
This is a lesson for both the parents and the students. Parents are there to help students to work on their own and the parents are not expected to do things for the students. Helping the students with their homework is love for some parents, but this actually a mistake committed by the parents. What is the use of helping a kid to do something which they could do on their own or is expected to do on their own? The level of competence is always enhanced when one works independently.
Do some parents ask that do they just have to sit at a side and observe and do nothing else? Well, it is not so. You must power their thinking and empower them to do things on their own by having some positive conversation and setting an example before them, but you must not spoon-feed them everything.
They know that life is much more than school, but together with it understand how important is the school:
See, academic success is important, but life is much more than it. Most of the parents make a mistake by emphasizing again and again, how important it is to achieve academic success in their life. They put the thought in such a way before their kid that they get an impression, that if they would not be able to get it, their life may become directionless.
Parents are often found saying their kid that if you will not fare well academically, you may end up doing menial jobs like a peon, cleaner, waiter, etc. Don’t you think that you demean these services by talking like this? And at the same time, don’t you think that you are teaching your kid that if somehow you do not do well academically, your life is of no worth?
Students, you need to understand a thing very well, that your identity is not tied to just your performance in grades. It is bigger and greater than that. There are people who will love and admire you even if you fail to achieve any success in academia. This attitude, if possessed seriously by a student, makes them unafraid and helps them to focus on their goal without a fear. Even the failures will not demotivate them. This is how top students learn and face life.
(B) 10 Secondary Habits of Successful Students:
See, we have discussed some major habits that all successful students have. Let me quickly summarize some of the secondary habits any student must try to possess if one wants to become a successful student.
1. Don't use a laptop: Writing with hands helps to make a better memory recall.
2. Study Smartly: Use interactive and newer learning methods like using apps, software, flashcards, etc. for better learning.
3. Keep the right company and roommate: Keeping a good company is of much importance not only for the study but for life as well.
4. Attend more and more seminars: This gives new insights and thoughts on the topic.
5. Eat smart: Eating less or more, or not eating the right food also hinders the performance.
6. Always sit straight: Sitting straight is said to activate the brain cells more.
7. Reflect on the performance: Reflection helps to find flaws and good aspects of the performance, and the learning helps to improve.
8. Get a part-time job (if possible and if you can manage it with studies): It boosts confidence and helps to learn new things practically.
9. Walk more: Do you know walking enhances creative thinking?
10. Learn with active recall: Active recall helps to recall primary information from memory in the best way.
Creating new habits for study success is difficult to stick to, but with time one gets efficiency. Parents just need to give a boost to the positive power and morale of the student that helps to stick to the new study habits, and no one can stop a student from becoming successful.