Ultimate Study Routine: Five Do’s and Don’ts
Picture this: John Citizen (not his real name) is a 10th-grade student with the majority of his grades falling between B’s and C’s. His study routine consists of basically highlighting pages of his textbooks, taking long breaks almost every five minutes, giving up on studying and playing video games instead, and then followed by sleeping at a late hour due to the continuous scrolling through his phone. Oftentimes, he forgets his assignments and ends up doing them at the last minute, which reduces their quality. He says when he studies, he can recall the information during his tests. But after he’s done with it, everything just goes to the trash folder in his brain, like they never existed. His parents and teachers know that he has the potential to do much better because he participates well in class, but he doesn’t know what exactly to fix. Does this sound familiar?
Usually, students would only think of the end goal when they’re studying, which is achieving high grades and finishing all tasks so they can have their own free time. In the aforementioned case, the student is able to finish all his assignments and study for his tests, but isn’t able to get a grade higher than 85% and his ability to retain information is not the greatest. This can be attributed to his study routine, which consists of numerous distractions and impractical habits, such as mindlessly highlighting his textbooks without understanding concepts. Here are five important do’s and don’ts to have the ultimate study routine.
DON’T: Study in Bed
Yes, it’s important to have a comfortable area to study in, but studying in bed can become too comfortable and just lead to taking a nap rather than studying. In addition, we associate relaxation with being in bed. So studying in bed will create a disruption to that association in our brain and make it harder to fall asleep later at night. Not to mention, studying in bed creates a bad posture that not only can disrupt focus but develops back and neck pain in the long run.
DO: Set Up an Appropriate Study Area
Whether it is an office room, bedroom, or even at the dining room table, assigning a study area that is quiet, clean, and comfortable is necessary in order to stay focused while studying. It’s also important to turn off electronics such as phones and video game consoles or remove those distractions from that room. Like the saying goes, “Out of sight, out of mind.”
DON’T: Cram Everything at the Last Minute
Time can seem like it’s moving slowly at the beginning of the year and students may put off doing tasks thinking there’s plenty of time to do them later. When all of the sudden an overwhelming amount of homework and tests have piled up and now they are out of time.
DO: Have a Study Schedule
With a study schedule, students can mark due dates that can guide them on prioritizing tasks and planning ahead for future assignments and tests. Keeping track of the schedule from the start of the year is key to avoiding procrastination and cramming at the end of the year.
DON’T: Pull an All-Nighter
The majority of students would believe that increasing the amount of time spent studying means they can achieve a better result on tests. In reality, staying up all night to study will make it even harder to retain and recall information because the brain and body have not had sufficient time to relax and restore.
DO: Sleep for 8 Hours or More
While it can sometimes be difficult to have eight hours of sleep every night, it’s still important to have sufficient sleep. However, committing to the study schedule and making sure to go to bed at the same time every night, can help in being more productive during the day and being able to absorb information more efficiently.
DON’T: Deprive Yourself of Taking Breaks
Not taking a break from studying, in order to have more time to study, is actually counterproductive and would just make it more difficult for the brain to process information.
DO: Take Breaks
Try scheduling breaks after finishing a certain amount of pages, chapters, or every 45 minutes. Sometimes a five-minute break will suffice, but up to an hour can help reenergize the body and prepare it for the next study session. Study breaks can also be as productive as study sessions. In order to avoid distractions for longer periods of time, you can instead stretch your body, reorganize your study space, or have a healthy snack, such as nuts. Nuts such as pistachios and almonds have been proven to “enhance cognition, memory, recall and rest” (Loma Linda University Adventist Health Sciences Center, 2017).
DON’T: Overthink and Stress About Grades
Perhaps the most important thing to remember is to not overthink what grade you will attain in the end. While it’s normal to worry about it initially, it’s important to not let it take over your life. Eventually, excessive stress can lead to a weak immune system and disrupt healthy brain development (Cornell University, n.d.).
DO: Have a Positive Mindset
People usually overlook the fact that making mistakes is all part of the learning process. When we recognize our mistakes, we are able to identify what needs to be changed and improve upon them. Having confidence in understanding your strengths and weaknesses is critical to identify these mistakes. This will, in turn, reduce stress and provide you with better time management to relax and schedule free time. Allow yourself to have a few days off to relax, enjoy other hobbies, or socialize. Establishing goals to fix bad habits and improve studying skills is a critical step in the right direction to a sound and proficient study routine.
So what happened to our 10th-grade student, John Citizen? In our story, he was initially quite skeptical, thinking that it wouldn’t have a great impact on his grades or future studies. But he decided to give it a try and apply these techniques to his study routine. After a few months, not only has his grades significantly improved, but he found himself more motivated to study. And the most important advice to him was to have a positive mindset.
These new skills that he had combined into his study routine, became long-life assets that he continued to use at university and his future career. If your child is having difficulty creating a structured study routine, try implementing the methods in this article so that they begin to enjoy their studies with positivity and succeed to higher levels than they had previously accomplished.
Written and researched by: Jumana Raggam,
- (2019, May 28). The Do’s (And Don’ts) Of Studying More Productively. GradePower Learning. https://gradepowerlearning.com/how-to-study-more-productively/
Cornell University. (n.d.). Study Breaks & Stress-Busters | Cornell Health. Retrieved September 17, 2021, from https://health.cornell.edu/about/news/study-breaks-stress-busters
Loma Linda University Adventist Health Sciences Center. (2017, November 15). Consuming nuts strengthens brainwave function: Researchers find that nuts benefit the brain by enhancing cognition, memory, recall, and rest. ScienceDaily. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/11/171115091809.htm#:%7E:text=strengthens%20brainwave%20function-,Researchers%20find%20that%20nuts%20benefit%20the%20brain,cognition%2C%20memory%2C%20recall%20and%20rest&text=Summary%3A,and%20other%20key%20brain%20functions