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Beating bad study habits in 2008

January 1, 2008, 9:03 am

Happy New Year to all of you out there. For those of you about to start back to school (I don’t until February thanks to our January Term), Study Hacks has five bad study habits to swear off in 2008. Here’s a clip from the first one, which is “Studying Without a Plan”:

Do you still use “study” as a specific verb? For example, as in: “I’m going to go study, see you in 12 hours.” If so, you’re in trouble. “Study” is ambiguous. No one can “study.” What they can do is specific review activities, such as “convert first month of lecture notes into question/evidence/conclusion format,” or “quiz and recall study guides 1 to 3.”

I can’t recall the number of times a student has come to the office, having done poorly on a test or other assessment, and plaintively says “…but I STUDIED!” To which I reply, “OK, so tell me what you did.” And there’s often a stunned silence — because to those students, “studying” means something very passive and unintentional. Students — and teachers, who should be helping students learn the right ways to “study” — would do much better to provide concrete overall goals for learning, broken down into doable, concrete tasks.The other four are Skipping Class, Using Rote Review, Studying After Midnight, and Not Taking Notes on Your Reading. Go read it all.

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