10 Habits of Effective Students

Have you ever given any thought into what the key 10 habits of effective students are?

For some students these habits are natural steps that don’t require any thought or effort but for the majority of students they often need to be learned and developed in order to assist with learning.

For students who put the following habits into practice they will see not only their knowledge and learning increase but usually their results as well!

Here are my 10 habits of effective students:

  1. Making the most of class time – this is vital for students to use their time wisely in class in order to listen and learn from the teacher.  They should also complete any necessary work set in class too. By using this time they are then less likely to have to finish off tasks at home unless it has been additional work set for homework.
  2. Being effective with their time both at school and at home – it is important to have an idea of how long tasks will take to complete.  If students are unsure they should ask the teacher so they can use this as a guide.  By knowing this, students can then find and allocate the necessary time to work on the tasks.  Being prepared and using time wisely assist a student to ensure the work they complete is the best they can do and is not rushed.
  3. Organising Students - image of a student asking a teacher for helpBeing a good self advocate – this involves asking questions and seeking/learning from feedback.  A teacher should be seen as being on a student’s team and there to support them with their learning.  The key to increasing the chances of learning information is to seek help as soon as a student realises they don’t understand something.  As well as this it is important for students to self reflect when they receive feedback on their work to learn and make changes moving forward.
  4. Being an independent learner – this is someone who not only completes the work set but then finds time to practice/revise as they go.  Learning takes more than just attending class and completing set tasks.  This is a particularly important habit for students to develop and then have down pat by the time they reach the senior years at school.
  5. Focusing when learning – this includes not getting distracted or procrastinating both at school or at home when having to complete work.  Students who are aware of when and how they get distracted or procrastinate are more likely to be able to stop it occurring.  It is important to have tools and strategies in place to assist like removing distractions and having a plan of what they are going to work on, for how long and prioritise tasks.
  6.  Avoiding the ‘ illusion of knowing – students need to have regular and active revision habits and don’t confuse reading with studying (this is passive).  Too often students feel they understand the subject content only to find in test or exam situations it abandons them.  The ‘illusion of knowing’ is when a student thinks they know something but in actual fact they don’t.  By just reading notes a student feels they know it as it is familiar to them but it doesn’t mean it has made its way into their long term memory.
  7. Organising Students - image of the forgetting curve graphRegularly reviewing what they learn – to ensure learning sticks it is important for students to review and reinforce what they learn as soon as they can after learning it.  If they don’t make any attempt then they will remember less and less of it as the hours, days and weeks go by.  Our brains actually assign greater importance to repeated information.  Therefore the more regularly a student does this they will see the information they learn strengthened in their long term memory and the chances of forgetting it decrease.  To learn more visit the BLOG on The Forgetting Curve.
  8. Spacing out study sessions and don’t cram – successful students typically will space their work out over shorter periods of time.  They rarely cram all of their studying into just one or two sessions or complete at the last minute.
  9. Having a goal for what they want to study/practice or revise – students should work out what it is they want to achieve during a study session and set about achieving it.
  10. Working smarter and not harder – they have and follow a plan that schedules specific times on top of their current workload to study/practice or revise their work.  Students who just do it when they feel like it or don’t do very often at all typically do not perform as well as students who actually make time to do it.

Naturally a student has to make changes towards making these 10 habits of effective students become reality but it won’t happen over night.

My advice is to pick 1-3 and focus on putting them into practice successfully before focusing on making more habits.  To sum up, I think you will like this quote that a student told me recently – “I have habits I need to get out of and habits I need to get into.”  This is applicable for most students don’t you think?

To learn more about our role in supporting students and ensuring they have the skills they need to succeed please get in touch.