Grant Ferguson, Director of Studies at Collège Alpin Beau Soleil, shares with us his top tips for students to establish lifelong study habits.
1. Build vision
Students should have a vision beyond assignments, grades, or school itself. When we have a vision borne of passion, study transforms from obligation to opportunity; it brings purpose. Are you striving towards a goal, to help others, to gain important skills? Identify the “big picture” that motivates and dream big.
2. Leverage time
We cannot increase hours in a day, but we can make time more valuable. Start by maximizing time during class. Listen and participate. Focusing at school reduces time needed for external study. Outside of school, meet learning goals by making monthly, weekly, and daily study schedules. Plan short lessons, studying no longer than fifteen minutes before switching subjects or activities. This keeps you alert and refreshed. Short lessons significantly improve retention.
3. Create a healthy environment
Keep study enjoyable with an environment conducive to learning. Daily life is inundated with screen time, so study offline when possible. Reduce distractions by having two or three pleasant study spots. These should have good lighting, comfortable seating, and easy access to the resources you need. Also, create a foundation for success by eating well and getting plenty of sleep.
4. Teach others
Research shows that students who tutor others score higher on exams. Reflection and repetition enforce learning. Share your knowledge with friends and family.
5. Balance life
Life is much more than just study and work. Imbalance leads to exhaustion. Balance study commitments with other interests and passions. Take walks in nature. Read great books. Practice that instrument or language you have been wanting to learn. Make balance a practice now, and you will find that studying becomes not merely a seasonal effort for school, but a way of learning for life.
Conscientiously practicing these study habits will lead to effective learning and success at school as well as in life. Keep in mind that it takes approximately six weeks to form a new habit. Work steadily at these practices, and you will find that after several weeks they simply become part of your daily journey — a pathway to lifelong learning.