Skip to content

Ineffective Study Habits You Need to Give Up NOW!

Updated: December 12, 2023 | Published: March 21, 2017

Updated: December 12, 2023

Published: March 21, 2017

5 Bad Study Habits to Drop and 4 Good Ones to Keep copy

Effective studying is a skill. As such, it’s possible to break down your habits into ineffective study habits versus effective study habits. In an effort to optimize your academic performance, we’ve created a list of bad study habits of college students so that you can avoid them.

Source: Unsplash

Bad Study Habits: Drop Them Now!

Studying is integral to academic life. And doing it effectively is essential for one’s success because often, just earning a degree isn’t enough. Over time, you’ll start to recognize what works for you and what doesn’t.

This list is compiled of ineffective study habits examples so you can assess whether or not you take part in them. If you do, it’s time to drop them so that you can earn better results from your studying efforts!

1. Cramming

Cramming goes hand-in-hand with procrastination. If you want until the last minute to study for a test, then you’ll likely find yourself memorizing facts and information or understanding it. While this could work in the short term, you have to keep in mind that most subject matter is cumulative and builds upon what you’ve previously learned. So, in the long run, you’re doing yourself a disservice by memorizing information at the last minute because what goes in quickly is also likely to be forgotten quickly.
Instead, start by studying a bit every night after class. This way, you can absorb information over time and actually remember what you learn better.

2. Multitasking

While multitasking might seem like a good idea because you feel like you can get several things done in less time, the truth is that you aren’t actually focused. People who focus on one thing at a time absorb more information and are more productive. When your brain is constantly switching between tasks, you are less likely to recall information. You can also wear yourself out more quickly.

To avoid multitasking, make a plan and prioritize what you will do, and study first. Only once you’ve finished the first thing on your list should you move on to the next.

3. Missing Class

Attending lectures, whether it is in-person or online, will end up boosting what you learn. Since you study the material that is first introduced to you during class, you will already have the foundational knowledge you need to understand the material deeply. When you miss class, you’ll also have to spend a lot of time making up what you missed by copying notes or asking your peers about what you missed. The time you spend doing that could be better spent studying and reviewing what you already learned.
The only way to avoid missing class is to go to class! Make note of your schedule in advance so that you can fit in everything around your class schedule. And, if you choose to learn at an online institution, then the great news is you can be more flexible with your schedule. This is especially true if you enroll at an institution where classes are recorded, so you can choose when and where you want to study and learn.

4. Allowing Distractions

Eliminate distractions! Much like multitasking, distractions take you away from what you want to accomplish. This means that you’ll want to set up a dedicated study space that is free of distractions. Turn off your TV, put your phone on do not disturb mode, and get down to business.

5. Inefficient Note Taking

If you’re attending class (as you should be), you will want to take notes. This way, you have reference material to come back to so you can study what you learned in class. If your notes are nonexistent, then start taking them! If you are taking them and they are disorganized or hard to find, then it’s as if you aren’t taking them. Try different note-taking methods to find out what’s best for you.

6. Poor Time Management

Studying takes time, so you have to make time to do it. As such, you’ll want to understand time management to allocate the right amount of time to study each subject. Some time management tips include: prioritizing tasks, setting a schedule, breaking up big tasks, creating rewards, and waking up earlier to give yourself more time in a day.

7. Eating Unhealthily

While it may not seem directly related to studying, what you put in your body will affect how you study. If you’re eating poorly by consuming high-sugar and high-fat foods, you are bound to slow your brain and body down. Wilder Research published “Nutrition and Students’ Academic Performance,” which found that eating trans and saturated fats can negatively affect one’s ability to learn and remember information. Consider packing healthy and easy on-the-go snacks like apples, almonds, greek yogurt, raw veggies, and hummus, or roasted chickpeas instead of high-fat and sugary foods.

8. Pulling All-Nighters

If you’re a crammer, then chances are high that you’ve pulled an all-nighter. As the term implies, it means you stay up all night to study. This is a lose-lose because not only are you stuck memorizing over understanding, but you are also lacking sleep. And, sleep is crucial for the brain’s functioning and ability to recall information.

9. Skipping Breaks

No matter how focused you are when you are studying, don’t forget to take breaks. Breaks allow your brain to digest the information and store it. You also get to use a break to reset your brain instead of burning out from exhaustion. Check out this list of study break ideas that are beneficial to the body and mind.


Study Well to Do Well

How you choose to study will undoubtedly impact your performance. When it comes to test-taking, you may feel anxiety on test day. One of the best ways to alleviate that type of anxiety is to study and prepare as best as you can in advance. When you do so, you can enter an exam with confidence.

In order to feel this way, you should try your best to eliminate any ineffective study habits that you may be practicing. If you find yourself part-taking in many of the listed items above, then pick a few to eliminate to start off on a better path forward. Over time, you’ll be able to build effective study habits to perform at your best!