4 Crimes of Studying

Studying is annoying. You’re forced to put in massive amounts of time and effort into study sessions that can last for hours on end yet the return on such a massive investment isn’t what you thought you would get.

Chances are, during your 8-hour study session at the local library that you’ve committed some study crimes that may have lost you crucial marks in your exams.

Unfortunately, not many people actually realise they are committing these crimes and so I’ve detailed 4 of them below:

Crime #1: Textbook skimming

Everyone is guilty of mindlessly scrolling through their Facebook newsfeeds barely registering that new viral video or a cute picture of your friend’s dogs. Now take this image, and replace Facebook with a textbook and the pictures with text and diagrams.

This time, with your textbook you have a highlighter in your hand and start colouring in your page like you were back in year 3. However, by the time you reach page 10 you realise that nothing you’ve read about cationic compounds actually makes sense or has entered your brain so you go back and repeat the process again.

Reading a big chunk of text is an incredibly ineffective way of absorbing new information. Instead of using passive learning methods by highlighting your text book, you should aim to use active learning methods such as writing notes about what you’re reading, or learning the same information through another source such as a teacher or tutor.

In my opinion the best method for active studying is to write really condensed and summarised notes that only you can understand and decipher. This will force you think of what you’re reading as well as summarise it in your own words. Since you’re interacting with what you’re studying you’ll be studying actively rather than passively.

Crime #2: Socialising disguised as group study

Group studying is essentially socialisation disguised as study. Sure if it is done properly it can be an incredibly effective tool for learning and to plug the gaps in your understanding of the content. However, chances are group study never actually accomplishes what it is set out to do. Instead it turns into a massive gossip/socialising session where a study into banter is conducted rather than chemistry.

Luckily for you, with a couple of quick fixes, you can focus on more studying a less socialising

  • Fix 1: Don’t study with your best mates. This way you won’t be distracted into talking about TV shows or whatever. Furthermore, choose the smartest people in your class to study with so that you can be certain of getting work done.
  • Fix 2: Use a mediator. Select one person to act as a mediator so that when the conversation goes off topic they can step in and put an end to it.
  • Fix 3: Choosing good places to study. Choosing a place where you can’t talk so easily is a good place to restrict any off topic conversation. A really quiet library such as te state library is a good place for group work.
  • Fix 4: The Pomodoro technique. Set a timer for 25 minutes to work at max productivity and then leave 5 minutes to go off topic. Requires some self-discipline but overall a really useful technique for individual and group study.

Crime #3: Feel good study

Indulging in a bit of confidence boosting activities never did any harm right??

Nothing feels better than knowing that you completed obliterated a set of practice questions. Then just to make sure you understood the concept you choose another set on the same topic, and another and another creating an endless cycle of ego stroking and confidence boosting.

However, though you’ve completed X amount of questions on the topic, anything after the first set of problems was just a waste of your time, because you didn’t actually learn anything new from doing it. Practicing what you know and understand is easy, but the real challenge lies in tackling the unknown.

Thus, the fix to this crime is very simple. Focus on your weaknesses instead of your strengths. This will make your study more effective in that you’ll be able to attempt more questions properly in the exam leading to the potential for more marks.

Crime #4: Multitasking

­Despite how many things you can do at once; true multitasking is a myth. Huh? But I can Instagram, text and watch TV all at the same time, isn’t that multitasking?

No. True multitasking is doing each of those activities at 100% focus. The next time you try doing all of those at once pay attention to how much focus you give all three of those things at the same time.

Believing that you can multitask is possibly the biggest time-waster of them all. If you think you can pair your homework or studying, then I wish you good luck cause you’re going to need it.

It is guaranteed that your efficiency or the amount of work you get done is going to decrease once you start multitasking. So to combat that use apps that block completely block the internet or use the Pomodoro Technique from before to help develop self-control and discipline towards studying.

Overall, committing these crimes are nothing new and you’re not going to be the last one to commit them either. However, you should try to fix them before they get any worse by taking a proactive approach to your studying and implementing the fixes suggested here. The equation to success is fairly simple Work Correctly = Higher Marks. With the appropriate work ethic focusing on the right areas you can be certain of success.

If you are not so sure where you can improve your studying or if you happen to be struggling with something in either Maths or English then contact us below.



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