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11 Bad Study Habits To Avoid… And Become A More Successful Student


female student studying at library

Your child just brought home his or her latest test results—and they’re not as good as you hoped.

Your child studied the material…so what happened?

It’s an issue that many students and parents have faced. For many students, the problem comes down to ineffective study habits.

Dealing with Poor Study Habits

Becoming a more successful student starts with taking a look at your child’s current study skills. Identifying problem areas (or areas where your child can use a bit of a boost) can help you start addressing any problems.

Finding the best way to study for your child is an ongoing process—and there is no one right answer. But there are some study habits that every successful student has that your child can use to reach his or her full potential.

Learn how your child can break bad study habits and start building more effective ones to become a more successful student.

11 Bad Study Habits To Avoid…And How To Fix Them

  1. Starting a study session without a plan
  2. How to fix it: Before your child starts studying, create a study plan that outlines what your child should accomplish in this session. Help your child set a goal for each study session, such as which concepts he or she should be able to explain, or how many pages of an assignment he or she will write.

  3. Waiting until the last minute to start an assignment
  4. How to fix it: Write down when all assignments are due, and plan with your child when he or she will work on each. Start assignments at least a week before they are due, and work on completing them little by little. This will help make them less overwhelming, too.

  5. Spending hours studying, but not getting anything done
  6. How to fix it: Learn which part of the day your child is most productive and do most studying then. For some students, the morning hours are when they are sharpest and ready to learn. For others, studying at night is when they work best.

  7. Being distracted by social media and cell phones
  8. How to fix it: Turn off the cell phone and sign out of social media accounts. Save checking in on Facebook or sending that text to a friend for a study break—or even better, when your child has finished studying for the day.

  9. Studying in front of the television
  10. How to fix it: Choose a low-traffic spot in your home where your child can study away from distractions. Make this a spot that is specifically used for studying. This will encourage your child to get down to work quickly. Avoid your child’s bedroom if possible—this space should be saved for relaxing and sleeping!

  11. Trying to cram for tests the night before
  12. How to fix it: Start studying early and study a little bit each night. Reviewing the material over a longer period of time will help your child remember information better, and help identify any areas that need some extra review time.

  13. Not asking the teacher for help when you don’t understand
  14. How to fix it: Each night, spend a couple minutes reviewing and reflecting on what your child learned in class that day. Make notes on anything he or she didn’t understand that your child can take to the teach for extra help.

  15. Studying to remember, instead of studying to understand
  16. How to fix it: Instead of just memorizing material for a test, encourage your child to connect it to other things he or she has learned. Make a mind map your child can use to relate information and develop a deeper understanding of the material.

  17. Never using an agenda
  18. How to fix it: Set a goal for your child to use his or her agenda every day for a month. Write down the dates of projects, tests, and homework assignments. Once your child gets in the habit of writing everything down in his or her agenda, he or she will find it easier to remember and plan to complete assignments on time.

  19. Keeping disorganized notes
  20. How to fix it: First, organize notes from each subject into their own folder. Then, start practicing how to take more effective notes. Try out different note taking methods, and help your child choose one that works best for him or her.

  21. Not learning from your mistakes
  22. How to fix it: Successful students learn from their mistakes. If your child gets a bad mark on a test or assignment, encourage your child not to give up. Use the experience to figure out where your child can still improve and make a plan to do better next time.

Need help building better study habits? Learn more about our Study Skills tutoring programs and contact an Oxford Learning location near you today!

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