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    Study habits: the 7 best (and easiest)

    Who I am
    Robert Maurer
    @robertmaurer
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    What if your study habits were the real problem?

    You try new techniques, you look for ninja strategies, you get stuck that you can't memorize or repeat or skimming, you convince yourself that you need complicated and esoteric tools ...

    But the reality is that the solution, or rather, a very important slice of the solution, lies in a series of very simple actions, made with care and consistency.

    With this I do not want to belittle the more sophisticated study techniques, which, among other things, I speak very often here in the GetPersonalGrowth blog.



    However, they must be inserted on a substrate of simple, effective, consolidated study habits.

    I have many readers who cannot stay on the books for half an hour without getting distracted, who do not do programming, who procrastinate by always reducing themselves to the last ...

    And who hope to fix these problems by continually seeking new methods and strategies.

    Unfortunately, that's not how it works: the same methods and strategies that are supposed to save them need in turn time and energy to be learned.

    And so, look, they also need good study habits.

    So think of your study method as building a building: you can make it as elegant, bold, as big as you want, as long as it rests on solid foundations.

    And these foundations are your study habits.

    Here are the 7 best.

    1. Study at the same time and in the same place

    Our brain is easily conditioned.

    You give him a stimulus, you associate it with an action, repeat N times, and him it will gently get used to it to the thing.



    Then:

    • If you study one day in the classroom, one day in the kitchen, one day at a friend's house ...
    • If once you start at 15pm, another at 17pm, and you often don't start at all ...

    Here, for your brain, making the effort to start studying will always be a novelty.

    And therefore you will be listless, easily distracted, not very determined.

    If, on the other hand, you (almost) always use the same time slot and the same place, after a while, at that time and place, the desire to study it will practically trigger automatically.

    2. Whenever you study, do it with a plan in mind

    That is, start each session with clear ideas about:

    • What are you going to study
    • How long
    • With what kind of output

    This study habit it allows you to be more productive, to learn how to make predictions, to constantly measure your results.

    A plan doesn't have to be anything complex, just a sentence like:

    “In the next two hours, I will study chapter 3 of the biology book; I will integrate it with the lecture notes; I'll take a 5 minute break in an hour; in the last 10 minutes I'll do a super-synthetic cascade pattern to review tomorrow "

    It already makes a huge difference to whoever just sits down, opens the book and starts reading.


    But, of course, you can also make plans a little more detailed.

    Using for example strategies such as:

    • Keep a diary
    • The Ivy Lee Method
    • Le to do list

    3. EVERYTHING you need, NOTHING what you don't need

    Books, notes, highlighters, notebooks, pencils, slips, sheets of paper, flashcards ... before starting to study, check that you have everything, and that it is everything neat, close at hand and in the right place.


    At the same time, avoid anything that has nothing to do with studying, starting with your phone of course. (See the article on digital minimalism).

    Imagine your study station like an airplane cockpit: complete but essential.

    And imagine yourself as the pilot who triggers the take-off procedure checking every aspect of the situation according to a precise protocol.

    You'll see that:

    • have an orderly place
    • check everything you need
    • know where everything is
    • remove any possible sources of distraction

    it will save you a lot of time.

    Most importantly, it will revolutionize your mindset, making you feel in control and prepared to study.

    4. Summarize what you have studied

    We have seen some good habits on how to get started studying.

    Let's see now one on how you should end up.

    At the end of each study day, take 10-20 minutes to summarize it briefly, making a local mind on it what have you studied and what have you learned about.


    This will allow you to put your ideas in order and, consequently, to improve both understanding and long-term memorization.

    I find it especially helpful to do this exercise on one of those large magnetic boards that every student should have hanging around the house.

    So it will remain under your eyes until the next day, or until you cancel it.

    One last thing: if you study multiple subjects in one day, do this recapitulation session at the end of each of them, do not concentrate them all at the last.

    And give each of them a specific space on your board.


    5. Not a day without a line

    "Nulla dies sine linea" - Not a day without a line - was the motto of the painter Apelles, the Leonardo da Vinci of antiquity.

    In our case, it means dedicating at least some time to study every single day

    In addition to being one of my obsessions, so much so that I talk about it very often in the blog, it is also one very effective study habit.

    The reason is simple, and I'll explain it to you by reversing it.

    When you don't care about something, whether it's the gym, college or a relationship, it is rarely done suddenly, from one day to another.

    Instead, it is usually the result of a process in which, progressively, it slips towards the disengagement.

    You skip a day, then two, then a week, and at some point you find yourself completely disconnected from what was once your goal.

    Studying at least a little every day will prevent this from happening.

    Attention: it is not necessary that the study is always intense.

    On Saturdays and Sundays, for example, you can dedicate even less than an hour in total to them, just to plan the next week.

    The important thing is that there is, in fact, at least one line: also a symbolic act of presence.

    In this way you always keep studying at the center of your interests and goals, which makes everything else easier for you.

    6. Test what you have learned

    The knowledge you acquire by studying, will be verified sooner or later: either on examination or in life.

    You might as well start doing it yourself, getting used to constantly testing what you study.

    This testing can take many forms: from asking a question about a topic you have just tackled to completing an entire exam simulation.

    At all levels, however, the benefits of this study habit are immensi:

    • Constantly asking you questions, stimulate understanding of the text. After all, if you think about it, whatever we study is the answer to a question that someone has asked before us
    • By challenging yourself with the active recall strategy, i.e. by repeating pieces of lessons after studying them, better - and much better - memorization.
    • By simulating the exam modalities, you prepare yourself to give your best and decrease your anxiety level. (How and why it is important to simulate the exam from day one, I talk about it in detail in my article on how to prepare a public competition).

    7. Go to class

    It is one of the most important study habits for a university student, but I left it for last because, unlike the previous 6, it does not apply to all students.

    For working students, for example, it is objectively impossible.

    As well as for all those who study as self-taught, that is not framed in a school.

    This is the case, for example, of those who prepare a competition or those who study for their own personal interest / pleasure.

    Let's put it like this: if there are any lessons and work doesn't stop you from following them, absolutely go there.

    Going to class can seem, especially with some professors, a waste of time.

    And many people say to me "if I stay at home I make my day better". So I know well that the habit of going to class can seem controversial.

    However, it has undeniable advantages:

    • You can take notes in an intelligent way and have a first contact with the subject (of course, there are the transcriptions, but do you want to put in well-done notes with the speed of studying?)
    • It makes you aware of the teacher's quirks and preferences, which it can help guide the preparation (how many times does it happen, especially to those who don't go to class, to study the wrong material?)
    • It is interesting and socially and intellectually stimulating (you just have to find the right groups)
    • It makes you feel part of something more important and keeps you psychologically attached to the university environment

    Maybe because I liked going to university and I built the most important personal relationships of my life there.

    Maybe sometimes I'm a romantic and I'm happy to think I'm part of a centuries-long tradition.

    The fact is that for me the University is one of the educational places par excellence.

    Being registered without going is a real shame.

    Study habits: Conclusions

    As I said in the introduction, the good study habits are the indispensable foundationi also of the most sophisticated methods and strategies.

    From them then, you can really learn to do phantasmagoric things.

    But they also have another side that makes them really important: I'm your lifeline in moments of crisis.

    I'll explain what I mean, because in my opinion it is a very important point to understand.

    There are times, in study as in life, when you get into trouble and everything seems to go wrong

    In those moments, the worst thing you can do is look for complicated solutions, because it is very difficult for you to manage them.

    Instead, you have to go back to the basics, to simple things.

    To what I call the "few but clear ideas".

    They don't allow you to do amazing things, but they get you out of trouble, they put you back in the game, they bring you back safely and safely downstream.

    Whenever you go through a difficult time, take a deep breath and then:

    • Show up every day, at the same time and place, with a simple and clear plan.
    • Tidy up your place, bring the right tools with you, avoid those that distract you
    • Before ending the day, take stock of the situation and give yourself some feedback
    • Test yourself often

    And you will see that not only will you go to sleep peacefully, but before you even know it things will start to go much better.

    Power of simple and good study habits. A greeting. Anthony

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