Resources › For Students and Parents Great Solutions for 5 Bad Study Habits Share Flipboard Email Print Study Tips for Better Grades Introduction What Kind of Learner Are You? Quiz: What's Your Learning Style? Study Strategies for Every Learning Style Tips for Kinesthetic Learners Tips for Visual Learners Tips for Auditory Learners Why Math Is Hard for Some Learners Creating Your Study Space How to Create an Ideal Study Space How to Make a Small Space Productive for Studying Best Pandora Stations for Studying Best Spotify Stations for Studying Essential Study Skills How to Find the Main Idea of a Passage How to Use Sticky Notes to Remember What You Read Why Taking Notes in Class Is So Important How to Outline a Chapter How to Make Vocabulary Flashcards Breaking Bad Study Habits 5 Bad Study Habits and How to Fix Them How to Avoid Distraction and Stay Focused Quick Fixes to Improve Your Grades When to Study How Long Should I Be Studying? How to Study for an Exam in Two Days How to Study the Night Before a Test How to Cram for a Test How to Prepare for Different Kinds of Tests How to Study for Objective Test Questions How to Study for Fill in the Blank Tests How to Study for Multiple Choice Exams How to Study for Open Book Exams By Grace Fleming Education Expert M.Ed., Education Administration, University of Georgia B.A., History, Armstrong State University Grace Fleming, M.Ed., is a senior academic advisor at Georgia Southern University, where she helps students improve their academic performance and develop good study skills. our editorial process Grace Fleming Updated July 03, 2019 Have you ever wondered how you can bomb a test after studying for hours? A poor test result after many hours of faithful studying is a real confidence buster. If this happens to you, it’s possible that your current study habits are failing you, but you can turn them. The process of learning is still a little mysterious, but studies do show that the most effective process for studying involves highly active behavior over a period of time. In other words, to study effectively, you must read, draw, compare, memorize, and test yourself over time. The following study habits are least helpful when used alone. 01 of 05 Taking Linear Notes Linear notes are lecture notes that students take when they attempt to write down every word of a lecture. Linear notes occur when a student tries to write every word a lecturer says in sequence, like writing a rambling essay with no paragraphs. You may be wondering: How can it be bad to capture every word of a lecture? It’s not bad to capture every word of a lecture, but it is bad to think you’re studying effectively if you don’t follow up with your linear notes in some way. You must revisit your linear notes and make relationships from one section to another. You should draw arrows from one related word or concept to another, and make a lot of notes and examples in the margins. Solution: To reinforce information and to make it sink in, you must also recreate all your class notes in another form. You have to revisit the information and put it all into a chart or shrinking outline. Right before every new lecture, you should review your notes from days past and predict the next day’s material. You should reflect and make relationships between key concepts before you sit down for a new lecture. You should prepare for your exams by creating a fill-in-the-blank test from your notes. 02 of 05 Highlighting the Book Are you guilty of highlighter abuse? Reckless highlighting is the root cause for many bad test grades! Bright colors on a page make a big visual impact, so highlighting can be deceiving. If you highlight a lot as you read, it may seem like a lot of good studying is going on when that is not the case. Highlighting does make important information stand out on a page, but that doesn’t do you much good if you don’t follow up with some meaningful active learning with that information. Reading highlighted words again and again is not active enough. Solution: Use the information you highlight to create a practice exam. Put highlighted words onto flashcards and practice until you know every term and concept. Identify key concepts and use them to create practice essay questions. You should also develop a color-coded highlighting strategy. Highlight new words in one color and new concepts in another, for example. You could also highlight separate topics according to a color code for more impact. 03 of 05 Rewriting Notes Students rewrite notes under the assumption that repetition is good for memorization. Repetition is valuable as a first step, but it’s not that effective all alone. You should rewrite your notes in the shrinking outline method, but follow up with self-testing methods. Solution: Switch class notes with a classmate and create a practice exam from his/her notes. Exchange practice exams to test each other. Repeat this process a few times until you are comfortable with the material. 04 of 05 Rereading the Chapter Students are often encouraged to re-read a chapter on the night before an exam to reinforce what they’ve learned. Rereading is a good tactic as a last step. Just like the other study habits mentioned above, rereading is only one part of a puzzle. Solution: Make sure to use active steps like charts, shrinking outlines, and practice tests and follow up with rereading your chapter. 05 of 05 Memorizing Definitions Students spend a lot of time using flashcards to memorize definitions. This is a good study method, as long as it’s a first step in the process of learning. As students progress through the grade levels, they are expected to progress in cognitive skills. Once you've exited middle school, you can't expect to do well on an exam by memorizing the definitions to terms. You must learn to memorize a definition and then define the significance of the new vocabulary terms you encounter. If you're in high school or college, you should be prepared to explain how terms are relevant in the subject, compare them to similar concepts, and explain why they matter at all. Here's a real life example: In middle school, you might learn to memorize the definition of propaganda.In high school, you might encounter this as a term, but you'll need to memorize the definition and learn to recognize propaganda materials from World War II and other times.In college, you should be able to define propaganda, come up with examples from the past and from today, and explain how propaganda has affected different societies at different times. Solution: Once you have memorized the definitions of your terms, give yourself a short essay practice test. Make sure you are able to define a term and explain why it is significant. Be able to compare and contrast your term to something or someone of similar significance. The act of testing and retesting yourself somehow makes the information stick.