In my experience as a student and a teacher, I have learned that free advice is easy to come by. Especially when students are in critical junctures of their academic journey, everyone around has something to say. It is difficult for students to separate the good advice from the bad and the ugly.
Here, I bust 3 myths about study habits.
Myth 1: You will learn better if you study in the early morning hours
This is a common piece advice that elders tend to give students when they are in the 10th or 12th grade. It is as if that the other grades are not important. The idea of getting up early and rehearsing stems from the Gurukula system. The environment then was such that everyone had a stipulated time and job assigned. Today, that is not the case. You should select the time of day that is suitable for you personally. It is usually the time when your mind is most active – morning, afternoon, or night. Identify the time and plan your most crucial study hours during that time. The discipline to accomplish most of your learning during your active time is more important. Not what time of the day you choose.
Myth 2: Write it 10 times and you will not forget it
The habit of writing what you have just read helps in building a good rote memory. The number 10 is arbitrary (or just for the sake of saying). Copying text from the textbook to a notebook doesn’t really help.
Writing has to be done after studying, as an exercise in understanding. It should be done purely out of memory – close the textbook. This helps in visualisation of the text and content from the book. Also, you should write the summary of what you studied, in your own words. Even better if you could use different techniques of summarising content – Mind Maps, Charts, Tables.
Through this exercise, you assess yourself whether you understood the topic well enough. If you didn’t understand the content of the book, then writing some portion of the text (10 times or 100 times) is a futile exercise.
Myth 3: Group study keeps one motivated
Group study is a good social well-being activity than a studying activity. If not planned and executed well by a like-minded group, group study is generally a waste of time. Students achieve more alone while studying a topic for the first time. Group study will add value if all the participants are equally motivated to achieve a common goal. This is not generally the case. If you are sincere about getting value out of a group study, plan and execute with discipline. Otherwise, a lot more focus and effort are expended to achieve very little.
These are only a few myths that will hamper students in forming healthy habits. The objective of forming study habits is to consistently accomplish the desired learning outcomes. This means some trial and error will be needed before settling into a rhythm. Also, there are no one-size-fits all habits. You need to figure out what works for you and make it work for you consistently. Seek help from the right sources to form these habits.