How to develop good study habits in college

Maybe high school was a breeze for you, maybe it wasn’t. Whether you hit the books every waking moment or never saw the inside of the library, it is a whole different ball game compared to college and odds are you picked up some bad study habits.

It's never too late to develop good study habits. (Credit:

It’s never too late to develop good study habits. (Credit:

Ditch those bad habits in the new school year and get on the right track for college with these helpful tips for good college study habits!

Facebook & Friends

If you were being truly honest, you know that checking Facebook while studying isn’t the best idea. An April 27, 2011, post on, “Your Worst Study Habits & And How to Break Them!,” advises weaning yourself off Facebook breaks by setting “Facebook breaks in between study intervals that get longer and longer each time.”

But did you realize that studying with a group may not be helping you any, either? It is very easy to start chatting and get way off focus with a large group of friends. When it comes to the study group, proceed with caution. Skip the large gathering altogether, and if you simply must schedule a session, keep it to a single friend. Consider a trial meeting first to get a feel for how focused your study partner will be. You don’t want someone else’s bad study habits to bring you down.

Create good study habits now

Procrastination—we’ve all put off a paper or other assignment, for good reasons and bad. Creating good college study habits definitely requires you to stay focused and efficient with your time. Jennifer Wiliamson wrote in a September 27, 2010, post for, “Five Tips for Breaking Bad Study Habits,” that the key to stopping chronic procrastination is making an assignment seem more manageable.

“Most students procrastinate on large projects because they seem so big and overwhelming,” Williamson writes. “To combat this, break the project down into small—and doable—chunks. You might get stressed even thinking about writing a twenty-page paper, but if doing two pages per day doesn’t freak you out, set that as your goal.”

The project organization and time-saving research tools at can also go a long way toward helping you learn more and improve your study habits. Questia’s research-designed focus helps you stay organized, a proven way to create good college study habits.

Surprising research

A September 7, 2010, post by Tom Scocca for, “Good Study Habits Are Bad Study Habits (Bad Study Habits Are Still Bad)” offers this surprising tidbit about focusing too intently on one subject courtesy of a study on fourth graders, “The children who had studied mixed sets did twice as well as the others, outscoring them 77 percent to 38 percent. The researchers have found the same in experiments involving adults and younger children.”

So don’t be afraid to mix things up during your next study session. You may find that you retain the information better when it comes to your next class or test. The post also highlighted research that found studying the same information in two different locations helped students learn more.

Environmental factors

Where you study can have a big impact on your study habits, too. If the environment you are studying in is too loud — i.e. roommate blasting a Real Housewives marathon — find another spot. Same goes for studying in a room that is too cold or too hot. Part of developing good college study habits is figuring out what works best for you. So if you need a little music in the background, play on. If you like to study in your favorite sweatshirt, turn the thermostat down. Or if you really do better comparing notes with a friend, find that focused study buddy. As suggests, creating a ritual helps you set “up psychological cues so your brain knows it’s time to get to work.” And that is what the point is, right?

Want to learn more about learning styles and theories? Check out Questia—particularly the section on educational theory

What other good study habits do you recommend to college students? Share them with us in the comments!

3 replies
  1. Larry (Lorenzo Bernardotto - It.) says:

    My personal method. Well, when I’m studying American history, environment is “very important”. Thus, my “office” are the hills where I don’t meet anyone, that is, “complete solitude”. But, most important, it’s … to associate “what you are studying” with an “event”, so you can “remember it”. For example: War of 1812 began on June 18, 1812, when the United States declared war. At this point, “how to remember June 18, 1812”? Well, it’s 3:00PM now, I’m reading my book and at the same time I’m also “lacing my shoes”, that is, “the historical data” and the “event”. It’s 5:00PM (two hours later) now, and I’m wondering (book closed): “When the United States declared war?”. Well, I can remember now: “June 18, 1812”, because two hours before “I was lacing my shoes”. This method is working, at least for me. It also should be working for young students.

  2. Leong Siew says:

    Once you start your classes in a good college or university, you would definitely want to come out with flying colors in the end. The tips mentioned in this article to develop study habits will help you to complete your studies with ease.

  3. John Smith says:

    Thank you for sharing great tips. I like environmental factors section in the post as it can really help people to develop good study habits. It also helps in figuring out what works best for you.


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