Good study habits will help you get better grades in college, they also provide lifelong value for your intelligence, health, and memory. Here, we’ll discuss different actions you can take to improve your studying skills, your motivation to study, and your overall success.

Change Your Environment

A study by John Hewitt, a neuroscientist and director of the Institute for Behavioral Genetics at the University of Colorado, challenged the idea that genes were the determining factor in intelligence. He went in with the belief that if your parents are smart, then you will likely be smart. At the end, he found quite the opposite. Hewitt admits, “It may well be that the environmental boost you can get, or the detriment you can suffer through adversity, may indeed be a little more important at a critical period in adolescence than I had previously thought.” He goes on to explain that younger minds are more open to learning, so you must provide them with an environment that encourages it. By surrounding yourself with an environment conducive to learning, you can foster the chance for academic success. Simply attending college is a significant step in boosting intelligence.

Pro Tip: This article in the New York Times reveals some fascinating research into the best conditions for learning. It recommends you change your study habits often. “Instead of sticking to one study location, simply alternating the room where a person studies improves retention.

Change Your Heart

An Australian study found that for every hour a 12-year-old spent studying or reading, their chances of high blood pressure fell by 19 percent. On the other hand, TV and video games led to higher blood pressure. The belief is that those who study regularly build confidence, the ability to prioritize, and an understanding of balancing free time, which helps ensure you’re making the best decisions in your life, including your health.

Pro Tip: Study or read at least once per day, even on your days off, as it can help keep blood pressure down.

Change Your Memory

If you’re having trouble remembering, you might want to add a rhyme or a tune to the facts. A recent example of this was created by Tapas Mukherjee, a doctor at Glenfield Hospital, who after realizing that 55 percent of nurses and doctors at Glenfield were not following hospital guidelines on the management of asthma, released a funny music video outlining them. After it went viral with the staff, results came back at 100 percent compliance.

Pro Tip: Music and rhymes are an easy way to make ideas stick. If you’re struggling with a complicated topic, have a little fun with it, and create musical methods to master the details.

Change Your Focus

Much like an athlete alternates between skill, strength, and speed training, you could also switch from math to science to reading in rapid succession. Or, rather than devote two hours to reading, you could divide up your time by reading quietly, then watching a video lecture, then reading aloud. These frequent changes will stimulate your brain and improve your memory.

A reward system can also help improve focus. It could be something as simple as a single piece of luscious gourmet chocolate or a latte at your favorite coffee shop after you’ve spent a certain amount of time studying. Or it can be as audacious as a weekend getaway after keeping a paper or project on track and on time.

Pro Tip: For all the time you dedicate to book learning, make sure to keep it dynamic and interesting. Set up a reward system to help foster concentration. 

Overcome Procrastination

There is some truth to the cliché that time flies when you’re having fun. Researchers have found that having a goal you’re excited about makes activities much more interesting. Taking an “achievement-oriented action,” in fact, is a much stronger motivator than mere satisfaction.

By definition, any time you study, it’s an “achievement-oriented action.” Remembering this point will help you reframe your mental attitude. View your studies as one more item you get to check off on your to-do list rather than as something odious that you have to do.

Pro Tip: If distractions are an issue, you can find lots of cool tools to help. For Example, try Self Control. It’s the anti-distraction app that lets you set a study time and block certain websites you know will distract you.

As you can see, a good study habit can make you smarter, healthier, more creative and more productive. Start by spending a little extra time considering the methods you’re currently using for studying and how they may be impacting your life, then consider the various ways you can improve your study skills.

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