It is clear and obvious that there is both effective and ineffective habits of studying while in university. The development of effective and efficient studying methods plays a pivotal role in the success of a student during their time in university. This essay will explore 3 of these effective habits, namely, the organisation of notes and study plans, the identification of a student’s most dominant learning style and finally the ability to attain necessary sleep and rest by a student on a regular basis. From critically analysing several experts in this field and peer reviewed articles, it is evident that these habits aid a university student in studying successfully during their time in third level education.
Firstly, the ability of a student to organise notes and study plans is an effective study habit for a third level university student. There are distinct advantages to filing notes accordingly and structuring a clear study plan. It is evident that steps can be taken to ensure clear organized notes are taken by a student when in lectures, studying and crucially while critically analysing a specific reading. Keeping notes in an organized fashion enables the student to save time searching for notes (Van Blerkom, D. 2011) and allows them to focus on more important tasks. Extensive research has taken place in the field of organization and time management with regards to college students, and an unbreakable link has been established between good time management skills and improved academic performance. (Trueman, M. and Hartley, J., 1996) This particular study also highlighted that planning over the long term, not the short term, enables a student to achieve an improvement in their academic performance. On a similar note, Moran(2018) highlights how short periods of study over a longer time frame allows students to learn more effectively than longer periods of study over a shorter time frame . With this in mind, a study plan is a valuable study tool that successful students use while in university. A study plan enables a student to plan their timetable to effectively study over the long term. The ability to organize notes and establish a clear study plan is an efficient learning method that leads to a university student having a positive academic experience in third level education.
A second study habit used to great effect by successful students in third level education is the identification of his/her most efficient learning style. A learning style or strategy is the student’s preferred method of engaging with learning materials. (Sternberg, R. J. 1994)There are many different types of learning styles and by the time a student has reached third level education most students still haven’t identified their most applicable learning style. The three major learning styles are defined as visual learning, auditory learning and kinaesthetic learning.(Burns,T and Sinfield,S.,2012). A student is able to deduce what their most dominant learning style by taking a short questionnaire online, such as the one found at http://www.ldpride.net/learning-style-test.html. By knowing their most dominant style, a student can incorporate that style into their study plan to allow them to engage with the learning content and to study effectively.(Burns,T and Sinfield,S.,2012). The identification of a student’s most dominant learning style is an effective study habit of a student in third level education as it enables a student to engage with learning materials in the most efficient way possible.
Finally, one of the most ignored aspects of developing effective study habits in university is a student’s ability to attain the required amount of sleep on a regular basis. Studies undertaken that observed first year college students highlight a clear correlation between a good sleeping habit i.e going to sleep early and waking up early, and academic performance. (Curcio, G. et al, 2006). Although correlation does not mean causation, in this instance for first year college students in particular, a lack of sleep affects the student’s ability to recall materials learned previously.( Peigneux, P., et al 2001). These two studies indicate a strong link between sleep and a student’s ability learn and engage with material during their time in third level education. In addition, there are other secondary factors that inhibit learning as a result of a lack of sleep. For instance, it has also been indicated that a change in sleeping habits can incur unnecessary stress implications. (Ross, S.E et al, 1999). Added stress can play a disruptive role in effecting a student’s motivation and ability to study. These peer reviewed articles, written by experts in the field of sleep and academic performance highlight the pivotal role sleep plays in the learning process. Therefore, it is clear and obvious that establishing a good sleeping habit is an effective study habit for successful third level students.
In conclusion, as previously stated, there are many effective and ineffective study habits that students use during their time in university. From critically analysing peer reviewed articles and experts in the field, time management, identification of learning styles and sleep are the key areas that where discussed in this report. Although there are many other factors that contribute to successful and effective study habits, the three habits mentioned above lay strong foundations for effective study in third level education. As previously stated, it was imperative to critically analyse experts in the field to gather evidence and gain an informed insight into the topic of effective study habits for university students.