5 Bad Study Habits Every Student Must Avoid

The difference between a high school and college exam is drastic. In high school, I will admit that I was one who brushed off tests, exams, quizzes, readings; you name it.

I didn’t care to take the time and study. High school was easy to not completely fail tests but get an amazing grade because extra credit could easily be granted. But I cannot emphasize this enough about how that behavior will not and cannot be accepted in a college class.

The first midterm or finals week can be daunting. It may seem impossible to study for four or five classes in just a week. And it’s true that it is very difficult to do so but definitely not impossible.

However, studying isn’t the hardest part of studying. This sounds weird and possibly misleading but many obstacles and distractions happen when studying. Try to avoid the following:

1. Procrastination 

procrastination - do itWaiting until the night before your exam is one of the worst ideas you can do in college. Many students him-haw around thinking that they know the material already and just need to refresh really quick. But when the books are open, it turns into the end of the world.

In high school, exams were given frequently to ensure you know the material of each chapter—or something along those lines. We don’t get that luxury in college. Exams make up your grade. To be specific, most classes only give two or three exams— midterms and the final.

Cramming a whole semesters worth of information (which is a whole year’s worth of material in high school) into one night will set you up for a loss. Manage study time in advanced of busy testing weeks. Start studying a little each night a week or two before an exam. This will help you not become over-stressed and help retain the information as well.

2. All-Nighters

college student all nightersAll-nighters have been a very popular way for college students to study their first year. This is the most ineffective approach and most likely will back fire. I have personally pulled an all-nighter. I studied the entire night until my 7:00 a.m. final. I dragged my caffeinated-self across campus hyper, tired, and confused all at the same time. It resulted in getting my worst test score of the semester. But the worst thing was going back to continue more studying, completely empty and sleep deprived.

The body needs sleep in order to function properly. No sleep will increase stress levels, weaken concentration, decrease the immune system, and could result in an emotional breakdown. Getting sleep before an exam is necessary because of these factors. The information studied that night will be retained as well. Late nights are better than no nights at all.

3. Coffee Overload


High school taste buds might mature (or have already) into liking coffee. Coffee is a wonderful drink to keep someone alive during long extensive study hours.

Those who don’t like the bitter taste will resort to any energy drink. Whatever form it comes it, caffeine is sometimes essential for studying.

However, besides the health risks that have been preached upon about caffeine, it can also turn out bad for the night and the exam day.

As I mentioned before, staying up all night to study for an exam is not a good habit. By drinking too much caffeine, well, it might be unavoidable to not sleep because your body is wired on Red Bull. With the overload of caffeine, the amount of sugar taken in can do a number on the stomach.

That same night of pulling an all-night my first semester, I made several (yes, several) large pots of coffee. My friend and I consumed cup after cup until the break of dawn. I was use to coffee at that point but my friend wasn’t as fortunate. After being awake the whole night, we went to our exam where he ended up sprinting out of the lecture hall to vomit.

Everyone’s bodies react differently, but don’t risk failing an exam because your stomach is all knotted up from too much caffeine.

4. Study Parties

study with friendsThere is nothing wrong with studying with friends. Taking a break and talking is a great way to cool down your brain. There is an extreme downside to studying with friends though. Having a big group might result in a little party. A group of friends can end up going to a study location but end up not studying at all because they spent the whole time talking.

Figure out what friends are best to study with and who know how to get work done. I also recommend keeping it to a few people and not have everyone on your Facebook congregate at one table.

5. Facebook

It’s 2013; of course every college student has a Facebook account and most likely goes on it religiously.

avoid facebook

Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking sites are the biggest distractions a student faces during finals week—actually, throughout all of college.

I have all of my notes in my Mac book, something that never leaves my side. But while studying, this gives full advantage to ignore the flashcards, the highlighting, the reading, and the writing, to take a “break” and go on the good ole Internet.

I’ve mentioned that breaks are good once in a while. But going on Facebook for 10 minutes will turn into one hour. That time will never come back.

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Gina Stolzman

Gina Stolzman

Gina Stolzman is a senior at University of Iowa pursuing degrees in Journalism and English. Having a passion for food, she loves cooking and visiting restaurants. Besides cooking, you’ll find her reading, catching up on TV shows, or hanging out with friends and family. She is an enthusiastic Chicago fan. She devotes herself to “da” Bears, Blackhawks, Bulls and White Sox.