I repeatedly see students exhibiting poor study habits. Mainly I see students with a book propped up in front of them; propelled by the idea that reading is sufficient to pass their exams. They spend hours with the textbook, hoping that something will absorb into the brain.
There are many online articles that give good studying tips but there is nothing like repetition to help develop good study habits. Therefore, each week I will post a different tip on how to develop good study habits.
Tip # 1: Get Your Rest, Nourishment and Exercise
If you plan on ‘burning the midnight oil’ and studying all night, forget it. Study when your body and mind are rested. A student needs 8 hours of sleep per night. You might be able to stretch it to 6 hours, but our minds are not alert when we are short on sleep. Having said that; too much sleep is not good for you either. If we sleep too much, our minds become sluggish and dull. Plan to get up at a reasonable time in the morning like 6 or 7 AM, have a light breakfast and then start to study. If you are in school during the mornings, try to study in the early afternoon. Try not to study too late at night when you are ‘brain dead’.
A balanced diet is also important during study time. Although the average person will burn only about 45 calories per hour while studying, being stationary at a desk does not mean you should not eat. Limit the amount of ‘junk food’ you consume and eat meals that include fruits (juices), vegetables, bread products, some meat and milk products. Limit the intake of carbonated drinks and coffee. Yes, coffee does keep you awake, but you need to balance that with nourishing meals. You may even want to have smaller more frequent meals with a fruit or vegetable snack in between meals. This will keep your energy level high.
Don’t forget to exercise. Studies show that exercise increases the oxygen and blood flow to your brain. Exercise also produces chemicals in the brain that help with cognition. When we have enough oxygen flowing to our brain we are better able to concentrate, memorize, plan and problem solve. To achieve high academic scores we need to concentrate, memorize, plan and problem solve. Do you want good grades? Then exercise.
So what do you need to get good grades?
1) Rest so your mind is sharp and able to concentrate on the subject at hand
2) A proper diet so your energy levels remain high
3) Exercise so you get enough oxygen to your brain