Student’s Handbook: How to Break Bad Study Habits?

Have you ever wondered why, despite your best efforts, your grades just don’t seem to align with your academic expectations?

This discrepancy often points to underlying bad study habits, which may quietly chip away at your academic potential. Considering this, recognising and tackling these habits is essential for reshaping your study routines into a more productive framework.

To help you out, we've outlined some of the best studying techniques and tips that can help you break free from these common pitfalls and achieve academic success.

1. The Procrastination Predicament

Do you often say, "I'll just start tomorrow," only to find that exams are suddenly upon you? This pervasive bad study habit significantly impacts academic performance, not just through lost time but by escalating anxiety and degrading the quality of learning.

Cramming a semester's worth of material the night before an exam is not just stressful; it's significantly less effective than maintaining consistent, organised study sessions.

To escape this cycle, try implementing a realistic study schedule that fits your daily routine, ensuring you tackle a bit of your workload each day. Moreover, breaking down your studies into small, achievable goals can transform an overwhelming task into a series of victories, making procrastination less tempting.

2. Distractions Dilemma

Among the common pitfalls students encounter during study sessions are distractions—particularly technology. It’s so easy to get pulled into a loop of scrolling through social media or trying to conquer just one more game level.

However, when you mix study sessions with these distractions, retaining what you've learned becomes challenging. This is because your mind isn't fully focused; instead, it's juggling between tasks.

A practical studying tip to break this bad habit is to set up a study zone that’s free from all the digital buzz. No phone, computer, or TV—just your study materials. Additionally, consider timing your study sessions; for instance, dedicate time of uninterrupted focus to your work, followed by a well-deserved break, perhaps a quick game or a scroll through your feed.

This approach helps balance your academic responsibilities with leisure, allowing you to enjoy the best of both worlds without compromising your learning quality.

3. Cramming Catastrophe

Isn't it frustrating when you cram all night for an exam only to draw a blank once seated in the exam room? Cramming pushes too much information into too little time, which may lead to academic stress, burnout, and forgetfulness.

Instead of this last-ditch scramble, consider adopting spaced repetition—this studying technique involves reviewing material at regular intervals, ensuring better retention and less stress.

Moreover, regularly revisiting topics not only enhances your understanding but also secures the best possible results by building stronger, more lasting connections in your brain, making it easier to recall information during exams.

4. Ineffective Time Management Tactics

When poor time management takes over, it often results in unproductive study sessions, where you organise notes or handle minor tasks more than actually learning. To counter this bad study habit, consider implementing the Pomodoro Technique—organise your study time into focused 25-minute blocks, each followed by a 5-minute break, similar to the method mentioned above about timing your study sessions.

Using this studying technique, you can manage your time more effectively and enhance focus and retention. This targeted approach ensures that every minute spent studying is optimised for maximum learning efficiency, making it one of the best ways to improve academic performance.

5. Lack of Goal Setting and Planning

Not setting clear study goals may lead you anywhere but your intended destination. This lack of direction can lead to disorganised study sessions, decreasing motivation and efficiency.

To keep on track, set specific objectives for each study session and reward yourself upon achieving them—perhaps with your favourite bubble tea.

Following this studying tip not only helps boost your motivation but also provides you with tangible milestones to look forward to, giving you a sense of satisfaction as you achieve your study goals.

Step Up Your Study Game with illum.e

Overcoming your bad study habits with these studying tips doesn't just help improve grades—it sets the foundation for lifelong learning excellence.

At illum.e, your trusted Ministry of Education (MOE) registered tuition centre, we're dedicated to helping you master these studying techniques to transform your unproductive study habits from ineffective to efficient.

Whether you’re striving to meet the Junior College (JC) cut-off points for the school you aspire to attend, or you’re aiming to excel in critical analysis and persuasive writing with detailed General Paper (GP) notes, we provide the guidance and resources you need to transform your study strategies for success.

Take control of your learning journey—register with illum.e today.