Famous historical figures have demonstrated repeatedly that sustained effort produces successful results. The following well-known figures, sourced from www.planetmotivation.com (n.d.), are just a few examples:
Thomas Edison, the father of electricity created the light bulb after many attempts, 1000 so it is rumoured. He was also told in his early years of school that he was too stupid to learn.
Henry Ford had several failed businesses leaving him broke five times before he experienced the success of Ford Automotive.
Albert Einstein is known as a genius but this was not always his label. It is said he was 4 years old before he started speaking and 7 years old before he started reading. Einstein's parents and teachers thought he was mentally handicapped and he was expelled from school due to anti-social behaviour. Eventually Einstein won the Nobel Price for altering the face of modern physics and he discovered the most well-known formula, E=mc2, which describes the relationship between energy and mass.
The paramount message from these examples is perseverance and determination are key qualities for success in achieving excellent results. If students persevere in completing their studies in bite size, manageable tasks regularly, then many of the issues related to poor study habits are eliminated such as procrastination, not knowing where to start, and the overwhelming feeling of having so much to do.
Once a student is determined to succeed they can develop and apply effective study habits and seek help when required. Success breeds success so once a student experiences the rewards of good study habits they are usually inclined to maintain and fine tune those habits for further successes.
1. Manage your time effectively and plan when you are going to study. Schedule planned study sessions in your diary as you would an appointment. Allocate one to two hours per session. Most people can maintain concentration for 40-50 minutes. Planning a two hour session would require a short break in the middle before completing the study session.
2. Determine the most effective time to study and defend it ruthlessly always ensuring you schedule a study session at this time each day if possible. Some people prefer early morning for concentration others prefer middle of the day or late evening. Time poor students who may also be parents can only use time available to them rather than their preferred time.
3. Ideally, study at the same time each day. Routine is conducive to good study habits. Knowing what comes next in the day helps students prepare emotionally and mentally for the study session and eliminates any off task activity. Creating a consistent study routine is like any other routine such as meals, exercise or housework. It becomes second nature after a while.
4. Set Goals for each study session. Studying without direction is not effective. Know what needs to be learnt and/or complete by the end of the study session and be realistic in your estimation of what can be done in each study session. You may need to allocate more time to difficult concepts or complicated assessment tasks and schedule an extra study session.
5. Complete the most difficult task first or you may continue to avoid it. Start with the most difficult subject or the most difficult assessment, otherwise risk procrastination and poor performance. All other tasks will seem simple once the most complex tasks are complete.
6. Avoid procrastination. Determine why procrastination is occurring. Research shows there are reasons why people procrastinate, such as perfectionism and wanting the task completed perfected, an impossible goal. Another reason students procrastinate is not knowing where to start. The task is so overwhelming that there is an inability to break the task into manageable smaller tasks. A final common reason for procrastination is not understanding the task or what is required of them. The solution to this is simple but difficult for some people because it involves asking for help.
7. Eliminate distractions. Identify time wasters and distractions and recognise you may need to take drastic measures to maintain focus in your studies. You cannot multitask when studying, it is impossible as well as ineffective and inefficient. A common distraction among students is social media. If a student looks at their phone to read a message this can interrupt your focus for up to eight minutes. To regain focus and get back on task can take another six minutes. Calculate four of these interruptions in an hour and that hour of study is lost. Lock the phone away, give it to a parent, take the battery out, if the temptation is so great ensure it is not next to you when you are studying. Use the phone as a reward and access it after your study session. Determine what distractions are a problem and determine ways to reduce or eliminate these problems when you are studying.
8. Use available resources: these resources could be other students, study groups, teaching tutors, library staff, academic support, student services or counselling services.
9. Review work frequently. Review work in a variety of formats. Long term memory is engaged more easily when work is reviewed close to when you first learnt it. Learn concepts in a variety of ways to secure recall of information. For example, put written information in diagram form, visual information is often easier to recall, teach a concept to someone else, it is during this process you will know what you do not understand or cannot explain.
10. Perseverance, determination, persistence, diligence: Many words for the same quality, sustained effort, keep going, especially after failure because that is when you were closest to success.
Personal Excellence. (n.d.). Success is the sum of small efforts [Image]. Retrieved from http://personalexcellence.co/quotes/3483
Planet Motivation. (n.d.). Never quit - Ever!!. Retrieved from http://www.planetmotivation.com/never-quit.html