That article is about Study Habits for Success in an Online Degree Program. Proper study habits are essential to succeed at any form of education – study hard, study regularly and study efficiently. But there are some differences when studying for an online degree than when studying for other types of education.
The main difference comes in the level of dedication and motivation that you need to maintain when you are studying by yourself and for yourself. Myriad studies show that social situations and the sense of competition they provide can be a booster to study habits – you want to do better than the student sitting beside you. Those same social situations, though, can also set you back – you want to go out and party with the student sitting beside you.
When studying for an online degree, you are the one responsible for your surroundings, your study habits, your social time and your level of motivation. Without a decent level of motivation, you are fighting an uphill battle when you set a goal to obtain an online degree. So here are some strategies that others have found helpful when studying for an online degree:
While students at a brick and mortar university may face more distractions in the form of their schoolmates and social gatherings, you will probably face more overall distractions when studying for an online degree. You can be distracted by the demands of your career, your domestic chores, your friends and family and all the other daily requirements that so many people less motivated than yourself use as excuses not to pursue online degrees.
This can work to your advantage, though. Students studying off line can’t tune out the others around them or the party in the dorm room across the hall. With effective organization, you can work toward creating the perfect study atmosphere to meet your personal study habits.
The following tips are suggestions, not rules. Strict rules for study would just get in the way of the main advantage in online study – the ability to adapt your studies to the life you’re already living. Experiment with what works best for you and adopt those methods. With online studies, you are your own master and you, ultimately, are responsible for your own level of success.
Minimize Clutter in Your Study Area – Clear up books and notes that have nothing to do with your studies. Organize your study materials so you know where they are and can grab them the moment the need arises.
Turn off the distractions – Advise work, friends and family that you are completely unavailable during your allotted study time. Turn off your cell phone, switch off the television set and, unless you are actively using the internet to study, disconnect. Too few are the moments these days when you truly have no digital distractions. With a bit of effort, you can create the atmosphere for yourself that most people don’t have.
Designate a set time for study – If you study every day from, for example, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., you can get others in to the habit of giving you that space to yourself. Make sure you give yourself sufficient time and then don’t step over or under those time boundaries. It will also help fend off that number one enemy of effective study habits – procrastination.
Apply Your Knowledge As You Acquire It
This principle may not be possible in some forms of study but, where it is, it’s one of the most valuable tools in your arsenal for retaining the information you’ve learned. Studying a new language? Use the new words as soon as you have a handle on them. Studying business management concepts? Use the newly learned ideas, at least in your imagination, and apply them to a case study that, ideally, isn’t related to your school work.
Record Your Questions
Keep a separate piece of paper or computer file where you write down questions as they come to you then get them answered as soon as you have the possibility. The questions that you have will most likely impede you in the future if you haven’t addressed them effectively.
Fill in The Gaps
Avoid assigning yourself study related tasks for later. If a question can be answered on your own and would take less than a few minutes, do it now rather than making a note to yourself to find the answer later. Even if it seems to disrupt study flow at first, you will find that it becomes a habit and a smooth part of the studying process. Fill in the gaps as they arise.
The cramming method of study has been tried and tested by almost every student who ever picked up a book and it will continue to be tried by millions of others in the future. You, too, will likely find yourself in a position, from time to time, where you need to cram. After all, life does come up with surprises on occasion.
But do work to avoid cramming. You can consider the short-term memory game as a way of cheating – cheating yourself, that is. The retention of skills and knowledge acquired by this method of studying soon disappears and, although it may help you eke by on that test, it will not help you in your career. Yes, learn to study hard by all means. But don’t do it the night before an exam. Regular, intensive, steady study is the key.
Above All Else – Find Your Study Style
If you choose to ignore any, or all, of these suggestions, more power to you! The most important early step in learning effective study habits is to find what is right for you. Leave on the television set if you are one of the few who finds that steady noise helps you concentrate. Study in your neighborhood café if you find the atmosphere relaxes you and allows you to absorb the information better. The study of your own studying habits may very well be the most important aspect of learning that you face.