Have you ever wondered what distinguishes a good student from a mediocre one ? I have. And I have found 7 common mistakes that every student should correct to improve their efficiency and their grades. Here they are.

Mistake #1 : Studying Passively

This one is the most time consuming of the seven. Most students just keep repeating the information with the hopes that it will stick. This is a poor way to learn. In order to study actively, you must try to recall the information without looking at it. If you succeed to do it once, you know it and you can move on.

Mistake #2 : Not Setting A Time Limit

If you don't set a limit to your studying session, it will just stretch until it eats all of your day. Ideally, you should study in short bursts (no more than 1 hour) and set a goal for each one of them.

Mistake #3 : Starting To Study Too Late

This mistake leads to long days and all-nighters of work. It is best to spread your study sessions over weeks than cramming all of your courses the day before. This way it will stick longer and you'll have much less stress.

Mistake #4 : Taking Passive Notes

The goal of the process of note-taking is not just to transcribe what the teacher says on your paper. If you do this, you'll have a hard time at home to go over all of your notes and you'll waste a lot of time. You should process and understand the information the first time you encounter it. Nothing goes on your paper unless you understand it.

Mistake #5 : Studying In Groups

When we are in a group, the temptation to chat is too high for this activity to be viable. You should do the majority of your work alone and only when you have a problem you can't resolve on your own should you ask a friend for help.

Mistake #6 : Not Understanding One's Courses In Their Globality

What happens when you know perfectly how to derive a function but don't know what is the use of it or even when to do it ? You can't adapt your knowledge to other problems and you get a bad grade. You should watch for connections between the ideas you learn in a course, what is the bigger structure and what is the place of every concept.

Mistake #7 : Not Focusing When Studying

This one leads to what some people call "pseudo-studying". It consumes all of your time and you get very little done. You should work in a silent place without your phone or any internet connection around. Every time you get disturbed you loose precious minutes of work to get back into what you were doing.

This article is only a sample of all the things you can do to improve your studying skills. One of the best books out there to learn how to become a successful student is called "How To Become A Straight-A Student" by Cal Newport. If you want to go further into this topic, this is the one I would recommend you get.

Have a nice day !