A Study Guide to Success – What you may Already Know, but Aren’t Doing


Are we doomed to succumb to all-nighters and caffeine binges until the long-awaited day of graduation? Are we obliged to be fueled by nothing more than blind panic, black coffee and energy drinks? I certainly hope not…I mean, after all, we are McGillians and while we knowingly signed up for this fate upon beginning school, there has to be an alternative to reclaim our social lives!

What is wrong with the way that we are studying and producing work? Well, in my last blog I explored the reasons behind procrastination and putting off work to the very last minute.  Ultimately, distraction was a big factor – if not, the leading cause that can prevent us from meeting our full potential. Which has led me to ask my next question: what role do study habits play in all this? As mentioned in my last blog, procrastination can be looked at as a branch of study habits, and should not be considered completely and utterly unbeneficial. However, to what extent, are we, as student being affected by our study habits? And what exactly does it mean to study effectively? I have gone through my whole undergrad and am currently in my third year of an M.A. and I can honestly say that I was never quite guided nor was I well prepared in this domain, which I feel is somewhat unfair.

Students go through elementary, high school, CEGEP and university with a similar ultimate goal…to land a good job, to become experts in our field, to gain the necessary and proper training and of course, have a diploma to show for it…but, how do we study and prepare ourselves efficiently to get ourselves there?

Before beginning a course, try to keep the following in mind:

-How you approach studying is a big factor

-Your study environment and materials matter

-Make a schedule and swear by it

-Stay organized and balanced

-Get and stay motivated

Try to take on a regular, organized and disciplined approach to studying. Don’t cram, don’t overdo it, but make sure to prepare and pace yourself. Research has made it clear that spacing the learning over several shorter periods of time is much more effective than trying to do it all in one big session. Unfortunately, many courses are not designed this way, nor are they designed in our favor. Some courses can be intensive or even regular scheduled classes can be very draining – solely the reading material can add up quickly, so make sure you develop a plan of action at the beginning of each session. Keep track of your readings and assignments and if you see yourself falling behind, get on it! Prioritizing is crucial during the life of a student. If you learn to organize your time and stick to that schedule…nothing can get in your way!

Get rid of temptations, put restrictions on yourself…and pace yourself. Do whatever it takes – pencil it into your calendar or type it into your phone, set reminders and get to it. Remember, there is nothing wrong with rewarding yourself, giving yourself a break or if you get a good grade, treat yourself to a nice gift…good thing Christmas is right around the corner so now you have more of an excuse to!

Good luck during finals, study hard and have a nice winter break,


“The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.”
― Michael Altshuler


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