9 Common Habits That Are Ruining Your Study Skills

You must have thought, at least once in your student life, that why aren’t you making any progress.

You are working very hard, reading every single page of that boring textbook over and over, making notes, highlighting all the key points.

Still, you can’t seem to be nailing it. You can’t answer properly during the exams, even though you have read the portion fifty times.

That’s when you should realize that you must be following some common habits that are ruining your study skills.

Its just that you cant seem to be satisfied, right? I get that feeling.

That is because some habits you follow are not quite healthy, and they are ruining your study skills.

Well, the hard truth is, you are working harder, not smarter. I am not saying that you haven’t worked at all or will not get more grades than this. But medicine is a vast course that requires smart working.

To be honest, I’ve been through the same situation in my first year of MBBS, but thankfully, I realized I was making a lot of mistakes all through my study sessions, making it only hard work, not smart work.

I would read a lot, highlight everything, still I couldn’t just make it far my average grades.

But once I identified my unhealthy habits, I immediately took action to quit them, and I can say that I’ve changed… My approach to medicine has shifted altogether.

Now I looove the subjects. All of it. Crazy, right?

Here are some habits that happen to be unhealthy, and if you have any one of these, make sure you are aware of them and try to prevent them.


1. Reading the textbooks from front to end

This is the worst thing you are doing to yourself. It takes away time and energy with no apparent results. Especially during exam times.

Reading something over and over just becomes passive.

Your mind will not be actively taking in a single word of the paragraph. Active reading can improve your study skills.

2. Not listening to lectures.

That hot afternoon class and the subject’s lull… the perfect combo for a nap. Especially after the all-nighters you pull.

Sounds familiar, right?

Well, I’d say no to this.

I know, the lectures might sound boring and you might be tempted to give in and sleep through them.

I’ve been there too. But don’t ever make it a habit. Because all the lectures you hear, they can help you grab the concept better, because c’mon people, that person poring all of this out is at least a postgraduate in the subject.

Try writing down what the teacher is saying. Drink water in between. This might help you stay alert.

3. Not making notes

It is a destructive trait, in my opinion. You might have read that topic a hundred times, but honey, when exam time is near, it ain’t gonna save you.

It would be best if you had notes.

If you don’t, I say you are ruining your study skills.

They help in last-minute revisions a lot. If you are a stationery freak like me who likes to take aesthetic notes, you can find awesome notebooks and brush pen markers here.

You can find some affordable notebooks here. I use one of these notebooks, and it is super cheap! The paper quality is definitely worth the price.

4. Highlighting anything and everything

This too makes reading passive, and will not get anything into your head at all.

If you take notes alongside reading, that’s okay, but highlighting… it’s definitely a NO-NO.

I’d rather suggest highlighting the definitions or formula because they are the most hard-to-find in my case, but sure you can follow what works for you.

5. Not understanding the concepts

Or the good ol’ mugging up everything.

You read and learn everything by heart, but it’s hard for you to answer a question that requires the application of the concept.

And how do you master the concept? Simply by listening to the lectures and asking a lot of questions about the topic to yourself.

Ask your friends or teachers to clarify the doubts, and hey, you are nailing it in no time.

How to study anatomy: Tips to master the subject

6. Referring only one textbook

This is especially for all the medical fellows out there. Please don’t fall for this trap.

You have to be aware of the topic, so sticking to just one author is not enough.

I know, buying all these textbooks is not easy. Try lending from your friends, and why even do that when you have the library! The most comfortable place for reading… get started now itself!

7. Not getting enough sleep

This has become a prevalent habit. Pulling all-nighters is a BIG NO.

It’s unnecessary, and it falls under hard work, not smart work.

So, if you are smart like me (AHEM…), get at least 6 hours of sleep every night. I repeat, EVERY NIGHT.

The 6 hours is the minimum because your REM and NREM sleep cycles have to be completed. 7 hours is optimum, though.

8. Not prioritizing things

This is honestly one of my downfalls.

I spent most of my time procrastinating. 🙃.

When I am not procrastinating, I get all my things done, but I end up confused and unsatisfied and very much behind the deadline only because I didn’t prioritize my tasks.

So get some planners and sticky notes, and get to work. It can greatly improve your study skills.

9. The overbearing urge to make everything perfect

Let me tell you this truth- you can never make EVERYTHING perfect. You don’t have to.

Show yourself some love, my dear.

If this is what you can do, be happy with it. Be happy that you got enough sleep or that you had a great breakfast. After all, what matters in the end is who you are, and not what everybody wants you to be.

Well, these are the habits that ruined my study skills. The moment I started to avoid them, my studying improved!

Thank you for reading, my friend! I hope my words helped you and made your day!

If you have any suggestions, please leave a comment. I’ll try to reply as soon as I can.

And don’t forget to share this post 😃!

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