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9 Academic Writing And Study Habits Used By Successful Students

9 Academic Writing And Study Habits Used By Successful Students

Many students are discouraged to see that, no matter how hard they try, there is always someone with better grades. You may think this is due to a genetic difference or magical and you cannot do anything against it. Well, you’re wrong!

In fact, it is much more likely that the reason is simply that their study habits are better than yours. Here are 9 helpful academic study habits practised by successful students:

1. Draw a Time Table

This seems like a common habit but the reality is that it is not so much; It is precisely the best students who never fail to plan their future success.

If you feel overwhelmed by the amount of work you have before you, a balanced study schedule will give you the extra motivation you need, helping you focus on one piece of the puzzle each time to progress slowly in its construction.

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2. Take a Break at Intervals

Surprised that one of the recommended study habits is to interrupt your study routine? Many students only practice the study technique that consists of content cramming shortly before the examination.

However, it is scientifically proven that our ability to learn and retain information decreases in direct proportion to the time we spend in front of books. Therefore, if you want to maximise the use of your time, it is advisable that you divide your learning schedule while resting between different sessions:

3. Take Notes

As an advocate of learning, that is, it is important that take done notes when studying. Research has proven that studying and writing goes a long way in helping the brain remember information when needed.

4. Sleep Properly

One of the major enemies of academic excellence among student who do not measure up to others in class is fatigue. The reason sleep is important is that when you rest properly; your brain assimilates what you have learned during the day.

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Therefore, the better you sleep, the more you learn. This habit of study is often overlooked by many students on the excuse that they are very busy. However, successful students recognise the importance of a good rest.

5. Ask Questions

Have you noticed that the most successful students in class always have questions in during a class? Instead of sitting passively listening to what the teacher says, they engage in the learning experience through questions and doubts.

This does not mean that you should always be interrupting the lesson unnecessarily; Questions can also be asked after class, through a study group, etc. Remember: Never stop questioning the why of things; A great question for a small world!

6. Analyse Failures

If you really want to incorporate the best study habits into your routine, you should start right now. Look back, towards your last exams, and review where you had lower grades and why until you understand everything perfectly.

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Regardless of whether we are talking about a final exam, a simple class exercise or an online test, successful students always analyse their failures.

7. Improve Your Vocabulary

Academic writing is very formal and concise in style and uses a formal vocabulary.

According to MHR Writer, “Academic writing should be void of bad grammar, bad style, and poor organisation”. These features can severely obstruct anyone’s academic and professional success. The formal structure that should be used helps to ensure that an academic argument is being supported.

Successful students understand this and as such devote time in improving their vocabulary using helpful means and method. Better students structure their work using proper grammar; sentences and vocabulary give an insight as to why they produce a coherent academic argument.

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8. Simulate Test Conditions

One of the main ways to make sure we get the desired result in our exams is to do tests and simulations that resemble the actual exam.

This means that you must separate from your books, set up a time factor, etc. In this sense, online tests are the ideal resource for preparing test type tests.

9. Apply Knowledge to Real Problems

Successful students know that learning is not about passing tests and getting good grades, but understanding concepts and discovering how you can use them to solve real problems.

Problem-based learning is a method that emphasises precisely this aspect, so it is usually among the most commonly used by the best students.

The best way to become a top student is to try out different techniques and find out which ones best suit you.

Featured photo credit: iacpublishinglabs.com via aos.iacpublishinglabs.com

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Published on July 7, 2020

Brain Training: 12 Fast, Fun Mental Workouts

Brain Training: 12 Fast, Fun Mental Workouts

Exercise isn’t just for your body. Just as important is keeping your mind strong by training your brain with fun mental workouts.

Think of your mental and physical fitness the same way: you don’t need to be an Olympian, but you do need to stay in shape if you want to live well. A few cognitive workouts per week can make a major difference in your life.

The Skinny on Mental Workouts

Physical fitness boosts your stamina and increases your muscular strength. The benefits of working up a mental sweat and brain training, however, might not be so obvious.

Research suggests that cognitive training has short- and long-term benefits, including:

1. Improved Memory

After eight weeks of cognitive training, 19 arithmetic students showed a larger and more active hippocampus than their peers.[1] The hippocampus is associated with learning and memory.

2. Reduced Stress Levels

Mastering new tasks more quickly makes the work of learning less stressful. A stronger memory can call information to mind with less effort.

3. Improved Work Performance

Learning quickly and remembering key details can lead to a better career. Employers are increasingly hiring for soft skills, such as trainability and attention to detail.

4. Delayed Cognitive Decline

As we age, we experience cognitive decline. A study published by the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society found that 10 one-hour sessions of cognitive training boosted reasoning and information processing speed in adults between the ages of 65 and 94.[2]

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Just like in physical exercise, what’s important isn’t the specific workout. To be sustainable, cognitive workouts need to be easy and fun. Otherwise, it’s too easy to throw in the towel.

Fun Brain Training Exercises for Everyone

The best about fun mental workouts? There’s no need to head to a gym. Feel free to mix and match the following activities for daily brain training:

1. Brainstorming

One of the simplest, easiest ways to engage your brain? Coming up with solutions to a challenge you’re facing.

If you aren’t good at solo ideation, ask a partner to join you. When I’m struggling to come up with topics to write about, I call up my editors to bat ideas around. Friends or co-workers are usually happy to help.

2. Dancing

Isn’t dancing a physical workout? Yes, but the coordination it requires is also great for training your brain. Plus, it’s a lot of fun.

Studies suggest that dance boosts multiple cognitive skills.[3] Planning, memorizing, organizing, and creativity all seem to benefit from a few fancy steps.

3. Learning a New Language

Learning a new language takes time. But if you split it up into small, daily lessons, it’s easier than you might think.

With language learning, every lesson builds on the last. When I was learning Spanish, I used a tool called Guru for knowledge management.[4] Every time I’d learn a verb tense, I’d create a new card to give me a quick refresh before moving on.

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4. Developing a Hobby

Like languages, hobbies take time to develop. But that’s the fun of them: you get a little better—both at the hobby and in terms of brain function—each time you do them.

If you’re trying to train your brain and improve a certain cognitive skill, choose a hobby that aligns with it.

For example:

  • Attention to detail: Pick a hobby that requires you to work patiently with small features. Woodworking, model-building, sketching, and painting are all good choices.
  • Learning and memory: Choose an activity that requires you to remember lots of details. Your best bets are hobbies that require lots of categorization, such as collecting stamps or coins.
  • Motor function: For this brain function, physical activities can double as fun mental workouts. Sports like soccer and basketball build gross motor functions. Fine motor functions are better trained through activities like table tennis or even playing video games.
  • Problem-solving: Most hobbies require you to problem-solve in one way or another. The ones that test your problem-solving skills the most, however, take some investigation.

Geocaching is a good example: Using a combination of clues and GPS readings, geocaching involves finding and re-hiding containers. Typically done in a wooded area, geocaching is a fun way to put your problem-solving skills to the test.

5. Board Games

Playing a board game might not be much of a physical workout, but it does make for a fun mental workout. With that said, not all board games work equally well for cognitive training.

Avoid “no brainer” board games, like Candy Land. Opt for strategy-focused ones, such as Risk or Settlers of Catan. Remember to ask other players for their input.

6. Card Games

Card games build cognitive skills in much the same way board games do. They have a few extra advantages, though, that make them worthy of special attention.

A deck of cards is inexpensive and can be played anywhere, from a kitchen to an airplane. More importantly, a deck of cards opens the door to dozens of different games. Challenge yourself to learn a few in an afternoon.

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7. Puzzles

Puzzles are great tools for building a specific cognitive skill: visuospatial function. Visuospatial function is important to train because it’s one of the first abilities to slip in people struggling with cognitive diseases like Alzheimer’s.[5]

Choose a puzzle you’ll stick with. There’s no shame in starting with a 500-piece puzzle or choosing one that makes a childish image.

8. Playing Music

Listening to music is a great way to unwind. But playing music goes one step further. On top of entertaining you, it makes for a fun mental workout.

Again, choose an instrument you know you’ll stick with. If you’ve always wanted to learn the violin, don’t get a guitar because it’s less expensive or easier to pick up.

What if you can’t afford an instrument? Sing. Learning to control your voice is every bit as challenging as making a set of keys or strings sound good.

9. Meditating

Not all cognitive exercises are loud, in-your-face activities. Some of the most fun mental workouts, in fact, are quiet, solo activities. Meditating can help you focus, especially if you have pre-existing attention issues.

Don’t be intimidated if you’ve never meditated before. It’s easy:

  • Find a quiet, comfortable place to sit or lie down.
  • Set a timer for 10 minutes, or for however long you have to meditate.
  • Close your eyes or turn off the lights.
  • Focus on your breathing. Do not try to control it.
  • If your thoughts wander, gently bring them back to your breath.
  • When the timer goes off, wiggle your fingers and toes for a minute. Slowly bring yourself back to reality. Remember the sense of serenity you found.

10. Deep Conversation

There’s nothing more mentally stimulating than a good, long conversation. The key is depth: surface-level chatter doesn’t get the mind’s wheels spinning like a thoughtful, authentic conversation. This type of conversation helps in training your brain to think more deeply and reflect.

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Choose your partner carefully. You’re looking for someone who’ll challenge your ideas without being confrontational. Stress isn’t good for brain health, but there’s value in coming up with creative arguments.

11. Cooking

When you think about it, cooking requires an impressive array of cognitive skills. Developing a cook’s intuition requires a good memory. Making sure flavors are balanced takes attention to detail. When something goes wrong in the kitchen, problem-solving skills come into play. Motor control is required to stir, flip, and whisk.

If you’re going to cook, you might as well make enough for everyone. Invite them into the kitchen as well: coordinating with other chefs adds an extra layer of challenge to this fun mental workout.

12. Mentorship

Whether you’re the mentee or the mentor, mentorship is an incredible mental workout. Learning from someone you look up to combines the benefits of deep conversation with skill-building. Teaching someone else forces you to put yourself in their shoes, which requires empathy and problem-solving skills.

Put yourself in both situations. Being a student makes you a better teacher, and teaching others gives you insight into how you, yourself, learn.

Final Thoughts

Your mind is your most important possession, and training your brain is needed to maintain its health. Don’t let it get soft.

To keep those neurons firing at full speed, add a few fun mental workouts to your schedule. And if you’re still struggling to get your brain in gear, remember: there’s an app for that.

More Tips for Training Your Brain

Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

Reference

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