There are many ways to study, and the choices a student makes to get through college are basically a means to an end that hopefully leads to knowledge, a high grade, and future success. While the study skills a student has may develop over time, they are often combined with innate skill that can be frustrating to those who do not come by the skills naturally. No matter what study method a student uses, there are benefits and drawbacks to each method. To have one study style is to have found a compromise between the costs and the rewards of those study habits to gain whatever academic achievements a student deems important. The purpose of this paper is to articulate the division of study skills used by college students and explain some of their advantages and disadvantages.
The first type of study skill used by very few students is the dedicated, motivated method. These students typically have good grades, but they earned them through hard work. Often, these students do not know the meaning of the word procrastination. They do not hurry through their assignments because they start them early. They do not stress about due dates because they are finished early. They have time to contemplate and learn to a greater extent because that is what they spend their leisure time doing, schoolwork. This is the greatest drawback to this plan, time consumption. The students using these study skills are very good at schoolwork, but they have little time for anything else. It the long-term, some would argue that this does not matter because school takes up very little time relative to a lifetime, but others would argue that it’s a waste of the college experience. The conundrum lies in the tradeoff between fun and dedication, but those who have this skill do not necessarily see it as a problem.
There are also students who are very particular about their conditions when studying. They may require complete silence and not be able to study unless they can find a quiet environment. Others carry headphones to drown out outside sound from their hearing range. Some must have a certain writing utensil, lighting condition, or other specific item to study effectively. The advantage to this study skill is that the student has found a tool that will allow them to study. The disadvantage is that they cannot study without this tool. It is a crutch, but as long as it’s available, there is no problem.
Night owls are students that like to study late into the night. They are likely late to their classes, but they make up for it by studying into the wee hours of the morning. Sometimes these people go to the library to keep their focus on their studies. Often, night owls fall simultaneously under the category of procrastinators because they have to get their work done before their class the next morning. The advantage to this study skill is that the person is accomplishing the task at hand, even though it is late at night. The disadvantage is that they are likely forgoing other commitments in the morning, and they are possibly giving up social time.
The opposite of night owls exists, but they are rare. These individuals get up early to study prior to class. This can be a benefit because many students have more effective learning capacity first thing in the morning. However, the effort that is used on early morning study is lost in early morning classes, where a student has already exhausted some of his or her ability for the day.
The procrastinator is the most infamous of all the study habits. Waiting until the last minute is never advised, but some people do their best work at crunch time. Working on a strict deadline creates a stressful environment in which some thrive. You’ll often hear of people racing to class after turning in an assignment two minutes prior to the deadline, and although exasperated, they are performing life as usual. The advantage to the study skills of the procrastinator are that they are able to connect haphazard, disorganized, and poorly learned material into cohesive, intelligible work. It takes skill to create acceptable work in those conditions. However, the procrastinator loses the permanency of learning that occurs with quality time spent studying.
The last study skill is inexplicable unless you possess it. There are some who seem to absorb content through lecture and osmosis. Every college student who is not one of these magical learners has known one or heard of one. These are the students that show to every social gathering, possibly stay up late, and they ace their exams every time. They are sponges that absorb information, and they have active enough social lives that they could not have learned in any other environment than in the classroom. The advantage to this is obvious because they don’t require repetition or time to contemplate to learn. The disadvantage is that when instructors do not fully teach out of the classroom, there is no way these students can ingest the content required for an A. However, they sometimes inexplicably do.
The division of study skills is vast and varied, and it ultimately does not matter which skill a student has, as long as it is a means to a passing grade and a furtherance toward success. While each student is shackled with their particular learning style, they can usually find the advantages of their method and focus on success with that method. For others, they must remove those shackles and change their ways, but that is a more difficult process.