8 Ineffective Study Habits: Mistakes to Change Right Now

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Every student has certain study habits that they follow in the course of their academic life. While some study habits are effective, others fail to provide good results. These are the Top 8 ineffective study habits for which students fail to improve their grades and score good marks.

8 Ineffective study habits for students

Not having a study plan.

Every action needs a good plan. A good study plan is the first thing a student should consider for better efficiency.

A study plan should include:

  • When to study- Finding the timing that suit oneself best
  • Where to study- Finding The best location where he/she can focus without distraction
  • What to study- Finding The materials, lectures, and notes for studying
  • How to study – Choosing ways for studying or revising which suits oneself best.



  1. Make a study plan for yourself. You can use a diary or a digital app like Notion to design your plan.
  2. Ask the questions above to yourself and find the answers to all of them.
  3. Write them down somewhere and also make a schedule of studying different subjects on different dates.

Cramming without understanding

Cramming is probably one of the most common ineffective study habits that every student follows.

Studying is only effective when we know the context and have a proper understanding of the whole topic. It is the understanding of these topics that makes things relevant to us.

Otherwise, our brains don’t easily remember irrelevant pieces of information. So we tend to forget very frequently, even when we have revised the topic many times, but each time without understanding.

My suggestion would be to have a proper understanding of the ins and outs of a topic and then go through the cramming phase.

Studying late at night is a very ineffective study habit.

Studying late night is a ineffective study habit

At night our brain starts releasing melatonin which is the sleep hormone. Late-night studying suppresses our cognitive functions. We are far less likely to remember the information we read during late nights than in the whole day. No matter how many cups of coffee you take, it will certainly not make you feel as energetic as you feel during other times of the day.


Suggestion: The best time to study in the morning after breakfast and a cup of tea when your brain is fresh and energetic. Try to study during this period rather than late nights.

Being disorganized

The organization is key to everything. We fail to find the essential materials at the most critical times when we are disorganized. Organization of study environment helps us to find the best lectures and notes for the exact topic. This habit is crucial if you want to upgrade your grades and be better at academics.

The best students in your class probably have a different folder of all study materials and incredibly arranged notes in their possession.

Suggestion: You can use various note-taking apps to organize your notes and keep them in order.

Procrastination is indeed a very ineffective habit for students.

Procrastination is the mother of all evil. The best performing student in your class probably finishes daily lessons regularly. A common mistake students tend to make is stacking up studies for the latter.

As the lessons pile up, the difficulty of completing the task also rises. That is when students don’t even want to start the task because he now has a mountain to climb. It is a vicious cycle that engulfs students leading them to poor grades and bad performance.

Suggestion: Try to complete daily lessons in due time. It might not always be possible but try to get a concept of the topics taught in your college or high school

Studying with distraction

There are times when a student sits on his desk for hours at a stretch but fails to internalize the study topics completely. This habit is due to having an environment filled with distraction which hampers the quality of studying.

A person may study for hours but fail to retain the information if he does not focus on his work. It makes the hard work ineffective and leads to poor results. Increased Focus can increase your studying efficiency by 3-4 times.

Suggestion: Try to remove phones, devices out of your sight and physical reach. Find yourself a calm environment for studying with a distraction like a library, cafe, or any quiet and peaceful room.

Too Much Highlighting is ineffective for studying.

How often do you open a book and see that you have marked almost every line of your text with colorful highlighters?

This habit is a pretty common ineffective study habit for students. They mark almost everything that they read in their notes and books. But they face a great deal of difficulty during revision when they fail to derive the most important information from the book. Highlighting, to a certain extent, is effective when you are only marking the most important details.

Suggestion: Highlighting is a passive revision technique. According to research, passive techniques like highlighting, re-reading are less effective than active revision techniques. Try to revise through active methods of studying

Not getting sleep during exams.

Not sleeping before exam is a bad study habit

Students tend to procrastinate on studies before exams and keep all the lessons for the night before exams. Many students claim that they study best under pressure, but science doesn’t agree. Sleep helps us to clear our minds and allows us to think clearly. An all-night study session usually leads to more anxiety, tension and impacts cognitive performance, leading to poor results.

Suggestion: Students should avoid procrastination and must get enough sleep before exams. This habit will help to think clearly and answer more logically in the exams.

Wrapping up

These are the everyday ineffective study habits that students of college and high school usually follow. No matter how much you try, it is impossible to score good grades without proper study habits and techniques. These are small changes that will bring significant changes to your performance. Try to do the following:

  • Not having a study plan
  • Cramming without understanding
  • Studying late night
  • Being disorganized
  • Procrastination
  • Studying with distraction
  • Too Much Highlighting
  • Not getting enough sleep before exams


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5 thoughts on “8 Ineffective Study Habits: Mistakes to Change Right Now”

  1. These effective study habits are really helpful for changing our self. Most of us we don’t know about our regular study habits. These good study habits can change the way of education, also it helps to do a focus completely. Thanks and subscribed your blog..

  2. I study the night before in senior year (no sleep at all) and I still manage to get high grades. In fact, in my experience studing the night before is really effective to studying the day before because the things you have studied are more recent. Ok maybe you’re more tired and it’s short time but it’s a great way of getting good grades with little effort

    1. I agree that the night before is really important. But my point of view is when you learn internal motivation of gaining knowledge your knowledge is more solid! Just my opinion!

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