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Student Learning Success Guides!

Developing solid STUDY HABITS is challenging, and knowing where to start can be difficult. What follows are some initial steps to get you started on a path that will improve the effectiveness of your studying and reduce your stress.


Take small, gradual steps towards success.

Create SMART goals (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, timely).

Track your steps to success and checkmark them.

Choose healthy ways to celebrate your successes!


Consider some of the reasons why you might be procrastinating on starting an assignment.

What can you do to learn about the supports available to assist you with any challenges that you are experiencing?

Brainstorm strategies that may improve upon your current approach to studying.

Study Habits to Consider

How you study can have a big impact on how effectively you learn. Try out some of these strategies to maximize your learning:

  • Schedule your time instead of procrastinating and cramming.
  • Focus for blocks of time rather than multi-tasking and being distracted.
  • Create an effective study environment for you.
  • Assess when to work alone and when to work with others.
  • Use effective reading strategies in place of passively skimming notes and assigned readings.
  • Determine the amount of sleep you need.
  • Be strategic if you find you need to cram; only cram for low-stake tasks such as catching up on course readings and for tasks in which you excel such as short writing assignments (cramming for major exams is not a wise or strategic choice).

Addressing Procrastination

Most of us procrastinate, often because we feel overwhelmed by everything we have to do. Try some of these strategies to help you stop putting things off:

  • Check out Camosun supports for students when you feel stuck (Writing Centre, Learning Skills, Centre for Accessible Learning, Counselling Services).
  • Set achievable goals along with healthy rewards for when a goal is accomplished.
  • Break down tasks into manageable parts so that they feel less overwhelming (see assignment calculator link in tools and resources section).
  • Note not only official due dates in a calendar of your choice (erasable wall, electronic, paper) but also appointments, family events, exercise, chores, eating, and sleep.
  • Backdate and stagger your assignment due dates to 2 or 3 days before the actual due date, especially when due dates overlap.
  • Mark every appointment 15 minutes earlier to avoid being late.
  • Start saying no to people and activities that drain your energy or bring you down.

(Check out the Stress Management and Time Management guides about how to make college life manageable.)

Improving Your Study Habits

Try some of these ideas to help you save time and focus:

  • Create one place that you use only to do school work.
    • Choose an environment that works best for you in terms of noise level and amount of solitude.
  • When working with others, choose people who stay on task.
    • Save socializing for after the work is done.
  • Eliminate distractions in your study space.
    • Use noise-cancelling headphones (Camosun Libraries lend them for 2 hours).
  • Instead of multitasking, focus on a single task for 30 minutes. Switching between tasks taxes your brain, making it harder to learn.
    • Use productivity apps to stay off social media and your phone.
  • Skim read only to familiarize yourself with the main ideas and concepts of a piece of writing.
    • Practice active reading for a deeper understanding of the material and for learning the information (see Active Reading guide).
    • Apply active reading strategies not only to your assigned readings but also to your class notes.

Reducing Sleep Deprivation

Sleep has a huge impact on how well your brain functions. You've probably noticed it's hard to think clearly when you're tired!

  • Getting enough sleep is a combination of managing your time, maintaining your health, exercising, and avoiding caffeine and food that keeps you awake.
  • It’s especially important to have a solid sleep before writing an exam.
  • College is a stressful time so some sleep loss may occur, but if insomnia becomes chronic, discuss it with your doctor.
  • Figure out what works best for you!