SmileTutor Blog Students Study Tips 6 Poor Study Habits You Should Avoid

6 Poor Study Habits You Should Avoid

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During study sessions, students develop study habits to be more efficient. It allows them to cover more content and complete their revision faster. In fact, studies show that having good study habits improves academic performance too.

On the other hand, we might also adopt poor study habits that cause our study sessions to be less efficient. This might worsen our academic performance in turn.

What are some bad study habits to avoid?

Not Actively Studying


When you’re not actively studying, it makes it harder for you to retain what you’ve learnt. This is because you’re not actively involved in what you’re studying.

Here are some ways you can actively study:
1. Create notes and flashcards
2. Organised information into graphs or charts
3. Write outlines
4. Read aloud
5. Ask questions as you read
6. Summarise what you’ve learnt
7. Complete practise questions

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“Procrastination is the enemy of success”. This stands true during our exam revision sessions when we procrastinate studying till the last minute. This is because you won’t have enough time to complete your revision, so you are unprepared for the exam.

Here are some tips to stop procrastinating:
1. Get organised
2. Eliminate distractions
3. Set goals and mini-deadlines
4. Work when you feel the most alert and effectiveness

Keeping Distractions Around You


Distractions like your phone or your bed can be a major hindrance to your study sessions. After all, they prevent you from concentrating on the material you’re studying. Making it harder for you to absorb whatever you might have learnt.

Instead, keep distractions away from you by:
1. Having a proper workspace
2. Use focus apps on your digital devices like Forest or Flipd
3. Put your phone on ‘do not disturb’ or put it on silent mode
4. Take breaks after every hour

Using a Disorganised Approach


Study sessions require organisation, especially when you’re writing notes or arranging resources. If you are disorganised, you spend more time finding relevant notes or resources. Your learning is also more cluttered, making it difficult to absorb information.

Here are some ways you might be using a disorganised approach to studying:
1. Writing your notes everywhere instead of compiling everything into a notebook or file
2. Having books and files all over the place
3. Having a disorganised workspace

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You can take a more organised approach to studying by keeping your work environment organised and creating a study plan. You can also arrange your notes and keep them in the same location for easy reference.

Studying Without a Plan


Jumping straight into studying without a plan can lead to an unstructured schedule that lacks direction. This means you could face difficulties covering all the material before an exam or test.

Instead, make sure that you have a study plan for each study session. You could either write out a weekly study plan or have a daily schedule that includes topics that you need to finish revising.

Omitting Old Material


Having a solid base in your studies is crucial for a strong understanding of the material. This is why you shouldn’t omit old materials and resources like your past year’s textbooks and exam papers.

This is especially so if you’re studying for O levels since some secondary 1 to 3 topics might be tested. So make sure you practise exercises or your past year’s exams. Do note that some topics in sec 4 might have been taught in sec 1 to 3 so look out for those too.



We might have developed some of these poor study habits over the years. But that doesn’t mean it’s too late to change. This also helps us in the future when we step out into the workforce because we can also apply good study habits to our work.

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Rum Tan

Rum Tan is the founder of SmileTutor and he believes that every child deserves a smile. Motivated by this belief and passion, he works hard day & night with his team to maintain the most trustworthy source of home tutors in Singapore. In his free time, he writes articles hoping to educate, enlighten, and empower parents, students, and tutors. You may try out his free home tutoring services via or by calling 6266 4475 directly today.