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7 Bad Study Habits A College Student Must Not Have


Bad Study Habits Can Break a College Student's Grade

I’ve been teaching part-time for the past one and a half years. My subjects? Basic business concepts and basic accounting for information technology students. I enjoy what I do and I like my students (so far). That doesn’t mean though that I’m not a strict one. In fact, I have already gained the reputation for strictness and difficulty of exams (I once made my entire class re-take a certain exam because nobody passed!). But hey, a lot of them passed and graduated last April so I guess I wasn’t that bad. Unfortunately, not everyone graduated. One or two of them failed the whole subject (there goes my reputation again). I couldn’t do anything about it because their grade was a solid 5 (which is an F grade here) and no matter how hard I pushed and pulled, I just couldn’t give a remedy for their failing grade. So, bottomline, they did not graduate.

Some of my students right now asked me about these failed students. They wanted to know the “whys” and the “hows” for these cases. I tried to answer as tactfully as I can but their questions really got me thinking. Is it them or is it me? Am I not a good teacher or were they simply not good students? Simple answer? More of the latter instead of the former. I’m not kidding. I’m not saying I’m a good one but I’m not that bad either. And from jogging my memory, I can see how they failed and I can count the reasons why they failed. Three words – bad study habits – in plural, not singular. So what are these bad study habits? Let me count 7 of them.


Poor Attendance. For any subject, especially accounting, attendance is really a must. Unless, of course, you’re a genius who can just scan your teacher’s or classmates’ notes and you can readily understand the lesson. If you’re not, the next best thing is to hear firsthand what your teacher has to say and to read through your own eyes everything written on the board. If you do not attend classes, your chance of understanding the subject is almost nil plus your points for attendance go down as well.

No Assignments. Let’s face it. Basic accounting is still a numbers game and the only way a student can learn this subject is through practice. And practicing the subjects / topics means diligently doing the exercises and the assignments all on your own. I noticed some of my students (even those who passed) depend on their classmates for their assignments. So who learns the subject? The ones who did the assignments. The ones who didn’t, good luck.

Failing to Take Down Notes. I know, I know, the student can always photocopy the classmates’ notes. But, personally, I don’t think this really works for those students who do not take down notes and just depend on their classmates. Taking down notes mean you are listening and are focused on the subject. A student who doesn’t take down notes is either somebody who has a photographic memory or just plain lazy or is not concentrating on the subject at hand. The first reason is a good one but is quite rare. The second reason may be okay if the student is intelligent in the first place (but this is still not an excuse). The third reason may be the worst because the student is really not absorbing anything from the class. And when this happens, your grades are bye-bye.

Poor Time Management. There’s this one time I gave a major exam for my students. Imagine my surprise when I saw some of them were not taking the exams (and they were just hanging around the school!). Their reason for not taking the exam? They were not able to study on my subject. Gee, but they were able to study for the other subjects huh? Needless to say, I got hopping mad and told them to take the exam or I won’t give a make-up exam for them. I mean I know that they have a lot on their plates what with their subjects, case studies, thesis, exams, etc., etc. But hey, they have to know how to manage their time and accommodate everything. That’s part of a student’s life. And to think their schedule of exams were announced right from the start, so they should have properly prepared and planned their time to coincide with the official school schedule. Okay, ranting a little bit here. Next!

  • My Strategies for Effective Teaching
    Ive been teaching part-time for over a year now and I can tell you its no easy feat. Ive seen my share of ups and downs, of not-so-bright students and bright students, of talkative students and...

Procrastination. This one can follow poor time management skills, but it’s a habit that can be left on its own. Let’s put it in another word – cramming (which was common when I was in college, still is apparently). What’s worse right now is that a lot of students have more distractions than when I was in college. These distractions (like Facebook, online games, play stations, texting / chatting) make cramming or procrastination a more dangerous bad habit now than it was before.

Not Following Teacher’s Instructions. Okay, here’s comes the exam. The students are asked to write T for True and F for False. What do they do? Write the whole word (what the…?). Or worse, give entirely different answers (had a student like that, thought immediately of recommending her to a psychiatrist, j/k). Failing to follow instructions like in the first case means deductions from me. Failing to follow instructions like in the second case means a failed grade in the exam or worse, in the subject itself.

Negative Thinking. This one bad habit can wipe out all the student’s good study habits. I mean if the student perennially thinks he or she does not understand the subject or that the subject is just too hard for him or her, no amount of studying or copying notes or doing assignments can really make up for this one bad habit. It will just simply block everything because the student is setting himself or herself up for failure. Accounting is already a difficult subject as it is, adding to this one’s resistance to learning and everything will just really be for nothing. I’m a strong believer of mind over matter when it comes to this subject and if the student thinks he or she cannot understand the subject, chances are, he or she will never understand it. This is what one of my students did and she, needless to say, failed my subject.

And that’s it. I’m flexing my fingers here. There are actually more but these are the ones I saw from my former (and even my present) students. I guess I ranted a little bit but I do hope I managed to get my message across. I know there’s no such thing as a perfect student but, hey, I don’t think there is also a thing as a bad student with a bad study habit passing a subject. Or am I wrong? What are your thoughts on this? Leave me a message. Thanks and cheers!

What do you think?

chinedu s. mbah on January 21, 2015:

Am a university student in Nigeria. i have this bad habits of not reading my note and coping notes in class. Whenever, i tried to study my notes i felts this weakness in me that is uncontrollable, i tried and try.

Even when reading i only read for one thirty minutes, so i read less has i supposed to have studied my notes. please i want's solutions and answers to these my bad habits. thanks

ion on September 25, 2014:

I am extremely negative now TT

D.R on October 04, 2013:

Bro i feel very frustrated, i never had good grades for those reason that you said ...and last reason is my worst problem..

Peter Sellers from Australia on July 09, 2013:

There is a difference between being a teacher, and teaching for living, neither is a bad thing, but one is more helpful to the students, and it sounds to me like you are the latter of the two. I hope to become a teacher one day, should my poor-poor-poor grades permit such a thing. I don't know what kind of teacher I'll be, but I know from the perspective of a student that every time I do poorly on an assignment I curse the "teacher?" and I don't ever want someone to feel that way about me. I don't want any else to feel like a dumb-#@#@ for such a poor reason. I'd rather hand out smiles.


Created this account, just to post this comment.


Ondari S Jephiter from Nairobi, Kenya on March 18, 2013:

I know I am all you described. More especially a chief procrastinator. I have one semester to finish my bachelors. i will try to refocus...

Thank you

SevenxXx on January 05, 2013:

Unbelivable, I just procrasniated by reading this. Well better get working thanks :)

Maris on June 14, 2012:

Great hub!! :D

Stef on June 07, 2012:

Professor you are so right!

I just passed a Math class with an A (top of my class) Math is not my subject and I am married with two young children at home. I decided I was going to give the class 100 percent by showing up to every class on time doing all homework, setting aside study and homework time when my kids were in bed and showing up to all quizzes and tests. I had an acute fear of Math before I started college, however our Professor was awesome and was very clear about what he expected of the class in order for us to have a chance of passing with a good grade.

Jessee R from Gurgaon, India on June 01, 2012:

I have just one of the above problem... Poor attendance... I am the topper of my class... But I don't like going to class...

Great hub BTW.... all the points very well explained and so true!

Any help on the attendance....??

Escape to the Sun from UK on May 31, 2012:

Good hub, reminds me of my tine as a student. It isn't always easy to do all of this though, especially time management!

chamilj from Sri Lanka on May 31, 2012:

Sure these are very bad habits for college students. Nice hub!

Mahaveer Sanglikar from Pune, India on May 31, 2012:

Great Hub. Actually I wanted to write on this topic, but found that you have already written on it, So I have cancelled writing on this. Rather, I would like to share your Hub.

vasco the gama on March 05, 2012:

this bad habits are basically i find in my friends. but after this research i told them not follow these habits and u know because of them my grades also fall. they were not ready to change so broke my friendship. from that day i started ignoring them. then they came to me and said we will not follow these habits but please dont break friendship with us. and what we all started studying together and now we are rankers in the class.

Amol on February 09, 2012:

Very well hub...

Evan on February 06, 2012:


from a student's perspective:

Taking down notes in class is a colossal waste of time. How about posting them so the student can actually listen and absorb material during lecture. Particularly in advanced math courses note taking and understanding simultaneously is near impossible. But I think the same principle applies to all classes in general.

Vaoesea Vanessa Tualetonu on January 28, 2012:

It's really helps for those who is not working hard in school.... blamed ourselves why????

Someone on January 26, 2012:

My problem with my school is: we NEVER get assignments, are any direction whatsoever of say what to practice on. I go to all my classes and they just talk about the subject, which I write notes on and read the every day. I procrastinate at time because I simply don't KNOW what the teacher wants us to study for the test, yes I ask, but barely receive an answer. It's as if they expects us to read minds...which I clearly don't. I study days before a test. But I must also say, I do have negative thinking, my school sucks but it is the cheapest in the country and the only one I can BARELY afford. It also went through a 81 day strike this year screwing the students up, oh and they also lowered our grades because of it. Oh no refunds either...only reason I'm staying so far? I'm an international students in this country and if I leave the university, I leave the country and get sent back home. Which is the last thing I want...ah.

O' Leo on January 22, 2012:

Good work, welldone. But I think the habits you listed are effects. What are the likely causes? What is your advice for those that already made a poor grade( 3rd class).

A Bad Student on January 18, 2012:

I'm a bad student. Smart and knowledgeable person who learns relatively easily, but a bad student. I have poor time management skills and take procrastination to the next level. Always, at the start of the new school term I would be scoring 90s, but the stress caused by my bad habits bring down my marks by the end of the semester. I fully understand the repercussions of my actions and know I WILL regret it later, but I can't be damn bothered. It's a huge psychological problem I'm dealing with.

old boyz on January 08, 2012:

my greatest enemy is falling to take down notes

old boyz on January 08, 2012:

my greatest enemy falling to take down notes

emievil (author) from Philippines on January 02, 2012:

From the eyes of a student, I was also a student once you know and what I've written above, applied to my classmates and me as well. So yeah, this hub was written in the eyes of me as a teacher but there were certainly inputs from the time I was a student. As for the rest of your points, you have a right to your thoughts. I would just say a couple of things though. One is following instructions is part of the test. It's not only the right answer you know, it's the discipline of reading through the instructions and following them. If they take the accounting board exams here, not following instructions can be a deal - breaker because the computer will not recognize answers that were not done in accordance to the instructions so you lost points if you don't follow instructions.

As for being sympathetic, well, I did make them re - take the exam, exactly the same one they flunked. If I wasn't sympathetic, I would have flunked everyone of them and they wouldn't have graduated. And let me just say that the school admin was not agreeable to that but they let me have the choice. Believe me, that was a big concession, one I didn't get when I flunked a major exam when I was still in college. Oh and when I flunked that exam, more than 90% of us flunked it by the way, we did not blame my teacher, we blamed ourselves because we didn't study hard enough. At the end of the day, the student is still the one responsible for his / her grades, the teacher is there to facilitate and pave the way but the student is still the one who needs to account for his / her performance in the subject.

Well, I'm no longer teaching but if I do go back to teaching, I'll keep in mind your comments. Thanks.

from the eyes of a student on January 02, 2012:

You took points off if the student wrote the words 'true' or 'false' instead of a 'T' or an 'F'? Sorry, but that is completely harsh and unnecessary. I understand the whole 'following directions' thing and all but really? Taking off trivial points like that does not help the student learn at all. If the student had the correct answer to begin with, I don't think it's fair. I don't mean to be a hater, but I am a current student and if my teacher ever did that I would be completely annoyed. Points should be taken off for real mistakes, not trivial things like whether or not you wrote 'true' instead of 'T'. Also, I know some students are afraid their handwriting is poor so rather than risking a teacher confuse a T for an F, they just write the whole word. And if you are so upset about procrastination issues, maybe you should do a lesson plan on time management and organization? I know as a student, that would be really helpful. You could require binder checks etc.Procrastination and time management can be really difficult- especially in college when you are in a new place and you have so much to manage and juggle. Have compassion! Also, I really do not think anyone should EVER fail a class. I mean, I guess if they never ever show up or never turn in anything, but failing totally didn't need to happen. You could host office hours and meet with students etc. You could offer extra credit. Honestly if a student failed a class, while it undeniably reflects poorly on them, it also reflect poorly on YOU. At least seek them out and tell them what's going on. Maybe if you talked to them about their study strategies (in a nice way, not yelling) and worked with them on them how to improve them, their work ethic would improve. And if they started doing well on assignments, they would build confidence and get better and better:) Also, no offense, but if an entire class failed a test, yeah, you're doing something wrong. At least you let them make it up. But if a WHOLE CLASS doesn't get something? wow. That means you did a poor job of teaching it. That shouldn't happen. Before you give a test, you should have a 'review day' to answer questions and review the material. I have also found it really helpful when a teacher makes study guides for what is on the exam. I have had teachers require you to complete study guides for points. I don't know if that is entirely necessary, but study guides are great b/c they make the student review their notes etc. I always say, if I can do the study guide with out checking my notes, I can to the test. Also instead of complaining about your students, you should try to help them. I really don't mean to be a hater, and I understand you are frustrated with your college students and I am sympathetic to that, and you did give some good tips but: you should look through the eyes of a student and see if there is anything YOU can do make sure you are the best teacher you can be. Good Luck with your career.

Chathura madawa on December 21, 2011:

Hmmm..,as i think'all these qzs bcos of our confusely mind..'

no profs. on December 20, 2011:

part of the problem is how unrealistic these professors are; however, students have too many things going on and need to learn to choose. becoming a student parent in college is not good if you can't balance things out.

H.M. on December 17, 2011:

HAha, get rid of the internet for the duration of studying. Dang facebook..google...youtube. :P Then again, Here I am searching up how to study in 3 days for a final...

PSEOstudent411 on December 16, 2011:

Im a full time pseo student, and i just cant seem my bad procrastination habit that I've had for YEARS. ive gotten away with it in HS but not that im doing PSEO its really starting to catch up with me bad. how can I stop???

Blee on October 18, 2011:

I think most of these are legit, however the writing true or false instead of T or F shouldn't really matter. You still know what the student meant and this prevents the ambiguous T and F syndrome. I get that it's maybe not what you wanted, but in the end they're doing more work by writing it out.

gorav katyara on October 17, 2011:

ya ya very good! and sir it helped me a lot because i have got a topic of group discussion that who is more responsible for destruction of education and in my opinion it is because of students so it helped me a lot. thanks!

Justin Flynn on September 14, 2011:

Excellent article but i have to say you are being a bit hard on yourself. It sounds to me like you are an excellent teacher and not too strict at all. Most of my college professors couldn't give a damn whether we pass or fail, and i am convinced that a couple of them actually enjoy failing students. I only wish that i had had more professors like you who actually seem to care about their students.

Casey Strouse from Phoenix, Arizona on September 05, 2011:

Procrastination and never completing assignments killed my GPA. I always did awesome on my midterms and finals but the homework ruined it all.

bhumika on August 26, 2011:

thank you... i needed information about it.

xcentric stylo on June 09, 2011:

very well written....

remind me of my uni daz.. used to be a backbencher :P

running short of attendances, copying da assignments... lolz..

but we managed to have good grades by working hard in last daz :P

nice hub ............

The Jet from The Bay on April 05, 2011:

Time management is essential indeed.

funmontrealgirl from Montreal on March 22, 2011:

Exactly. Absolutely. Seconded.

juliemei on February 17, 2011:

wow... what a great hub! thanks for your tips. it helps me a lot...

Ripka on January 14, 2011:

I'm starting college courses this semester, and am determined to change my poor habits! Thanks for the insight, I could spot a tinge of myself in every single one of your points.

medical blog on December 05, 2010:

Changing habits is always tough. Here are some tips from a nutritionist who helps change habits for a living. http://drpullen.com/changehabits/

Thesource on September 07, 2010:

Thanks for the great Hub.

These are also the seven signs parents should know that their son or daughter is not ready for college.

If their children refuse to change, it is time to stop funding these kids as it is a waste of money.

It is better to put them to work to remove these bad habits.

kapileswar on September 03, 2010:

now i am undestood....... a lot about the real / serous study habbits

emievil (author) from Philippines on August 22, 2010:

Cramming Syndrome???? Hmmmm, I think that's a bad habit even for working people. LOL. But you're right, a lot (if not most) of us passed through this stage during our student days. Thanks for the comment thesailor.

thesailor from Seven Seas on August 20, 2010:

How about the Cramming Syndrome? I think, most of us have passed that period during our college days. Thanks for this hub, emievil.

Jin on July 22, 2010:

hi.. good day.. emievil, I'm just wondering what's your real name coz I'm quoting some of your statements here, for my theoretical background on one of my courses.. Our teacher always asked us to put the authors name to shun plagiarism... tnx in advance...^^

riminiurlauber on June 11, 2010:

Errr I can write a list with twenty more bad study habits. From my own experience :D

adorababy from Syracuse, NY on June 07, 2010:

Poor attendance may be the most common student mistake-- and the most unavoidable.

Falsor Wing from Lodoss the Accursed Isle on May 09, 2010:

I particularly liked your sweeping, and fantastically inaccurate, description of students who don't take notes in class.

Nauman Nazir from Pakistan on April 08, 2010:

Also Copy/Pasting...or call it Plagiarism...

Teachers value original stuff not 'taken' material..

dani_diva from London on April 07, 2010:

This is really helpful

marty on March 27, 2010:

I think the most of us have one or more of these bad habits. Anyway, thanks for your tips.

Sansa on March 26, 2010:

Procrastination is probably the worst - it's hard to study when you've waited till the night before an exam to cram everything into your brain. Especially around midterms or finals when there is a ton of different knowledge from all of your classes that has to be memorized.

emievil (author) from Philippines on January 21, 2010:

Hi Yuan Tian. Procrastination is really a problem not only for students but for us, writers as well so don't worry about it, you're not alone here :). Thanks for visiting my hub.

Yuan Tian from Australia on January 21, 2010:

Thanks for all the advice, emievil! Although I do have good attendance rate and hand in my assignments, my tick on procrastination is so big it covers all the seven areas you listed. *hang head in shame*

emievil (author) from Philippines on January 17, 2010:

LOL, don't blame me if you don't get good grades. Just kidding. Thanks for becoming my follower :).

L. Andrew Marr on January 17, 2010:

Kind of ironic how I'm reading this instead of studying right now =P

Great hub =]


emievil (author) from Philippines on January 02, 2010:

Thanks Jonathan. And thanks for sharing our tip to us. Hope other students who read your comment will follow your example.

Jonathan A Gill from Here and there, mostly Europe. on January 02, 2010:

Thank you for a well written hub. I think proper time management is extremly important when studying. Make a schedule, and consider it a full time job. That worked for me. :)

emievil (author) from Philippines on December 30, 2009:

Thanks Katherine, Entrepeneur Help, prosmentor and Keith.

Keith Schroeder from Wisconsin on December 29, 2009:

These rules apply in work life, too. If you want to keep your job, get a raise, promotion, etc., follow the rules in this article.

prosmentor from Lagos, Nigeria on December 29, 2009:

Everyone in college will find this article vey useful. Thanks for a job well done.

Entrepreneur Help on December 27, 2009:

Great Advice! Thanks for posting.

Katherine on December 09, 2009:

Thank you! Advice well heeded! It's just what I have been saying to myself (very quietly, mind you) within my thoughts. Well, it's the end of my first semester and I need to get honest with myself! I want to do WELL in college. I am taking your words to heart, thank you again~!

SmartyPantz on December 09, 2009:

Hi thanx for the great study tips. I will use these for manty classes. Once again, thanx.

emievil (author) from Philippines on November 24, 2009:

@anu, good luck on your work.

@marieryan, thanks for the compliment. Time management was already a problem during my student days. I can't imagine how students nowadays manage their studies with so many distractions. Hope your two daughters are doing well in their studies. Good luck.

Marie Ryan from Andalusia, Spain on November 24, 2009:

This was very clearly written and pitched perfectly for the college student. You are so right about the distractions that young students have nowadays. Although Internet is absolutely wonderful,unfortunately, it can play havoc with one's concept of time. I'm just about to give this link to my two student daughters who I know are social-networking on-line while they study. Thanks.

anu on November 23, 2009:

i think it really gud.and i do work upon it

emievil (author) from Philippines on October 23, 2009:

Thanks melbrown, that was my problem when I was still in college more than a decade ago. A lot of things already changed but that's one that seems to be a fixture :).

melbrown1 on October 23, 2009:

Great Hub. I am an academic advisor, and the number one issue with my students is poor time management. At my university we have quite a few working adult students with outside responsibilities. I will suggest this hub to my students.

emievil (author) from Philippines on October 21, 2009:

V. C. whoa! simmer down. Uhm, that's your personal decision and all I can say is, I wish you all the best! Good luck!

Thanks yt.

Ekow, I decided to present these bad habits because all I actually see (most of the time that is) are the good habits. So, I tried to play a devil's advocate role here :). Thanks for your comments. I really appreciate them.

Ekow, ghana on October 21, 2009:

7 bad habits huh? These could be replaced with the positive ones.

I like that cos my research area seeks to adress some of these issues. having and using effective study habit skills help students at all levels to perform well academically. I think it should bge integrated in the educational curriculum.

Good work there

yt55500900 on October 03, 2009:

Nice Hub !!!

V.C on September 29, 2009:

I'm 17 years old and I've left my high school before graduation.

I can't stand the environment of high school which is so stupid and conservative.

In my opinion, school is not the only way to be successsful

emievil (author) from Philippines on September 28, 2009:

LOL ejshepard, I don't think there will be a lot of people who claim they actually like studying. Thanks for the link.

Emdi, mine too. We're okay but a lot of my countrymen are not. Hope we'll recover. Thanks.

emdi on September 28, 2009:

My greatest enemy is procrastination. I hope you and family are safe after the flood in Manila.

ejshepard on September 28, 2009:

I HATE STUDYING! lol..but i guess we all have to deal with it. you guys should check out this info on student grants


emievil (author) from Philippines on September 27, 2009:

Thanks sarovai, expatscholar (nice name).

Cluense, you and me both. If that was my child I'll just ask him or her to drop the subject and just get a job, saves us both a lot of trouble. As a part-time teacher, that is also my concern. I mean they're wasting my time and the school's resources because the school still has to pay me whether they do good or not in their classes. Thanks for your comment.

expatscholar on September 27, 2009:

Good hub!

Katie Luense from Buffalo, NY on September 27, 2009:

You are so right. I do not understand some of my classmates thinking. You pay $1,062.00 per class and do not care about passing or doing the required work to learn? My question to them is, Why are you wasting your time and the instructors? Go get a job or a sugar(daddy/momma)

sarovai on September 27, 2009:

Hub with fact. I appreciate.

emievil (author) from Philippines on September 27, 2009:

LOL, yup, me too. Fortunately, we passed college. Some are not as fortunate.

hdy from Texas on September 27, 2009:

reminds me of college days... whew!

emievil (author) from Philippines on September 27, 2009:

Thanks keira.

Thanks Jane. College is indeed a balancing act =). Hmmmm, on the not teaching the concept, I'm hearing more of that nowadays, wonder if it's really the trend now. Good luck to your daughter. I'm sure she will do well. With a mother like you who teaches her a good example, I'm pretty sure she will succeed in college. =)

Jane@CM on September 27, 2009:

Great hub! My daughter is a freshman/sophomore at college. Her goal is to be on the Dean's list, then came her first EE class & it is on C++, very new to her - outside the realm of physics & calc. The library is her friend. She was a full time PSEO student last year (finishing her senior year in HS & freshman year in college at the same time) so she was home. Now that she is in the dorms & a sorority - a whole new world of activities surround her. It is a balancing act. Her biggest issues are professors who put the information up on the overhead & don't explain it or teach the concepts. Good thing there are study groups & tutors on campus!

keira7 on September 27, 2009:

Very good hub thank you.

emievil (author) from Philippines on September 27, 2009:

Thanks hello.

Hello, hello, from London, UK on September 27, 2009:

Thank you for an well written hub and very good advise.