What are the study habits of top students at Oxford University?
Study Habit #1 – Go to your lectures.
For the first 2 years of Oxford, I went to maybe 4 lectures out of hundreds available. I was arrogant, foolish, lazy, and severely disadvantaging myself.
In my third year, I went to almost every single lecture available. Including those involving topics I was not personally involved or interested in.
My mind changed when I actually went to lectures.
Firstly, lectures are FUN! Sure, some of them suck. But I found so many gems that influenced my thinking. I found so many passionate, knowledgeable speakers who got me excited about the topic.
Second, I remembered more stuff! An hour in the lecture hall has massive returns on investment.
Study Habit #2: Be an active student.
For my first year at Oxford, I barely said anything in tutorials. I didn’t volunteer in discussions and, as a result, I didn’t understand much.
My understandings of different texts never matured or became complex. They stayed the same. And they were often wrong.
Then, somewhere in the middle of my second year, I got over myself and offered more of my own opinions. I responded to others, asked thoughtful questions, and interacted way more.
Being an active student also means asking for help. The smartest people in the world learned everything from other smart people.
Study Habit #3: Establish a perfect study environment.
This is a very personal place and it needs to be somewhere you instantly click into study mode.
It might be your dorm room. It might be your library. It might be your local coffee shop.
My perfect study environment was actually the Oxford English Faculty building.
This is where all my lectures were. It was totally silent.
Study Habit #4: Study in small chunks.
It doesn’t matter how much new information you stuff into your head if you forget it the next day or cannot apply it.
When you structure your studying, the most important task is always to ensure you are remembering the information you have already learned.
That always comes first.
In order to improve your retention and absorb more information, you need to break your studying up into manageable blocks (not studying new information for hours on end) and reviewing what you’ve previously learned in each new block.