..Studies in the university are kind of a herculean task in itself and if you don’t find the best way around it, you will definitely get it wrong. Many students enter university with their mindset from high school and hence end up getting disappointed by the end of their first year in university.


Life in the university is quite different, especially because for the first time most people get to be on their own with less of instructions coming from a parental figure. Such freedom comes with its own disadvantages.


My goal in this post is to elucidate some of the common study mistakes that fresh year university students are likely to make which has led to the failure of many.


Mistake #1: Cramming just before examinations.

One of the ways many students survive high school is to wait until an examination is around the corner, then become serious, cram a night or two to the paper and pass the exams.

This strategy doesn’t seem to work very well at the university level.


The first reason being the fact that the workload of a semester is so much that cramming it a night or two before exams are practically impossible. The other reason is the possibility of going blank before the paper because you didn’t really learn the content well.


It’s not a funny feeling to find yourself going blank before an examination paper and the pressure on you alone can cause you more harm to an extent that some students end up fainting during such times.


As such most universities do well to bring ambulances around when examinations are in progress.  You want to prepare adequately before any examinations to protect yourself from this kind of embarrassment.

Ehoneah Obed reading the lean startup


Mistake #2: Having the Idea that Reading is the only way to learn

Always remember this; reading is just a form of learning and not the only way to learn. The fact that you have been reading all the time, doesn’t guarantee academic success and this is evident in our everyday school life. We meet people who spend almost all their time reading books but do not do well academically.


On the other hand, we also meet others who spend less time reading but surprisingly, they come out successful in school. Sometimes, this is intriguing and we hope there is a secret to their success, which we are always eager to unravel. From my experience, I think it has more to do with knowing yourself and how you learn best (note that I didn’t say read best).


Learning comes in several forms and at any point in time, we have to find out how we do it best. There are some people who are good with the visual forms of learning, so they prefer drawings, pictures, videos and the likes when learning and they do remember very well when they use these forms.


Others are good with audios and that is the best way they can remember the things they study. Some others also do well with reading and writing. The import of this excerpt is to bring to shore the fact that, you have to know which one works best for you.


Know what works for you

If reading alone doesn’t work for you, then complement it with other means. Those who are good with other means apart from reading, get more from using the means which they are comfortable with before reading. For instance, if you’re good with audios, you want to try listening to a lecture or recording on what you’re going to learn before sitting by the book to read. Once you do that, you can easily imagine what you read and you can easily remember what you read.



Mistake #3:  Procrastinating study time

“Procrastination is a thief of time” has become a common adage that almost everyone knows. But, not so many people apply it to their life. As a fresher in the university, you are likely to procrastinate a lot. In fact, this will do you more harm than good.

There will be lots of activities on your plate as a fresher. If you don’t take care, your studies will become a secondary matter, leading you to procrastinate on it. The fact is, it usually feels there is more time for studies until there is no time at all.


Set Priorities!

This is the solution to procrastination and you want to watch out for it. You have to prioritize the things you have to do. If you want, you can classify your daily activities into needs and wants. Where the needs will include your studies and any other thing that you can’t do away with. Or anything that you can’t succeed in school without. The wants being those things that you would love to do but won’t spoil anything if you don’t. Give more priority to your needs over your wants.


Mistake #4: Skimping on sleep

Sleep is an essential commodity and I will count it as one of the basic commodities needed by students. Most students try to get ahead in class or in their studies by forgoing sleep. This they do in a bid to get more time to study at the expense of their sleep.


The truth is, once you deny yourself of sleep, your cognitive capacity is impaired. That is; your ability to learn well goes down. You buy yourself more time but your productivity goes down.

It is, therefore, better to get good quality sleep and spend a little less time to study but absorb much. Don’t deceive yourself. Being a good student is not about how long you read. It has more to do with how well you utilise the little time you have.


Efficiency is the key, give yourself ample time for sleep and use the rest efficiently. Most students actually spend most of their time on unnecessary things. They realise later that they’ve not studied and hence they burn the midnight candle and only have a little sleep.

You can read more here: https://www.uatutoring.com/blog/2016/7/1/why-is-sleep-so-important-for-students


Mistake #5: Learning just anything

Strategize well if you want to succeed in the university. I have been a victim of this particular mistake. Hence, I’m now an advocate for how to learn well in the university. I read almost everything I was taught in my first semester in school during my preparation for the mid-semester examinations.


To my surprise, one of the papers we wrote had questions from just the first page of the handout. I had wasted all that time and performed poorly on that paper. But some colleagues who had asked around prepared for the paper by learning just that page. They scored almost everything.


I learnt my lesson. From there, I almost always asked some senior course mates what they remember from their exams. And also how each lecturer sets their questions so I prepare adequately for it.


The use of past questions was one of the ways out. The past questions will give you an idea about how the questions are set. They also help you to prepare adequately for examinations. Don’t be fooled learning just anything at any time.



In conclusion, do well to avoid the mistakes discussed above. Make sure to do what is right all the time to have good study time in school. The best study time in school is the one that yields the best of results. Aspire for better results and work your way out to achieve it.