During the early days of my college career, my personal motto when it came to my studies was, “If you wait 'til the last minute, it only takes a minute!” I lived by this motto for a couple of years, and loved it. I would procrastinate until there was no other option but to pull an “all nighter” to finish a project. That seemed to be a small price to pay for the fun I had while putting aside my school work.
Looking back on those years of college, it’s easy to see that my schooling was not a priority. As an upperclassman, I began to see and understand the importance of keeping up on my schoolwork. I began to plan out my study time, rather than plan to cram the night before an exam. I began to develop good habits, and school became easy.
Developing good study habits was a difficult process for me, and probably difficult for most. Karin Klinger wrote a very insightful blog post for the CBT Nuggets blog this past week. In it, she discusses some steps that will help a person develop good study habits, specifically when using online training. These steps can be very helpful to you in your IT study process.
- Create a realistic, achievable training plan — It’s important that the plan you create challenges you, but is also attainable. If it is too ambitious, you are likely to become overwhelmed, if it’s not ambitious enough, you will lose interest in your studies. Use the outline within your TestOut training course to make a good, balanced training plan.
- Consciously choose a positive frame of mind for your training — Make the choice to see the good in your training. It is exciting to learn new things, and look forward to the opportunities that will come with your new knowledge. It will do you no good to sulk about having to study or practice, so you may as well adopt a positive attitude!
- Choose a time and place for training — Set time aside each day for your studies. Klinger references the “Habit Loop” in her post, which you should leverage to make your training automatic. Make sure you pick a place to study that will be conducive to complete focus.
- Reward yourself when you achieve your goal — This is my favorite part of creating a good habit: the reward. Goals are important to habits, and rewarding yourself for achieving those goals brings motivation to continue with the habit you are trying to develop. I’ve found that frequent rewards are best, for instance, after every completed lesson in your TestOut training course. A big reward should be in store when you pass your exam.
- Make your training a routine — We can only muster so much willpower every day, especially when we’re talking about something that we really don’t want to do. This is the power of a habit. When your study becomes routine, it turns into an automatic behavior, requiring little to no willpower.
Online training and study can be hard, because you are mostly accountable to yourself, and not an instructor. Because of this difficulty, good habits must be developed. It’s time to put away the “If you wait till the last minute, it only takes a minute” mentality. Start developing your good habits now.
About the Author — Jake Slater is the social media manager for GoCertify and a graduate of Brigham Young University. Jake's best Habit Loop from the early years of his college career involved both pizza and bowling.