As a student, you will inevitably face situations when the workload is so huge that you simply have no idea where to start and how to use the limited time most efficiently and effectively. Moreover, how do you preserve your energy and resources to survive this year? 

The basis of effective studying is clear study goals. The smart goals for students will considerably improve the learning process.

In fact, clearly stated goals can improve any sphere of human life. Be it a sports game or a life situation, if you fail to define goals, you might be as well moving in the wrong direction. Moreover, no sense of purpose will decrease your motivation.

By the same token, explicit goals will help you study better. Start by creating a detailed timetable where you include all the assignments and projects and allot a reasonable amount of time for their completion. Many students fall behind their schedules just because their time-management is unrealistic, and this leads to frustration. Be honest with yourself when setting your academic goals.

SMART Goals Principles

The most basic and extremely effective tool you can apply to achieve your goals is SMART goal setting. The researchers from the University of West Florida have proved that SMART goals improve the academic performance of students and make them more successful in different spheres of life.

Let us have a closer look at the SMART goal-setting technique. The word SMART is an acronym which describes the goal setting principles and requires the goals to be:

S – Specific

M – Measurable

A – Achievable (Attainable)

R – Realistic (Relevant)

T – Time-based (Time-bound)

Now we are going to explain each of the characteristics in more detail.

  1. Specific

This is pretty straightforward: specific goals are those which are clearly defined. Applying this principle in the context of studying, you can divide your syllabus into small categories and separate units. For instance, if you single out the writing goals, it will be easier for you to focus on the most effective ways of improving your writing skills. 

If you are not sure whether your goal is specific, ask yourself this question: Can I clearly say what I want to achieve?

  1. Measurable

Your goals are measurable if you can easily determine the parameters that will signify the achievement of some aspect of the goal. In other words, such goals can be broken up into measurable units. For instance, you can say that you are on the way to achieving your writing goals if you have tried several coaching techniques and managed to create a good essay. Another way of making the goals measurable is by regularly dividing the modules. A question that will help you understand whether your goal is measurable is: “How do I know if I achieved my goal?” 

  1. Achievable / Attainable

Too often when setting academic goals students act unreasonably. This might be caused either by the lack of experience or their desire to impose pressing demands on themselves because this is supposed to lead to success. When setting personal and professional goals LSI:how to do self study effectively, students forget to ask themselves how achievable those goals really are. Consequently, they create extremely busy schedules for themselves. What happens next is that they spread themselves too thin and abandon their study schedules midway. Obviously, the sense of failure negatively affects self-confidence and such students are discouraged. On the contrary, if the goals are too easy, they are at risk of getting bored somewhere in the first trimester. What’s important here is striking the balance by setting an ambitious yet attainable goal. Then you can choose the most appropriate self study method and enjoy all the advantages of self study. At this stage, you should ask yourself if your goals can actually be achieved.

  1. Relevant / Realistic

Similar to the previous characteristic, the relevance of SMART goals ensures their achievement does not become a waste of time. More specifically, the study goals you establish must be relevant to your course or career you wish to pursue in the future. A goal can still be ambitious but its relevance also means that you do not dedicate time and efforts to achieve something you do not need in the first place. 

Think about how realistic your goals are when working on your study schedule. Students are often tempted to compare their schedules with those of their friends, however, what works for one person may become a total nightmare for another so it’s crucial to be guided by one’s personal priorities. The truth is, the answer to the question “How to self study effectively?” is obvious ‒ focus on your own capabilities and needs. To see how relevant your goals are, ask yourself if this is what you really want. Which of your objectives will this goal help to achieve?

  1. Time-based

Deadlines might be stressful but they make you disciplined. The absence of deadlines makes your goals elusive, and it’s difficult to work towards such goals. If your goal has an expiration date, you perceive the time more accurately; otherwise, you might be tricked into thinking that you still have all the time in the world when there’s really a month left.  

Just as you recognize the importance of self study, you have to realize that deadlines are crucial. Of course, your schedule should permit some degree of flexibility because tight deadlines may have a reverse effect when the learning process becomes a burden.

SMART Goals or Smart Study Skills?

Important as they are, effective study skills on their own will not make you a great learner. They are just a tool when you need goals to become successful. Once you’ve decided on your goals, you can then choose smart study techniques and develop effective learning habits that will help you attain your goals. 

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