There is always so much to do and time never seems to stretch the way we want it to. So often we get our exam results back and think… I could have studied more! If you would like to get more done in less time, with more fun, then read on for Study Skills Part 1: Time Management.
Sort out your nest! That corner of your house where you like to burrow down and study? It needs to be sorted. It does not need any empty OR full snack packets. It does not need last year’s notes and text books or school notes you forgot to give your parents. It most certainly does not need your cell phone or a TV nearby!
A good study space will have easy access to your study tools and resources – all the stationery you need, text books, notes and computer if you use it. You should not have to get up and down to fetch things because it is oh so easy to get distracted on the way. A good study space will have a comfortable place to sit and work, without the temptation of falling asleep. It will have good light and fresh air. If you like to have music on, choose music without words, ideally classical music.
Plan your study time and stick to your plan. The fridge is not your friend. I know it keeps calling you but you just have to ignore it. Plan to study in 2 or 3x 20 minute blocks per subject. Stand up and stretch briefly each 20 minutes and take a 10 minute break after an hour of work. In your break, move, dance, bounce a ball, eat an apple, talk to your dog but DO NOT watch TV or start playing computer/ cell phone games.
Go with your body rhythms. Everyone has wide awake and sleepy times of day. Some people are morning people, others are night owls. Plan to study during quality awake time. Write your planned blocks of study time down and stick to it.
Prioritise. There are many demands on your time, various projects due and class exercises to be completed as well as needing time to revise and learn work completed. Use a monthly calendar to plot out major assessments and exams as well as anything else happening in your life that is a first priority (like your granny’s 80th birthday party). Think through what you will need to do to complete a task and make sure you leave enough time to complete it.
Don’t ever leave things to the day before because you never know what other work you will be given that day. Sometimes it will seem like teachers have deliberately conspired against you to make sure that all your major tests/assessments fall on the same day. The only way to outwit them is with excellent planning.
Eat well, exercise well, sleep well. When it comes time to study you need to be as physically ready as possible. 8-9 hours sleep/night is essential for teens. Regular exercise is a great de-stressor. Don’t abandon your favourite sports during exam time. This is the moment when they are going to serve you best. Sugar and coffee are not your friends. Whilst they give you a fast energy rush, remember that what goes up, must come down.
Studies have shown that memory is enhanced by a good sleep after studying. Sleeping helps your brain to re-organise information and lay it down in permanent memory/
Remember to keep a balance in your life. You are not just managing your study time, you are managing all your time. Plan to have fun and de-stress. You will find your brain works better when you are refreshed.