There is a common misconception in today’s society that in order for our children to obtain maximum academic results they must dedicate vast proportions of time to studying. Whilst it is obviously crucial to prioritise time to understanding and retaining the knowledge learned in the classroom, more emphasis should be placed on effective and efficient study skills. Successful study habits act as a catalyst for your child to develop a more positive outlook on learning. They allow children to fully absorb and comprehend information without tying them to their bedroom desk for hours. There are a few simple yet highly advantageous methods every student should embrace to drastically change the effectiveness of their study skills.
Look at the bigger picture
The first and foremost imperative step to adopting more effective study habits is to take a step back and consider the bigger picture. Track upcoming deadlines, make note of each exam, and consider how much time needs to be set aside. What exam will be the most challenging? Which piece of coursework requires more complex research? Does one module, exam, or assignment carry a larger contribution to a final grade? These are all important aspects to contemplate before moving onto the planning stage.
Plan a routine
Positive study habits should allow your child to dedicate their time proportionally to each subject. Obviously, if they are struggling with one particular topic, and it seems to be consuming all of their designated time, you should consider hiring a tutor for some extra support. Otherwise, a consistent study schedule is the first step to increased productivity. Successful students often plan out specific study dates and times, and stick to them! Sporadic reading and writing of notes will not translate to effective retention. So, sit down with your child and help them organise their time, discuss when they feel they are most productive, and ensure the time is split appropriately to cover each of their school topics. Research has shown that pre-testing yourself is the most effective way to achieve higher results.
Consistently review work
One thing many students fail to do, which ultimately impedes them further down the academic line, is review the past week's work. Many children and teenagers will only resort to consistent and intensive revision when there are looming exams or deadlines. However, if they get into the habit of devoting time each week to simply re-reading their notes, and clarifying any challenging concepts they encountered during the week, they will experience a huge positive effect on their ability to recall knowledge when exam season approaches.
Study offline as much as possible
As a society, recent shifts have meant we are generally more reliant on technology, which has entered almost all aspects of our lives, including revision! Eliminating phone usage whilst studying can greatly improve a student’s ability to concentrate and remain on task. Every time your child receives a notification, text, or phone call, it breaks the cycle of productivity. Rather, treat a mobile phone like a reward, allowing small phone breaks after each completed revision goal. Purchasing the relevant textbooks will also encourage offline learning and the removal of tempting distractions.
Plan plenty of break periods
Most of us need to self-study in small bursts. It can be easy to get off task while working alone since there is no interaction with a teacher, tutor, classmate, or friend. Generally, it is more productive to study in periods of around 30 - 45 minutes. Twenty minutes in one sitting is typically better for younger children. Research has shown that it is more effective to work for shorter periods at high intensity, without any distractions, rather than to drag out studying with constant interruptions. Planning breaks enables your child to check in with friends or play a game, and allows them to not feel guilty about giving themselves a rest since it is scheduled into their study framework.
Create a motivating study environment
Study plans have been made, deadlines have been organised, and notes have been reviewed. It’s finally time to start revising! The environment in which a student chooses to study has an enormous impact on their motivation, concentration, and ability to maintain dedication to the learning process. For instance, when a student chooses to revise or complete assignments in their bed, it often creates a correlation between the area where they sleep, and the pressure of revision. By moving the study area to a desk or table in a quiet, calm room, it shifts the mental association of work away from the area where students need to relax and recharge for the week ahead, and eliminates the temptation of taking that extra nap!
What’s important is finding the study routine that works best for your child. It may be an iterative process involving trial and error, and that’s perfectly alright! It will take time to discover the best routine, but once you do, the results will follow!
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