The June holidays are almost over and are you among the students who are ready to go full steam ahead to get their desired grades for the final year examination?
It may seem daunting for students as the next half of the school year commences, but many find it manageable after developing a sustainable studying routine. In school, it is hard to squeeze in the learning of good study habits with so many subjects to be juggled. Without instruction of good study routines, it is no wonder that students are so easily stressed out with the amount of work to be done and revised! Perhaps I can share a few tips on how to get that “study-train” moving!
Before boarding, do note that sleep is essential for studying. A clear and fresh brain leads to better comprehension skills and higher memory retention rate!
1. Be REALISTIC!
Set aside a realistic amount of time to study each day/week!
My student once told me that she was going to study 6 hours straight each day before her PSLE.
“THAT”S IMPOSSIBLE!” I remember raising my voice to emphasise my point.
Trust me, I was not implying that she would not have the discipline to do so.
It is not easy to maintain that rate and intensity of studying for such a long period of time!
Studies suggest that an average human can concentrate for no longer than 90 minutes before needing a 15-minute break. (Williams, 2017) Therefore, when setting aside time to study, it will be good to factor in breaks. You will be surprised by how much better you can concentrate when you allow yourself some pockets of time to rest!
Other than setting aside a fixed time to study, it is also crucial to be realistic in planning what to study! Within an hour, it seems ambitious to finish studying all the systems of the human body, doesn’t it?
At the start of planning your schedule, you may need to adjust what is a reasonable amount to cover within the time you have allocated. However, once you have established what you can manage, it is all about being disciplined to complete what you have planned.
2. Be active!
Do you mean we walk around when we study? Well… if that helps you!
More importantly, your brain needs to be actively making sense of the information and links between what you have studied. These are what make the studying fruitful and effective. Studying is not a passive process. There is a need to comprehend the information presented to you instead of simply memorising it.
When we are faced with a difficult problem sum, the easier way out will be to copy the answer and move on. However, when faced with another similar problem sum, many will be stumped once again. I always advise my students to actively find out what they do not understand about the question. If you do not actively seek to understand where you have gone wrong, it is likely that you will make the same mistake again.
Hence, the next time you are doing your corrections, compare your answer with the right one and figure out what you had done wrongly! This is to ensure that you will know how to arrive at the model answer on your own in the next attempt. Being able to understand the problem and apply the solution is a higher form of learning than remembering the information.
3. Be you!
How can I be anyone else but me?
Unfortunately, we are only humans and we tend to give in to peer pressure.
“My friend studies for 4 hours, I need to do that too!”
“She copies everything down and memorises them! I’ll do that!”
“He said that he is not going to study for this topic because it’s easy. I shall not study it either…”
I’m guilty of all of the above! I remember staying back in school with my best friend and struggling to keep up with her as she copied phrases after phrases into a notebook. It’s not surprising that she did well for that test while I barely passed.
Did you know that we all depend on our senses to learn? However, each of us might depend on one sense more than the other. There are many different types of learning style but let’s narrow down to three:
– these students learn best through hands-on application of what they have just learnt! They find it hard to sit still and prefer to be on the move. In this case, it may be good to incorporate movement into your studying sessions, or take breaks in between to do a quick dance or short exercise!
– if you have very good observation skills and are fantastic with understanding diagrams and pictures, then you are those who learn through sight! These learners do best with mind maps or beautifully structured and colourful notes.
– these students would rather much listen to a teacher teach verbally than to read written notes on textbooks. If you are one of those, an interesting way to study would be to read your notes aloud, record it, and replay it during revision!
Knowing your learning style will greatly help you to determine the most effective way to study! However, do note that it is common to have more than one learning style. To find out which type of learner you are, you can take this free online quiz – https://www.chegg.com/play/student-life/quiz-what-type-of-learner-are-you/
Last but not least, studying and doing well in your academics is all about YOU. My father always says, “Studying is for your own good…”
Everyone’s journey in life is different but if you wish to achieve a dream, you need to work at it and not give up easily.
If you do well, you will continue to excel and eventually shine in your workplace. If you don’t do well but continue to work hard, you will eventually get yourself where you want to be.
I hope that the next time you look at your notes or textbooks, your first thought would not be, “My parents/teachers/siblings/friends said that I have to get this right, or else…” or “I am bad at this so nothing will change…”
Let your first thought be, “I can do this, and I will excel in it.” I am certain you can.
What I have provided today are just the tip of the iceberg. If you would like to know more about study tips and the how to come up with a sound study plan, let Daniel Wong, the bestselling author of The Happy Student: 5 Steps to Academic Fulfilment and Success help you today! Check out his online course “The Perfect Study Plan” and see the habits that helped students to structure their learning to achieve their desired grades!