The back-to-school season can be a daunting time for any student or parent. After the fun of summer holidays, it’s never an easy task to adjust back into a routine and a heavy workload. For high school students especially, who may have their sights set on post-secondary places, it can be a time of stress and anxiety.
Thankfully, setting up some simple habits and study techniques can go a long way in helping the transition. If your child or students are struggling, it may help to keep these study tips in mind as class resumes this September.
Sometimes schoolwork just doesn’t sound like fun! When a student doesn’t feel motivated, procrastination is much more likely. To overcome this, a student can be encouraged to:
When feeling demotivated, it can also help to talk to a friend who is likely to listen and offer positive support. Talking a problem through together can improve motivation.
Sometimes with academics, it’s hard to know where to start. It’s great to have a long-term goal such as a target grade on an exam, but students should break this down into a series of shorter-term mini-goals. Each mini-goal should be very specific and manageable, with a realistic schedule.
Setting attainable targets is particularly necessary for reluctant students, or when a task is daunting. After all, gearing up to start is the hardest part. A student could opt to work on the task for just half an hour, which will lead to a short, concentrated period of study. Chances are, the student will become involved in the task and continue for longer.
An organized study space equals an organized mind, so it’s useful to create a dedicated study area. If space is at a premium, a study corner in a room works well – this makes it easier to separate studying from other aspects of life. Neat storage solutions, such as filing cabinets and box folders, hide study materials from view when they are not being used.
Research has shown that studying for long hours does not necessarily result in high grades. When studying the same amount of material, learners who work in a calm, quiet place, without distractions, will need less study time than those who multitask while they work.
Traditional teaching methods tend to use mostly verbal and logical approaches. In recent years, however, educators have started to recognize that students learn in a wider variety of ways. Being aware of one’s own learning style is enormously helpful to any student, because it allows them to adjust their study techniques to their own needs.
Some people prefer a particular learning style, while others may find that a mixture of styles works best for them. It may also depend on the circumstances – for example, the favoured learning styles for practical subjects, language learning and academic study could be different. The ways in which student learn best can also change over time, and understanding this can go a long way in improving a students’ academic experience.
Especially in the last years of high school, it can sometimes feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done. Creating a personal study schedule puts students in charge of their work, and ensures that jobs get done on time. It’s all about managing deadlines!
To manage time, students can make a simple weekly timetable, colour-coding different activities. This will help them to identify—at a glance—what they need to do and when.
Deadlines for work and other projects can also be kept in view by marking them on a planner, wallchart, or on a smartphone. It can be helpful to create “early bird deadlines”, buffers created by setting artificial due dates that fall before the actual deadline. Adhering to such “early bird” deadlines can add flexibility to an otherwise busy schedule , allowing learners some extra time to check their work and avoid mistakes.