There never seems to be enough hours in the day to study, have a social life, and get some ‘me time’. Studying always seems to take up much more time than we want it to, but here are some simple tricks you can use in order to study smarter and get more done, leaving you more time to spend doing other stuff you enjoy!
Don’t start to study aimlessly. Always plan ahead – if you have a big deadline, or are coming up to exams, then set yourself achievable mini deadlines that you will actually stick to. Each evening, when you sit down after school, plan which assignments you are going to do that evening, making sure you also leave some time aside to work on those mini deadlines for bigger projects or exams as well.
It’s far too easy to sit down with dreams of completing all your assignments in one night. This rarely happens! It usually takes a lot longer to complete something than you think. Be realistic with yourself. It’s better to complete all your tasks you planned for the night, and treat starting another task you hadn’t planned as a bonus, than set yourself a massive list and only get through half of it.
Don’t get distracted
We all know what it feels like to sit down to start studying, then decide to check facebook, and the next thing you know hours have passed! There’s no easy way to stop yourself getting distracted – you just have to discipline yourself. It gets easier with time! For most people, the main distraction is their phone. You have to find a way of getting rid of distractions that suits you – most people would say to put your phone in another room so you can’t check it, but I’ve always found it easier to have it sitting beside me, so if someone messages me I can see it, but I will never reply until on a study break. This doesn’t always work for everyone, so test both methods and see what works best for you.
Take regular breaks
We all know how important this is in order to give your mind a rest, but sometimes the temptation to carry on for ‘just another five minutes’ to get a piece of work finished is too much. This may seem ok at the time, but you’ll usually find that you’ll get tired and suffer from ‘brain burnout’ far quicker than if you had taken regular breaks. Our brains can only work effectively for up to 45 minutes before they get distracted, so never work for longer than this. Take a break for 10-15 minutes – this is your time to go outside and get some fresh air, check your phone, or chat to your family. Make the most of it!
Don’t put off difficult pieces of work until last minute. Just because something is an easier task doesn’t mean you should do it first. Prioritise work by when it’s due, and how much there is to do of it. Small pieces of work that aren’t due for a few weeks should be left until you have done assignments due for the next couple of days. Start working on big projects early to give yourself enough time to complete them.
Don’t worry if you find it hard to study effectively at first – it is a skill which takes time to master. Just keep practising, whilst being strict with yourself about not getting distracted, and taking regular breaks. Once you learn how to study effectively you’ll achieve much more, leaving extra time for you to spend doing other things!
Thanks to Jenny Pollack for sending us this valuable advice x