It’s assessment time and for many, it’s crunch time. Don’t leave your studying to the last minute — in fact, if you get started right now, when assessments roll around you’ll be more than ready to tackle anything your assessments throw at you.
Organise your time
A good way to get started with a study schedule is to print out a blank calendar for the term, mark the dates of your assessments and work backwards from there marking out revision and research time to make sure you’re giving yourself enough time to focus on each assessment.
You can also use a blank calendar to time-block. When you use a time-blocking system, you can see exactly how much time you have for each study task, for other commitments and for rest time. Start by blocking out your fixed commitments (school, Co-curricular, sleep etc) and fill in the rest of your time, starting with the subjects or topics you need to focus on the most.
While you’re studying, it can be difficult to stay on the task at hand. To combat distraction, you can use a few different strategies to keep you in the zone. We like the Pomodoro Technique.
The Pomodoro Technique has been around for quite some time. Pomodoro is the Italian word for ‘tomato’ and this technique was named after the Pomodoro kitchen timer, which is shaped like a tomato. However, you don’t need to get vegetables involved to use this method.
This technique breaks down your study time into 25 minute intervals (known as pomodoros), separated by a 3-5 minute break to rest, tick off what you’ve just accomplished on your to-do list and get ready for your next burst. Once you’ve completed 4 pomodoros in a row, you can take a longer, 15-30 minute break.
You don’t need to study something different in each burst, but it does give you the opportunity to move on if you want to shake things up or simply keep going if you’ve found your groove.
Understand how you work
We all learn differently from one another. There are four different ways most people like to learn: by seeing, by listening, by doing, or by reading.
The visual learners amongst us might want to get creative, using highlighters or colour-coded systems to aid their memory. Others might like to get hands-on, drawing their understanding or getting out in the world. Still others might like to record themselves speaking about a topic and listening to it back.
There are lots of different ways to learn, make sure you know how you know how you work best so you’re giving yourself the best chance of success.
It can be easy to forget how important food is in your study schedule. First step: make sure you eat! Don’t let yourself get overwhelmed by all the tasks you need to complete. Set an alarm if you’re someone who is prone to studying for hours with no break.
Second step: make sure you’re eating the right foods. Your brain needs the right nutrients to perform at its best, so make sure you’re giving it the fuel it needs with plenty of fruit, veg and lots of water.
Take time to recharge
You might have seen us mention ‘sleep’ as a commitment earlier in this article. That’s because it is just as important as getting to class on time. 14-17 year olds need 8-10 hours of sleep each night to replenish all that energy that’s been used up during the day. If you’re not getting enough sleep, you’ll find yourself flagging mid-way through the term.
Along with sleep, make sure you’re taking breaks throughout the day too. Talk to your friends about anything other than your schoolwork, make sure you’re prioritising reading your Bible and praying, go for a walk, read a book or simply focus on your breathing for 10 minutes. Studying for hours on end with no break is not effective.
Give yourself the best possible chance of succeeding when your assessments come around by leading a balanced study life.