With many of our year 10 students about to start senior school, tension, stress and expectations can reach new highs. Regardless of what year you study, now is the perfect time to undergo critical self reflection and evaluate your own study habits and techniques.
In the long run, improving how you study will matter more than your grades.
Don't make the mistake of 'burning out' this year. Reflect on some of our study methods that we have tried and tested.
These tips come from articles in educational psychology, and from our team of tutors who learnt how to comfortably succeed as a student.
I find that many students, friends, family and adults forget that happiness is the number one goal. Happiness, while a temporary feeling, is usually derived when you have pleasure and meaning in your life. Happiness, in essence, is about living for the present and the future. Or in other words, about experiencing pleasure and working on what you value.
In order to get the best balance as a student, think very carefully about what you find most pleasurable, and what you value. Pleasurable things might include resting, hobbies, socialising, netflix, exploring, family time or cooking. Values might include studying for your dream course, studying for improvement, reading for self-growth or volunteering. Spend time thinking about what pleasure and value means to you.
The ultimate goal is to split your time enjoying either value-driven, or pleasure-driven activities. Try your best to remove anything that gives you neither pleasure, or value. Wonder why procrastination makes students so unhappy? When we procrastinate, we usually don't feel pleasure or achieve our values. Either go and have the most fun possible, or work hard on what you want to achieve. Leave little to no room for the in-between.
Now that you have learnt about the importance of pleasure and value, you must realise that the ratio between pleasure-driven and value-driven activities will change from day to day. Some days, you will be very free with few to no assessment tasks. Then you can spend a lot for enjoyment. However, on heavy weeks where assessments accumulate, you may need to spend more time studying. Regardless of the ratio on the day, whether it be 40/60, 20/80 or 80/20, you will be working on your own happiness. There will be days where you need to study more but that's perfectly okay.
I think people have a general disdain for diaries. People tend to think diaries remove the joy from life, as time becomes a commodity that is micromanaged. Unfortunately, if we schedule every activity and study in time slots, we put immense pressure on ourselves. However diaries, if used correctly, are a tool to help us become organised and happier. They are essential for students.
Every few days, write a list of all the homework and assessment tasks you must complete. Then, when your long list is complete, make them daily tasks that are spread out over the next weeks. Make them actionable, daily tasks that are recorded on your diary. Order them by priority and make sure you are comfortable that you can complete them to your best ability on that day. Also don't forget to add the due dates of your assessment tasks to your diary. Don't forget about any assessments!
Use your diary to complete your daily tasks . Tackle them first after school, or in the day. Give them all your effort and attention. Then, when they are finished to your highest standard, take the rest of the day to relax, rest and enjoy what gives you pleasure. Don't overwhelm yourself with all the assessments, homework or exams coming up. Do what you have to do each day, and enjoy your life. If you completed everything you needed to, there is nothing to worry about.
I find Google calendar excellent. I can sync many different calendars for University, lesson preparation, work and fun. Google calendar also has tasks you can use to tick off everyday.
Many people associate optimism with being positive all the time. In that sense, being optimistic seems highly unnatural. Optimism instead, should be a powerful tool used when you encounter problems. Optimism is a thought process where we see problems as 1. Externally caused, 2. Highly specific and 3. Usually temporary.
For example, when receiving a poor result, some students might think "I am so stupid and i'll never get better"
Notice the use of unspecific exaggeration.
However, a student applying optimism might think "I didn't get the best result for my 2u mathematics topic test. I had to miss a few lessons for this topic. The next topic test is in three weeks and I can do better in that one".
Also, it's important as a student to hope for realistic goals. If we don't get the best mark, that's okay. Just hope you do better in the next exam. Hope is only dangerous when we hope for something impossible or have no hope at all. To have hopes and expectations is to be human.
Don't disadvantage yourself with a messy table or notes scattered under the bed. Keep everything clean and organised, and that way when you need something you know exactly where it is. Make sure your home has a quiet space where you can focus.
Stay tuned for more!
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