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Study Skills (part 1/5)

Posted by on in High School
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Studying. Ugh. It’s one of those necessary evils that we all have to get through, right? Although studying is always going to be a challenge, there are ways you can make your study habits more efficient and effective. UP-grade is here to help you achieve your best possible results so we’ve put together a series of study skills blog posts to help you work smarter, not harder.

1.           GET THE ENVIRONMENT RIGHT

2.           HEALTHY BODY, HEALTHY MIND

3.           PLAN TO SUCCEED

4.           WHAT’S YOUR STRATEGY?

5.           CONTROL YOUR NERVES

Here’s the first one:

GET THE ENVIRONMENT RIGHT

“But I like studying while lying on my bed!”

Although studying is a very personal thing and not every tried-and-tested study method will work for you, it is fairly likely that you don’t actually study best whilst lying on your bed. A large part of exam technique is being able to recall facts during the exam. Studies have shown that the closer the situation in which you study is to the actual exam situation, the more likely it is that you will be able to recall information in the exam. So, sitting at a desk is probably your best bet, since, at South African schools, they don’t provide you with a bed on which to write your exam!

Make sure that you have a desk and a comfortable chair for studying – sit on a pillow if the chair is hard, or a bit too low. Ensure that you have the right equipment for studying: an exam pad, notebook, pens, pencils, calculator, a sharpener, ruler and eraser. This ensures that you won’t have to break your rhythm to go and get something you need.

Light it up

Make sure that your desk is well lit. Eye strain can cause headaches and fatigue – not ideal when you are studying. Ensure that you have a desk lamp and put your desk near a window to take advantage of natural light.

“I study better with music on.”

Yes, you quite possibly do, but music with lyrics has been proven to be distracting. Rather choose music without any words to accompany your study sessions. Classical music which falls under the category of ‘Baroque Music’ actually alters your brainwaves and helps you to retain more information. Try pieces by Mozart, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Bach, Handel or Vivaldi. No-one needs to know you listen to classical music while you study and if your friends ask, just leave off the ‘Ba’ and tell them you listen to ‘Roque’ music! 

Do not disturb

Try and ensure that your study area is free from distractions. Put up a do not disturb sign to keep your siblings away and put your phone on silent, or better yet, leave it outside the room so you don’t get distracted. Tell your family how long you will be studying for and ask them not to disturb you until you come out for a break.

Now that your study spot is sorted, we will look at getting your mind and body ready to work in the next post.

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Candice is a qualified High School English teacher and guidance counsellor. She has a passion for providing practical, easy to implement advice for children to achieve their full potential at school. With a background in Psychology Candice has a particular interest in how attitude and emotions can affect academic performance.

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