Study Skills - The Key to Academic Success
Updated: Jan 9, 2022
Why Work on 'Studying'?
Sometimes our studies can feel overwhelming. You may have a particular subject you struggle with, a lot of different subjects to cover or a large workload for exams and coursework. Whatever your situation is, you can benefit from improving your study skills.
Define your Goals
There are lots of simple and effective steps you can take to enhance your productivity and get the most out of your studies. The first, and most important, is having an awareness of your desired outcomes. What do you want to accomplish, and why? Write down your goals: short (days or weeks), medium (weeks or months) and long term (years).
How to get Started
It helps to be aware of what a typical day looks like for you. This will help you to plan your study time effectively. For example, if you get home from school at 4pm, you'll probably need a short break before tacking your homework.
Lists can be extremely helpful to break big tasks down into manageable chunks. You can then have the satisfaction of crossing something off when you've completed it. A calendar app or good old pen and paper is essential for planning which days and times you will tackle certain things.
Creating the Right Environment
For a productive study session, you'll need a clear and quiet space that is free from distractions. This means leaving your phone in a different room, or turning notifications off and keeping it face down. Make sure you have somewhere comfortable to sit, and get all your books and stationery ready before you settle down to work.
Time management can be tricky to master. It's tempting to think you'll smash through lots of tasks if you put them on your to-do list. Be realistic about what you can achieve in a given time. If you finish early, take a break and be a bit more ambitious about what you can do next time. If you have too much to do, note what you have done and then rewrite the rest of the task on the list as a new, smaller item for later.
You should manage yourself as if you are helping a friend, younger sibling or someone who has never studied before; what advice would you give to them? Be aware of your energy levels and how focused you are. You will find that short breaks and rewards, like a snack or a drink, can make all the difference when you resume your work.
Reflect and Evaluate
Quality and rigour are the backbone of your academic success. Don't take shortcuts; write neatly and clearly, use good stationery and books, and be as thorough as possible. If there are things you don't understand, make a note to practice or look them up later. You must be accountable, which means being honest about whether you have done a good job and put the effort in. Having study buddies or discussing your work with family members or teachers can really help with this.
Make it Your Own
Above all, you should try to enjoy the process of taking control of your workload, and remember how important study skills are for you to achieve your goals in life.