Organicallygorgeous’s Study/School-life balance tips!
So I get many questions regarding this area so I thought I would make a proper post because it applies to 99% of you. These are the things which I have done which have helped me alot throughout high school & uni to get good grades. I hope these help you!
1. Make lots of notes in class.
This requires actually listening in class. I know how hard it can be, especially if your teacher is boring or you have a super early class or you are having a naughty daydream. But listening and making notes during classes help you understand the concepts better & you will avoid the all too familiar situation when you go to do your homework and you have no idea what is going on. The majority of the time, the teacher makes insightful comments about the work which is not covered in the notes, so listening to it & writing it down will be thoroughly beneficial for you.
2. Making notes of notes.
Once I get home, I like to make proper notes from that week’s class. I never type my notes- I find that handwriting my notes is much more effective in retaining information. While I write, I read out loud & pretend I am TEACHING someone the concepts. This version of my notes are messy- it’s just used to make sure I understand the work.
3. Making final notes.
These are my ‘final’ notes. I summarise the key concepts of the work in a succinct manner so when it’s time for exams, I know exactly what is included & what I need to know. I don’t need to waste time looking through the textbook or the lecture notes- it’s all here.
This is how I learn & it works very well for me. It may seem time consuming and long (which it is), but out of everything else I have tried, this is the most effective as you LEARN- as opposed to just typing.
General Study Tips
1. Have a ‘Study Space’.
This space should ideally be reserved for study only. This means not your bed, or the lounge or other places of ‘comfort’. A place where you are in the study zone and your mind is trained to switch on and learn. Examples of places include a study table, the dining table, a library etc. Somewhere that you will not be disturbed or that you are tempted to fall asleep.
2. Have a consistent schedule.
Your life generally falls into a routine and you should identify when the prime time to study is for you. When I was in high school, I would come home at 4.00pm and my study time was from 5.00pm - 7.00pm and then 8.00pm to 10.00pm. Now that I have a full time job & have full day of classes, my study time is on the weekends. Make sure you reserve time aside when you know you will study.
3. Make a ‘to-do’ list & have a planner.
Most schools give out diaries and planners which should be your organiser. If not, purchase a 2013 planner or just a notebook or even your phone planner which helps you become more organised. This is where you write what homework/study/assignments you have to do. Once you have a planner, it becomes much easier to make a ‘to-do’ list and make sure you haven’t forgotten anything. I personally put at the top of my to-do list the hardest things or those which I don’t like doing, just so I can get it out of the way. Also, the hardest requires the most concentration so you want to dedicate the most efficient time to that. As you complete the tasks, cross them off. It is a fantastic feeling when you cross off all the items on your list.
4. Take adequate breaks.
The human brain works best on 30-60 min intervals without a break. So after that time, get up, have a stretch, have a snack and get some air. There is no point trying to study for hours on end- you won’t get anywhere. Studying in blocks of about 45 mins with a 5-10 minutes break is ideal.
5. Google Chrome’s Stayfocusd extension & distractions
If you’re like me and have little self-control, this extension is perfect for you. It allows you to block certain websites or the entire internet while you’re on your computer for your set amount of time. I suggest using the ‘Nuclear Option’ as you can’t reverse it until the time is up.
Also put anything else of distraction away while you’re studying. Like your phone, your laptop if you don’t need it, magazines, food, books. The less distractions, the more effective your learning will be and the quicker you can get it done.
General School/Life Balance
1. Make time to exercise.
It’s very easy to say you’re too busy to exercise and let school get in the way and this will always happen if you keep making excuses. But it’s up to you to MAKE the time to exercise. All you really need is 30 minutes of rigorous exercise 3-4 times a week. Two of those sessions can be on the weekend and one or two more during the week. If you can time to waste online or hanging out with friends, you have time to exercise. Why don’t you get some friends together and go to the gym or go for a run? That way you’re socialising AND working out.
2. Pack healthy lunch/snacks.
Being alert in class and energised throughout the day is largely due to eating enough of the right food. Fill your lunch with chips, chocolates & juice boxes and you will find it difficult. But if you pack fruit, nuts, wholegrain sandwhiches, chicken etc, you will find yourself feeling and performing much better. Set aside time to pack yourself healthy food and when you can’t buy your own food, ask your parents to purchase healthy things for you.
3. Have ‘you’ time.
Set aside time in the week to do things you love. Whether it be hanging out with your friends or going shopping or whatever, having something to look forward to makes everything alot easier. This can be anything. It’s not all just about study- you need to do things which make you happy.
4. Get enough sleep.
Sleep is so incredibly important to functioning properly throughout the day. If you’re constantly getting inadequate sleep, this will reflect in your moods and your grades. Turn off your laptop/phone at least 30 minutes before sleeping, get into a routine for falling asleep (Shower, yoga, reading) and have a bed time.
Alright! I hope this helps you guys! All the best in your studies!
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