|Good Study Habits|
Joe’s grades were slipping and his football coach told him he either had to bring up his grades or quit the team. Hearing that from his coach was the motivation Joe needed to start hitting the books, but when he sat down to study, he wasn’t quite sure where to start. He tried looking over his math homework for 15 minutes, then pulled out his social studies textbook and read a few chapters. By the time he picked up the novel he had to read for English class, his head was swirling with information. When he looked at the pages of the novel, all he saw were quadratic equations and the names and dates from his social studies textbook. His brain was on overload.
Instead of sitting down and trying to study everything at once, Joe could have benefitted from creating a study plan. A study plan helps you schedule in time for studying every subject without becoming overloaded with information. It also helps you make studying a priority in the midst of your busy schedule.
The first step in creating a study plan is to figure out where you can fit studying into your day. Make a list of everything you do during the day, starting from the time you wake up until the time you go to sleep. Be sure to include the approximate time you do each activity. For example, a portion of Joe’s list would look like this:
Once you have made your list, the second step is to determine how much time you have to study. Joe has a one hour study hall at 10 a.m. He also knows that he has an hour before football practice and three hours for dinner he could possibly use for studying. After you figure out how much time you have to study, you must figure out what you need to study.
To figure out what you need to study, make a list of all your subjects and then list those subjects from most important to least important. Joe knows he is failing social studies, so that will go at the top of his list. Math comes fairly easily and he can get his work done quickly, so it goes at the bottom.
While you may have homework for each subject every night, you do not have to schedule in general study time for each subject on a daily basis. Instead, your study schedule should include time to do homework and then time to review your notes and do some general studying for each individual subject.
For example, if you have two hours of study time every day, your schedule may look like this:
Notice that even though the schedule above is written for a two-hour study block, it includes time to take breaks. When studying multiple subjects, be sure to take a break in between each subject. Taking 10 or 15 minutes to have a snack, watch a little TV or call a friend can help you process the information you learned during your studying and clear your mind so it is ready to tackle the next subject.
It is also important to give yourself longer breaks from studying. Instead of studying seven days a week, schedule a day or two where you do not have to study at all. Taking time off from studying will make it easier to focus when you sit down to study and will give you something to look forward to on the nights you do have to study.
Joe sat down and created a study plan. He decided to use his study hall during school to work on his social studies for 30 minutes, then relax for a few minutes and work on any big projects or papers he had coming up. In the evenings, he would spend 40 minutes finishing homework, take a 10 minute break and then spend 20 minutes each night studying one of his other subjects. Fridays and Saturdays were study-free so he could focus on football.