The key to performing well during high-school is consistency. There's absolutely no doubt about it. An analogy that I think works well here is comparing your study to your savings. If your goal is to save up $200 by the end of the year, it’s much easier for you to put aside $1 each day, rather than trying to scrape together $200 the week before your deadline! By making a consistent effort to do a bit of daily study, you’re effectively consolidating so much information that by the time you reach exams, you won’t have to cram as much content in a small amount of time. This concept aligns with the high-utility learning technique of distributive practice, which we talked about in our blog post here.
It’s all well and good for us to talk about the importance of consistent study, but how should you implement that into your existing habits? The answer lies in the development of a smart yet feasible study routine. Here are a few tips to help you refine your study routine:
Fortunately, you have a finite amount of time in Years 11 and 12. This gives you a designated period during which you can study for your exams. Start by working backwards from the time of your exam period and decide how many practice exams, questions or essays you want to have completed before then. You’ll find it much easier to figure out how many practice exams/questions you should be doing each month this way, and you can then further subdivide that into the amount of study you should be doing each week.
For example, if I’m aiming to start doing practice exams in June and I want to have completed 20 by the time I sit my exams in October, I should be aiming to do approximately 5 exams every month.
Break Down Your Timetable
You’re not going to be free every evening of every day, nor are you going to want to spend every hour of your weekends studying. Evaluate your day-to-day schedule so that you’re planning your study routine realistically to account for extracurricular activities, exercise and socialising. For example, if you have netball training every Tuesday afternoon, study for two hours instead of three that evening.
Tailor Your Routine
This seems fairly intuitive, but you’d be surprised how many people try and force themselves to study during periods of time when they’re not motivated or productive. If you’re a morning person, make the effort to wake up earlier to get some study done before you go to school. Don’t force yourself to stay up until midnight when your productivity levels are probably not at their peak. Conversely, if you work better in a quiet environment, try and head to your local library after school to get a solid amount of work done before you head home. Sit down with a cup of coffee or tea, light a candle or play some music while you’re getting your study done - whatever makes you that little bit happier!