By Liam Graham (ATAR 99.6). Liam is a former Prime student. He attended an amazing 99.6 for ATAR and received the Premier's Award for All-rounded Excellence in the 2019 NSW HSC.
Studying – it’s quite a fine skill to get right, but once you do, it can really boost your grasp of content and improve your results. To give you some ideas as we ramp up to the middle of the term, I’ve collated 5 (in my opinion) often under-utilised tools to help you stay on top of things.
The Study Plan:
It’s important here to not just make a study plan, but follow it too! Each person will have their own way to plan out studying – this can even include things such as a simple to-do list, outlining exactly what tasks you’ll be working on today, and for how long.
These study plans are also a good way for you to keep track of the bigger picture – having a macro planner for upcoming assessments, including what or how you’ll need to study for them, is quite helpful. Putting things down on paper, rather than keeping it in your head, gives you a sense of structure helps you keep track of things, and stops those deadlines from creeping up on you.
It’s important to find what works best for you though, and make sure that you stick to it.
The Study Breaks
The classic study break is something that holds great power, yet also comes with great responsibility. They’re a great way to boost your motivation and productivity, but it’s also really easy to get sucked into them, and suddenly procrastinate a whole day away.
Use these regular study breaks to get away from work for a bit – stretch your legs, go outside, or just relax or unwind for a bit. Again, it’s important to find what works best for you, like spending 50 minutes working and then taking a 10 minute break, and sticking to it.
However, it’s still a good idea to keep these breaks limited – use a timer, or perhaps someone else, like a family member, to keep you in check and make sure that you get back on track once your time is up!
The Study Notes
Study notes are another powerful tool for easy revision and the condensing of entire terms’ worth of content, however, many people don’t use them effectively.
Make sure that you work on study notes as close as you can to when you learned it – that way, it’s still fresh in your mind when you write the notes. Ideally, this is in the same week that you learned the content. It’s also a good idea to organise them effectively, perhaps by syllabus headings or modules, so things are easy to find.
Make sure that you don’t leave it too late, otherwise, it’s impossible to make study notes and revise them, especially if it’s the night before the assessment!
The Study Approaches
It’s always easier to put off the more difficult task or the one that requires the most attention, in favour of completing the easy or unimportant tasks first. However, this can result in those last minute crunches when assessments creep up on you and you haven’t done the necessary preparation.
Find a way to slowly chip away at these tasks – change your approach and try dividing it up into smaller tasks to complete, or alternate between easier and harder tasks. It’s all about finding the right balance.
The Least Utilised Study Resource
The least utilised study resource in my opinion, are your teachers. Don’t be afraid to use their knowledge and ask them questions!
For assignments where teachers can give you feedback on drafts, make sure you begin the drafting process early, so you don’t miss out on some valuable feedback.
And as always, the tutors at Prime are able to answer your questions as well. Make sure to bring them any questions you have, so you can maximise your time spent here.