Posted in Study

5 Quick Study & Time Management Tips You Need To Know

Can you believe one month of school has already passed? That means the course load is starting to pick up, and if you’re doing university applications, deadlines are looming overhead. Add on the commitment of extracurriculars or jobs, and you’re one busy student.

I launched myself into this year with the goal to make it the best year yet, both course achievement wise, and extracurricular wise too. Although I have been very successful in getting high 90s for nearly all of my subjects in my junior high and senior high years, I felt that the way I approached time management and studying needed some changes this year. Let me share some tips below.

There’s also a freebie at the end to help you improve your time management and productivity right away.

1. Study material right after you learn it

You’ve probably seen this one already, yet chances are you haven’t implemented it yet. I mean, we’ve got more pressing things to do first, right? But regular review really is the key to understanding key concepts. Tests don’t exist so you can just regurgitate facts onto the paper. Teachers write questions in a way that tests your understanding of the topic, and whether or not you recognize all of the underlying connections between all the facts you learn.

For example, in biology, you may find that there’s a lot of memorization involved. But if you can explain how different systems and cycles in the body work, how they’re interconnected, and the reasons why everything works the way it does, then you’ve got a good chance of getting 95 percent or higher on the exam. You’re only going to be looking at a 85 percent if you just know the facts.

For math, it’s practice. You simply won’t get high marks by merely reading over the notes, even if you fully understand all of the processes and formulas used. Math is a subject that needs to be practiced, kind of like a sport or instrument. The more familiar you are with the problems you may encounter, the better prepared you will be for the exam. You might even be able to anticipate all of the tricks your teacher will insert into the test questions.

Why does regular review work?

When you regularly review, you’re giving yourself time to first remember facts/formulas, and then find the connections. All the material will be super familiar to you, so nailing down the content won’t be a problem. When you come around to studying for the exam, you’ll know the facts already, and then just have to tie everything together.

2. Reassess your commitments

As you start of high school or university, try to immerse yourself in all the experiences and clubs that you can. Anything that you might be interested in, join it! Try it out and see if you like it. Then, start narrowing your commitments down to the ones you think will be most helpful to you, and most enjoyable.

Never, ever do something just because it “looks good on a resume or university applications”. People will see through that. Instead, do what you’re passionate about, and gain a leadership position in it. Look for opportunities that challenge you to use your full potential, as that is what leads to growth.

3. Use a planner

I’ve tried using a physical planner before, but I found that phone planners actually are more convenient. The key here is a system that works for you. I typically plug big tests/events into the calendar app, and have all the tasks I must complete in the reminder/to do list app.

I found a really good app that synthesizes these two together so that all of your tasks and events are into one planner-like app. This helps minimize confusion, and makes it easier to coordinate everything, and see all that you need to do each day in one place. It links automatically to your reminder and calendar apps. Anyways, it’s called Rooster, go check it out (this is NOT an affiliate link, just the best app I found after scrolling through the App store and eliminating the ones that required a premium subscription to do anything useful).

How do I plan effectively?

Big assignments/projects need to be planned over a period of time, so write down what you’re going to do each day before the project is due. Similarly, it’s a good habit to plan out the week in advance, and take a look at your to-do list each morning to target the tasks you set out for yourself.

Remember to set out enough time to study so that you aren’t cramming the night before. The most effective method is to input the test date as soon as you find out about it, and then plan out when you’re going to be reviewing for the test so you complete your studying a few/couple days in advance. This is also useful because you’ll have time to ask for help before your exam.

4. Don’t make notes for everything.

Huh?

What I really mean by this is, don’t spend time re-writing notes just so that it makes everything more aesthetically pleasing. Simply put, it’s a waste of time.

Stop for a moment, and think, really think, about how these notes help you. They may be useful as a way to process the concepts taught, but only if you’re transferring things to your own words. You can often get away with this for sciences, but it is still very time consuming. Whatever you do, don’t be spending the time making notes look pretty if you could be using that time to strengthen your understanding of something else.

Although it may be good to turn readings into bullet point notes, make sure what you’re transferring isn’t every idea from the passage, but rather the most important points. Often times the hardest thing when making notes is that you don’t know what should be kept or left. This is a great study strategy, however (especially for social studies or history), as it forces you to think about key ideas rather than every detail, because certain subjects demand more application skills rather than simply base knowledge.

5. Read or find the learning outcomes

Usually, your teacher will hand you a list of learning outcomes that a unit or topic covers. This is your best study guide for the test, because it includes everything that your teacher will test you on. It is not a filtered list; it comes straight from the curriculum. If you have a solid understanding of all the concepts covered on the list, then you should be good to go, but if you can, push yourself even further. How do the ideas inter-relate? Try to even make some questions for yourself. This will help push you to the excellence zone.

If you can’t find the outcomes, ask your teacher or professor if they can provide a list or go over the outcomes with you. You can probably also find a list online.

Free printable: weekly planner

Planning out your week is one of the most effective methods to success and productivity. This free weekly planner divides a day into the morning, noon, and evening time periods so you can focus in on the tasks for each period. This is a great tool to write down events and reminders too!

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