One of the issues that a lot of senior students face is not having the right study techniques. Today I want to talk about the importance of studying in the younger years. Yes, your Year 7 assessment marks won’t affect your ATAR or your future career options, but every year leading up to year 12 is your time to set some solid foundations for the next year. If in Year 7 you get into the habit of doing half an hour of study each night when you have a test coming up, you’ll find it a lot easier the next year to increase that to one hour per night. And then by the time you get to year 12, it will be a lot easier to sit down and study for longer amounts of time. Also, like I said before, there are so many different study techniques out there and it can be really useful to use the early high school years to practice some different methods and figure out what works best for you.
So if you do choose to study in Year 7 and 8, here’s some general tips for how to make it productive. It’s really important that you focus on what you get done during a study session, rather than just the amount of time you spend sitting at your desk. So one way to help switch your focus from quantity to quality is to write a to-do list ahead of time, and slowly check things off. It’s best if you can write this list before you start studying so that you don’t waste your study time getting organised. I’m sure you’ve heard this all before but try to limit the distractions around you, there are some great apps such as Forest and chrome extensions such as Cold Turkey Blocker that you can put on your devices so that you avoid distractions, but the most simple way is to just turn your devices onto do not disturb mode.
Over the years I’ve used a bunch of different methods of studying and so I thought I’d quickly go through a few of these that have worked for me.
- The first method involves allocating no time for breaks. You’ll allocate a starting time to each task, and set aside a bit more time than you think you’ll need to complete each task. That way, if you get distracted and don’t stay focussed, you won’t have enough time for a break. But, if you do work efficiently you will have time for a break in the gap between finishing early and starting the next task. Although it sounds harsh, it really helped me get on top of my procrastination, and forced me to just be productive and get stuff done.
- A second method that I’ve used is called the pomodoro technique, and involves studying for short bursts of time and then having short breaks. Each ‘pomodoro’ involves 25 minutes of solid study and then a 5 minute break. In one afternoon you might aim to complete 4 of these cycles, which would add up to 2 hours of work, but by breaking it up into smaller chunks it makes it a lot less daunting and much more achievable.
- And a final method is what I like to call punishment/bribery. Think about something that you really like to do, maybe it’s playing with your dog or scrolling through tiktok. Now, when you go to write your list, add this thing to the very bottom of your list. If you manage to get through everything, you can then do this fun thing! If you don’t then I guess your dog just misses out, and you can feel forever guilty for robbing him of companionship. If you have no self-control, try to think of something fun that involves someone else, rather than something that you can just do yourself. That way, even if you want to quit early and just go straight to that fun thing, the other person can check your list and only join in with you if everything else is done.
So while studying isn’t necessarily mandatory for the younger high school years, it will definitely help you build the skills you need for later in school. If you need help with this, chat to your tutor and they can guide you!