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This is the fourth and final part of my Routines Series. The entire series can be found here.
Why we need Study Routines!
Studying is something most of us think about as something we do. We sit down, we study. But what if we were doing it all wrong?
Yes, that’s right. Just like building habits and creating morning and evening Routines, studying is more complex than it looks. Loads of stuff goes into studying (stuff like your internal clock, timing, planning,etc).
We all know that studying is not just writing notes from a boring textbook and re-reading them. That’s just too passive. But then, studying actively might not be enough if you don’t do it enough. If it isn’t routine.
The point of a study routine is to allow you to get into the habit of studying at certain times. Once it is a habit, you may then find that you can get into the flow a bit easier.
How to create a Study Routine!
There are many things needed to create study routines. You need time to prepare, time to study, discipline, etc.
The basic steps to create this routine
1 – Schedule study sessions throughout the following day/week.
Remember to block out time for clubs, school, meals or other events that you need to do BEFORE scheduling your study sessions. Schedule in breaks, and make sure to use your internal clock to determine when the best time for you to study is (click here to jump down to the part about your internal clock).
Tip 1 – Repeated, short sessions of good focus are the most efficient way to study consistently.
2 – Schedule time to catch up at the weekend.
There’s always going to be a bit of work left over from the week. This catch-up-time at the weekend is what you will use to catch up on these tasks. It can also be used to get ahead of your tasks for the next week.
This time is important because we can’t see the future. Plans change, and we can’t predict what will happen and when, which means we might not always be able to complete everything during the week.
As well as this, if you did complete everything, and you don’t end up using this catch up period, great! You get some extra free time!
3 – Figure out what you want to do during your study sessions.
A study session is useless if you don’t know what to do. When you sit down to create your schedule, also schedule what topics you will be studying during each session.
Tip 2 – Leave 1 or 2 study sessions a week without a set task. This way you will have time to do any extra assignments, or you will be able to study for a surprise test.
Other things you will need:
Time to preview and review the content.
This is also known as active recall. (Click here for my post about practising active recall, or here for my post about the difference between active and passive learning).
Most people have a good understanding of how to review the content (however passive these ideas may be), but not many young students understand the importance of previewing content. It’s an important part of studying.
When you learn the content on your own, you will have a basic understanding in the lesson (which will give you the ability to take part in the lesson more because you already understand what’s happening).
Of course, previewing the content may not be an option for some people who do not know what they are supposed to be learning. One thing my school did at the start of this academic year was introduce learning journey’s, which had everything we were going to learn and when. We got one for every subject.
Don’t worry if you can’t preview the content – it’s not that important, but it does help.
An understanding of your internal clock.
We all have times in the day when we work best, and times in the day when we just want to rest. This can change from day to day – but the basics of it stays the same. This is your internal clock.
For example, I generally work much better in the early mornings (from around 6-10am) than I do in the mid-afternoons (2-4pm). Then I start to peak up a bit from a round 5pm until 7pm. Then I droop again (untill around 9pm, but I’m usually asleep at that point).
This means the majority of my study sessions are scheduled in the mornings and evenings. During my slightly more tired times, I schedule things like going on walks, or relaxing.
Your internal clock may be incredibly different from mine – so you need to figure out yours and find out when you work best, and schedule you study sessions around that.
This really is important – scheduling your study sessions at 8am, when you work much better at 8pm is so counter-productive.
Tip 3 – If you study at around the same time, your body will get used to it and there will be less resistance to it.
The ability to change your routine.
As I have mentioned already, we cannot see the future! This means that we don’t know what is going to happen. Plans could change, there might be a lot of traffic on the way home from school, or maybe you’ll get sick. People change; maybe you start getting up earlier, or start a new club.
The ability to change your routine is, in some ways, the most important skill when it comes to building your routines.
Time to prepare for studying
If you like to have a snack on hand while studying, you’ll need to prepare the snack. Preparation is important because it allows us to have little to no distractions while studying. Some ways to prepare for your session are:
- Preparing water/food
- Going to the toilet
- Making sure the temperature is just right
- Preparing your study materials/stationary
These are only a few ideas – do whatever you think is necessary.
In this post, we have learnt how to build study routines based on when we work best and the other events that we have to do. We have also learnt how to prepare for studying.
Thank you for reading this quick post. Don’t forget that I post every Wednesday and Sunday at 12:00.