Everyone studies in their own way and it is important that pupils find the best way for them. If your child seems to be struggling with a study routine at home then here are some different methods that people use. You might want to discuss this with them and help them try out some new ways.
- Use online resources – examples in this section of the website.
- Complete past paper questions.
- Make and use Flash Cards.
- Try mind-mapping/spider diagrams.
- Generate short notes or summarise from lessons or text books.
- Use coloured pens or highlighter to emphasise key points in notes.
- Learn or create mnemonics to help remember chunks of information. (ROYGBIV – Richard of York Gave Battle in Vain)
- Write and record mp3 files of notes to listen back.
- Plan a weekly revision timetable.
- Post-it notes in your room/house of key facts.
- Test your knowledge at home with family or friends.
- Break study time into small blocks. Study is most effective for 20-40 minutes at a time, after this focus is lost. Encourage them to take regular breaks.
Having a good study environment is also very important.
Students often listen to music when studying and many believe that this helps them to study more effectively. However, mobile phones are a distraction—if students are constantly checking texts and looking up Facebook they will not be able to concentrate on their studying. If your child does not have the self-discipline to switch off their phone when studying, then consider keeping it safe for them until study has finished.
Encourage your child to keep all school textbooks, jotters files and notes together either on shelves or in a box. That way they do not have to spend time hunting for things they need.
Dealing with stress
Most people worry about keeping up with class work, missing deadlines, sitting tests and examinations etc. We may even make things worse for ourselves by assuming that we are bound to fail. Other demands add to stress – e.g. work, relationships and family demands. It is impossible to prevent stress but the following advice may help you to support your child to manage it.
- Recognise the physical and mental symptoms of stress:
- Feeling…anxious, aggressive, depressed, tense, lacking in confidence, lonely.
- Behaving…emotionally, eating too much or too little, speaking incoherently.
- Finding it harder to concentrate, becoming forgetful, and encountering difficulties in making decisions.
- Changes in the body – e.g. heart rate and blood pressure may rise, moth becomes dry, sweating, pupil dilation, butterflies in stomach.
- Increased absenteeism, less commitment, more antagonism, etc.
- Develop organisational and planning skills. Managing time, identifying priorities.
- Keeping a balance between study and leisure. Exercise helps relieve stress – encourage them to plan their studies but also to plan their leisure time.
- Use other people for support – e.g. parents, friends, Pupil Support staff.
- Tackle problems. A big problem can be broken up into small parts and resolved.
- Eating a balanced diet and having regular meals, reducing consumption of sugar, salt and fatty foods and making sure they get regular and adequate amounts of sleep.