Study, study, study .... Must be funny .... In a smart man's world

We are coming to the pointy end of the year (already!? I know!). The HSC is just around the corner and end of Year 11 exams are about to rev up. On top of that, end of year Exams for Years 7-10 are nearly upon us as well.

So. How do you study effectively?

This blog connects directly to my podcast on Study. So, if you would prefer to listen to it you can! ->

Oh I wish I was the person with a photographic memory! But, for the rest of us, we have to eventually begin to study one way or another.

If you are now in September, and you are about to sit your HSC...... my first question for you is.... Why aren't you already studying?!

On a serious note, study, and the way that you decide to study is a very, very personal thing.

I have been creating across the last 6 months an online study and essay skills support program, which will be available from Term 4, 2019 to come and join because there is so many things to consider..... and not very much time to put them all here.

So. This blog is just going through the basics of study. For a more in-depth look and approach to study and study techniques I would suggest to head to the program about and come and join us!

What? Why? How?

There are a million ways to do it.... but... why do we need to study? Basically, the human being FORGETS 40% of all new information we receive within 24 hours of hearing it. That means that we don't retain an awful lot of the information in our noggins.

So that is a really good excuse to study. The more we use information though, the easier it is for us to retain the information and use it in situations like exams or for the useless trivia nights we may attend in our lives!

Year 7 is the first time you are really drilled in that you should be studying.... .but honestly, most of us don't specifically study until we reach Year 10 and beyond. And MOST of us, only study the week or night before we need to.

Year 12 - you should have been studying from the beginning of Term 4 last year (sorry to break it to you!)

What we do when we study is a different thing altogether. Did you know that completely assessments and assignments, is a form of study? Writing a speech for school, is a form of study? Rewriting our notes after school is a form of study and actually reading (with purpose) our notes and practicing responses, is also a form of study.

So, we in essence study .... Even when we don't realise we are studying!

But how long?

Each school will have a different "number" they think that you should be studying each night. This INCLUDES your homework (yay!). Online sources suggest that the year level you are in should indicate how much study you are doing a week.

  • Year 7 = 7 hours a week
  • Year 8 = 8 hours a week
  • Year 9 = 9 hours a week
  • Year 10 = 10 hours a week.

And then.... You get to year 11 and 12.

The ATAR calculator online SUGGESTS
Year 11= 18 hours a week Year 12 = 24 hours a week

That is 4 hours night. 6 days a week.

Do I think that is doable? Absolutely not! It is not really doable or realistic. It is completely different when you are 6 weeks before your HSC.... But if you sustain those hours of study all the way through ... you are going to BURN OUT!

Things to consider

Some things you should consider when you are study (see Youth Central online for more information) include:

  1. The space you are studying in. Is it hot? Cold? Noisy? Too comfy?
  2. RING THE ALARM. Set your alarm for your blocks of study.
  3. How do YOU LEARN. What type of learning style suits you best?

Which are you?

Auditory Learner. I remember more information when I am listening to something.

Visual Learner. I can remember what the notes and diagrams look like. I can remember colours as well.

Tactile/ Kinaesthetic Learner. I remember the most when I do the task and practice the task, or when I am writing down the information.

Photographic memory. I can just remember everything (lucky duck!)

But what?

What you are studying or revising is completely up to what is happening for you.

For Year 7-9 your study may be revising notes before an exam and handing in your assignments on time.

Year 10 may be focusing on understanding the concepts you are being taught as well as assignments. This is the best year to set yourself up for Year 11 and 12. I would advise tweaking your essay and long response skills through Year 10 and making studying a habit and consistent.

Year 11 and 12 is the big ones. You should be consistently studying (excluding your assignments) from the beginning. Basically following the syllabus and understanding the concepts being taught. Especially practicing past responses and papers as well.

How do I collect the notes?

Choose your weapon of choice!

You can use Cornell Notes (see this podcast episode for an example of this); dot point summaries; mind Maps; drawing diagrams and images; creating system cards; recording your notes and then playing them back to yourself; practicing your exam responses (a large variety of questions... don't even TRY to memorise them!)

You have to pick what works best for you..... and you get to experiment with that all the way to Year 12 (Yay!).

To write or to type.... That is the question?!

Definitely WRITE. Write, write, write, write, write.

Princeton University and the University of California found that electronic note taking is much more ineffective to traditional notes. Those that took electronic notes retained far less information and had difficulties in remembering what they have studied than those that use the good ole' pen.

And a BLUE PEN! You retain 7 x more information when you write in a blue pen rather than black or fancy coloured pens.

Verdict on studying

You gotta do it! One way or another! So pick the vice that works best for you and practice it until you reach the end of the tunnel!

Written by Alysha Griffiths, owner of Breakaway Tuition, Mittagong.

Who is Alysha Griffiths?

Alysha Griffiths is a passionate educator, owner of Breakaway Tuition and a mum to baby June. With teaching experience in schools, Alysha's passion lies in education and helping kids and parents to connect the puzzle pieces of education! With a Masters in Teaching (Secondary) and a Bachelor of Arts (History, English) Alysha continually works to gain more insight and knowledge across many areas of education.