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Study Skills

Managing the School Workload and Study Tips

The following tips have been put together as a guide to help students stay on top of their school workload. It can also be used by parents to know best how to support them.

  • Tip 1. Choose a goal. What do you want to be doing when you leave school?
    • The HSC is hard but if you have something to focus on it will make the hours of tedious study and work seem more worthwhile. Your goal could be a particular ATAR for a university course or could also be a cadetship, apprenticeship or job you want. Your goal can also change or be modified along the way, but the main thing is you have something that will keep you going.
    • My goal is: _____________________________
  • Tip 2. Get Organised!
    • On the yearly planner I have given you plot on when your exams and assessment tasks are taking place or are due for submission and highlight them so they stand out. Put it in a prominent place in your bedroom and check it daily. This will ensure that you will never miss submitting a task or fail to be prepared for an in-class assessment. You can also cross off the days as a countdown to finishing the year!
  • Tip 3. Get the Work/Life/Study Balance right.
    • The question that students with a casual or part-time job in years 10-12 need to ask is if they want to make a career out of the job they are currently doing (?). If the answer is ‘no’ you need to consider how many hours you really want to dedicate to it. We do not encourage students to quit their jobs as work can be a good time to socialise, gain valuable communication and teamwork skills as well as de-stress, but it may mean reducing the number of hours you make available to your place of employment during the week and the holiday breaks.
  • Tip 4. Put together a study timetable.
    • Dedicate time to ALL your subjects evenly. All your subjects count so ignoring the ones you don’t like and focusing on the one’s you do will harm your overall result in the end. You must have a balanced approach to all of them.
    • Don’t spend more than 45 – 50 minutes on each subject at a time as you will find it difficult to concentrate for the extended periods of time.
    • Allow time for meal breaks and relaxing but plan your time carefully by recording that favourite TV program that is on in the early evening and watching it later on before going to bed. Also delay lengthy phone calls etc to later in the day. 
  • Tip 5. You don’t need the internet to study! 
    • Turn off your computer when you want to study. Computers are a fantastic distraction (particularly the social media element) and they are just not necessary when it comes time to their study. The best students in Year 12 this year shut down their Facebook account for 12 months to concentrate on his study.
  • Tip 6. Effective study technique part 1 – System Cards
    • Warning: Simply writing a summary of your notes will not help you to learn and remember your work!
    • ‘System Cards’ are an ideal way to study and can be purchased from Officeworks or a Newsagency. Students write questions on one side and the relevant answers on the other based around the syllabus dot-points (or content) that they cover in class. Once students have started to put together some of the cards they can use them to test themselves. Students should keep a piece of blank paper with them and make a list of any area they are not sure of and go back to their exercise books and textbooks and re-familiarise themselves with it.  
    • This technique can be used for all subjects, for example, you might put formulas on the cards for the Maths and Sciences, key dates or events for History, legislation for Commerce or concepts for English etc. Time should be spent preparing new cards as you cover new content and testing yourself using the cards already prepared. Obviously the earlier you start using this technique the better prepared you will be.
  • Tip 7. Effective study techniques part 2 – Mnemonics
    • Another method of learning the material that is quite effective is using a technique called ‘mnemonics’. To do this you break a topic down into key words (using the syllabus) and then create a sentence from the first letter of each word. For example, if you were looking at different types of external debt finance for Business Studies you could list them on the left and write a simple sentence or statement on the right:
      • Overdraft = Outdoor
      • Commercial Bills = Cats
      • Factoring = Fly
      • Mortgage = Mainly
      • Debentures = Down
      • Unsecured Notes = Universal
      • Leasing = Lane
    • Once you have committed the simple expression on the right to memory use it to recall the business terminology it represents. This technique works as it makes the content more personable and students tend to take ownership of it.
  • Tip 8. Keep your parents on your side!
    • Your parents will worry about how you are going during your last few years at school, it’s only natural. The best thing you can do is keep them ‘in the loop’. Spending hours on Facebook, going to work, or socialising will worry them. However, if you show them that you are following a stable approach with a good balance between study, work and socialising you are more likely to find the stress levels at home much more bearable!

Good luck!