COUNSELLING BLOG

Posts tagged study techniques

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Procrastinating Favourites

1. Putting off until tomorrow what you can do today.

2. Social networking (and encouraging friends to waste time, too, by texting or messaging them, or commenting on new blog entries, photos and status updates).

3. Writing to-do lists (instead of working on the actual assignments or tasks).

4. Cleaning and tidying up (as you can’t work in a messy room).

5. Organising your work (into neat piles, coloured folders etc.)   

6. Surfing the web (usually with no clear goal in mind – so it’s more of a distraction technique, or a way of relieving boredom).

7. Going in search of food; leaving your work to grab a coffee with friends.

8. Phone calls to friends (which often end up lasting longer than you’d intended).

9. Playing computer games (which can eat up a lot more time than you can afford!)

10. Exercise. (This can seem virtuous – but if it takes you away from important work then it’s more of a distraction than a proper excuse).

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7 Tips to Help Students get Organized

1. Get up early on school days. Allow yourself plenty of time to get ready in the morning (and don’t switch off your alarm clock).

2. Prepare your clothes and school supplies the night before.

3. Prepare a “to do list” for each day. Do this in the evening, before you go to bed.

4. Have a designated study area (that doesn’t include in front of the TV). Keep this free of clutter, with essential supplies close at hand.

5. Don’t overload your schedule with extracurricular activities. Allow yourself some time just to chill and do nothing.

6. Use a calendar to keep on top of homework and tests. Some people find using colour coding helps.

7.  Have regular, and consistent, study times.

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Tips for Improving Your Memory

1. Try and give your work your full and undivided attention. Don’t multitask or flip between activities when it is important to retain what you are learning.

2. Study over a number of equally spaced sessions instead of cramming the week before exams. That allows you to gradually consolidate your learning.

3. Organize your material in a related and logical way as it’s easier to memorize your work in chunks.

4. Use mnemonics to aid with recall. For example, rhymes, jokes and images can often help with this.

5. Relate new material to previous stuff you’ve learned. This establishes a relationship between the old and new.

6. Use visual materials – such as photographs and tables - to help you memorize numbers, dates and facts.

7. Share what you’re learning with someone else. Trying to teach others can highlight any flaws – or bits of the material you don’t know very well.

8. Spend extra time studying material in the middle and the end of the textbook. Also, allocate more time for more difficult work, or material that’s hard to really grasp and understand.   

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Why do we procrastinate?

Procrastination is a problem for most people – and for some individuals it becomes a way of life. We tend to put things off until we’re backed into a corner, and we’re staring at a deadline, and feeling super stressed. So what are the reasons for procrastinating?

1. Poor work habits. There are some who procrastinate on everything. They are always way behind and never schedule anything. They say they work well under pressure – but they are bad organizers who wait to the last minute before starting on a task. For them it’s only important when it’s due RIGHT NOW.
2. Feeling overwhelmed. When we don’t know where to start, and we don’t know what to do, it’s tempting to do nothing – as that’s so much easier! Also, sometimes work piles up, and we feel it’s all too much. So procrastinating here is a quick form of relief.
3. Aiming for perfection. There are some individuals who are sticklers for details. They can’t miss a thing and all their work has to be perfect. They’re under so much pressure to achieve an ideal standard that it takes them forever to complete a simple task.
4. Wanting to do something else instead. We all have projects that we just don’t want to do. It may be writing a report, or filing in a “stupid” form. We’re avoiding what’s unpleasant as it’s really not much fun. But delaying getting started won’t make it disappear.

Some advice for those who tend to be procrastinators …

• Acknowledge what you are doing; don’t pretend it’s not a problem
• Tell yourself that you don’t have to do it all at once. Make a start on something – that will help to change your feelings.
• Make your focus “getting started”, instead of finishing.
• Break those large assignments down and make a start on something small.
• Don’t beat yourself up. It’s a very common problem. You’re not the only one, and you can change your behaviour!

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Developing Effective Study Habits

Below are some tips to help you develop the attitudes and habits which lead to success:

1. Take responsibility for yourself, and your failure or success.

2. Understand that you’ll need to priorities the way you use your time and your energy. Make your own decisions, and don’t let your friends dictate what’s important, and how much you should work.

3. Figure out when your most productive work times are, and the types of environments where you work best.

4. Try to understand the material well – don’t just memorize what the textbook says. If possible, try to explain it to a friend.

5. Try something else if revision doesn’t help. Don’t just keep reading the same things again.

6. Then, if you still don’t understand then ask for some help. It’s not going to magically fall into place.

7. Study with a friend, and share ideas, and test each other on what you’re meant to know.

8. Keep working and revising throughout the term so the material stays fresh and is easy to retrieve.

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Stress and Exams

 Students who manage best in exams:

- Maintain positive relationships with family and friends

- Continue to allow some time for exercise and leisure

- Get plenty of sleep

- Eat sensibly

- Have planned time for study

- Are organised

- Learn and practice simple techniques for relaxation (see the school counsellor for ideas)

Warning signs that stress may be exceeding a helpful level include:

- Irritability

- Tiredness

- Poor concentration

- Poor short term memory

- Recurring worrying thoughts

- Lack of tolerance for others (you may not detect that in yourself)

- Anxious about little things

- Listlessness

- Prone to bursts of anger and tears

- Indications of feeling ‘down’, alone or misunderstood

- Disturbed sleep

- Indigestion, poor appetite.

No one sign necessarily is cause for worry and these signs need to be considered in the context of your life. However, it is better to seek help than to struggle with worries by yourself. Signs of depression or anxiety in particular should not be ignored.

Source: http://www.schools.nsw.edu.au/gotoschool/highschool/stressexams.php

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Quick Tips for Good Time Management

1. Create a daily ‘to do’ list.

2. List goals and set priorities.

3. Do ‘A’s’ first (Most important things).

4. Do them now.

5. Ask yourself “What is the best use of my time right now?”

6. Be realistic: New habits take time to develop.

7. Reward yourself for small steps of progress towards your goals each week.

Source: http://www.schools.nsw.edu.au/gotoschool/highschool/priorities.php

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10 Tips for Successful Studying

Make studying a part of your everyday school routine and don’t be limited to ‘cramming’ for exams and tests.

1. Establish a routine: Set aside a particular time each day for study and revision and stick to it.

2. Create a study environment
This should be away from interruptions and household noise, such as the television. Ensure there is adequate lighting and ventilation, a comfortable chair and appropriate desk.

3. Set a timetable: With a timetable you can plan to cover all your subjects in an organised way, allotting the appropriate time for each without becoming overwhelmed.

4. Look after yourself: Drink plenty of fluids, especially water, and eat healthy foods. Keep sugary foods to a minimum. Make sure you get enough sleep each night. Regular physical exercise makes you feel great, boosts your energy and helps you relax. So try to keep up regular sporting activities or at least fit in some regular exercise as often as you can.

5. Reward yourself for studying: Watch your favourite television program, spend time with your friends, walk to the park and play sport throughout the week.

6. Have variety in your study program: Study different subjects each day and do different types of work and revision in each study session.

7. Avoid interrupting your concentration: Have all the appropriate materials with you before you start a session of study to minimise distractions.

8. Test yourself on what you have studied: Ask your parents or family members to quiz you on what you have learnt, use draft questions from books, past assessments or major exam papers.

9. Don’t panic at exam time: If you have followed a study routine and have been revising your class work, there should be no need to worry. Try to keep yourself calm, positive and confident.

10. Ask your teachers for guidance: Especially if you’re having trouble - whether it’s grasping a new concept or understanding something you learnt earlier in the year. They will be happy to help.

Source: http://www.schools.nsw.edu.au/gotoschool/highschool/studyingtips.php

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How to Overcome Procrastination

1. Be honest with yourself and admit that you’re putting off stuff that really needs to be done.

2. Try and figure out why you’re procrastinating. Is it because you don’t like it, it creates anxiety, you don’t understand it, it feels overwhelming, you’re disorganised …?

3. Decide to break the habit of procrastination by deliberately rewarding yourself for doing something you’d rather not do.

4. Make a pact with a friend –where you deliberately and regularly encourage each other, and hold each other accountable.

5.  Sit down and think – in detail – about all the likely consequences of not doing what needs to be done. Be brutally honest, and try and picture what you’re life is going to look like 6 months, a year and five years from now ( if you continue to procrastinate).

6. Decide to break large tasks down into smaller, more achievable tasks, and then tackle these smaller tasks one at a time.

7. Recognise your progress, and affirm and praise yourself for making these changes – and doing things differently, even though it’s hard.  

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Effective Study Tips

1. Start early. Don’t leave studying to the last minute as cramming doesn’t really work. Preparing well in advance leaves you with time to ask questions and review topics you don’t fully understand.

2. Plan and organise your study time. Decide what you will do, in what order, and by what date.

3. Have an area that you designate specifically for studying.  Don’t do anything else there. Keep all your notes, textbooks, materials etc in that area.

4. Study something each day – but allow yourself one whole day off a week.  That way, you’ll stay on top of your work without feeling bogged down and overwhelmed.

5. Make your own notes, and rewrite material you’ve studied using your own words. Doing that, will help to consolidate your learning.

6. Cover up material you’re studying and try to summarise, or paraphrase, it.

7. Don’t review material you know already. Assign the majority of your time to work you still find challenging.

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How to Stay on Top of Things

1. You need to choose your priorities – and then keep these as your priorities, despite the temptation to do something else.  We know that everything of value comes with a price; so decide what matters the most to you.

2. Accept that you won’t do everything well then identify your own unique talents and strengths. If you invest your time and energy in those, you will find you are effective, and you’ll feel more fulfilled.

3. Although we talk about balance, and doing different things, you can end up feeling pulled in a million directions. So, try and combine things whenever possible – like building friendships round interests, hobbies and sports.

4. Cut the time you spend on social media. It’s fine as a distraction when you’re taking a break, or as a treat or a reward at the end of the day. But make sure it’s an extra that you’re able to control.

5. Related to this, be aware of the people who will drain you dry – the whiners and complainers, and those who waste your time. You need to be quite ruthless and put up boundaries to stay on track, and on the journey to your dreams.

6. Be realistic and lighten up. There will always be some setbacks and some obstacles. Recognise that it is normal – there’s nothing you can do. Give yourself a break, don’t freak out, or get uptight. Just relax, and have a laugh – and see some progress has been made.           

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What to do when you get a bad grade

1. Don’t mope around and keep beating yourself up. That will only distract you from your studying, and stop you from doing your best in other subjects.

2. Remember a bad grade is only a bad grade. It doesn’t mean you’re worthless or have failed as a person.

3. Try and find a way to let your feelings out through some kind of physical activity. For example, through running, jogging, or going to the gym.

4. Aim to do better on the next test you have. There will still be other tests where you can get a higher mark. Maybe see it as a wake-up  call, and change your study habits.

5. Try and figure out why you received the bad grade. Do you need to study more, or to learn some new techniques? Did you not fully understand the course material? Did you just have a bad day, or were you tired or feeling sick?

6. Get extra help from your teachers if you need it. Most of them are happy to answer students’ questions.

7. Be determined to keep going and to persevere.  It’s easier to do well with a good attitude.

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8 Ways to be more productive with less effort

1.Sort out your priorities. Make time to honestly reflect on your life, and to think about what is important to you. Where are you going? What do you want? What are the steps that will take you there?

2. Focus on the essential tasks. Next, think about your short term responsibilities. Ask yourself: “Out of all the tasks that I have to do, which will get me the greatest return for my time and effort?” Make a list of these types of tasks — they’re your most important things to do this week.

3. Eliminate what you can. Now look at your list. What on the list is not essential? Is there anything there that you can drop from your schedule, delegate to someone else, or put on a “waiting list”. Often when we review these non-essentials later, we find they weren’t necessary at all.

4. Do essential tasks first. Begin each day by doing the two most important tasks. Don’t wait until later in the day as they’ll get pushed aside to make time for other stuff that arises throughout the day. You’ll find that if you do these tasks right away, your productivity will really increase.

5. Eliminate distractions. If you allow yourself to be constantly interrupted by email notifications, IM, cell phones, social media and so on, then you’ll never be productive. Turn them and, if you can, disconnect yourself from the internet.

6. Keep it simple. Don’t waste time on applications that are meant to organise your schedule. Make a simple to-do list with a word document, or with some paper and a pen. Then get started on whatever work you had planned on doing.

7. Do one thing at a time. In most situations, multi-tasking slows you down. You can’t get things done with a million things demanding your attention. Focus on what’s in front of you, to the exclusion of all else. That way, you are likely to achieve more, in less time, and with less effort.

8. Make time for honest reflection. At the end of the day, reflect on what you have achieved. Make sure you affirm yourself for your hard work. Think about possible changes you need to make - and commit to keep going, and aiming for your goal.

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7 Tips for Improving your Focus

1. Set yourself some goals at the start of the day – and make sure they are goals that are reasonable. Then check off each item, and keep going till the end.

2. Make sure you take plenty of regular breaks as these will increase your productivity.  We can focus for around 20 minutes at a time - and then we need to get up and walk around.

3. Break larger tasks into lots of smaller tasks. That way you will receive constant reinforcement for making some progress, and finishing some tasks.   

4. Use offline tools such as paper and pen as they make it easier to stick with the plan and to not get distracted by online stuff.  

5. Notice the times in the day when you feel tired (as we all have energy peaks and troughs). Then, try and plan your breaks for around those times.

6. Give yourself some deadlines as they focus the mind and give us something to work towards. And without a time deadline you may let your mind wander, and squander the hours you have aside to study.

7. Keep a journal of what you do each day – as it provides a concrete record of what we’re really doing.   

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Effective Habits for Effective Study

You can prepare yourself to succeed in your studies by …

- Taking responsibility for yourself. Recognize that in order to succeed you need to make decisions about your priorities, your time, and your resources.

- Centering yourself around your values and principles. Don’t let friends and acquaintances dictate what you consider important.

- Putting first things first. Follow up on the priorities you have set for yourself, and don’t let others, or other interests, distract you from your goals.

- Discovering your key productivity periods and places. Morning, afternoon, or evening? Find spaces where you can be the most focused and productive. Prioritize these for your most difficult study challenges.

- Looking for better solutions to problems. For example, if you don’t understand the course material, don’t just re-read it. Try something else! Consult with the professor, a tutor, an academic advisor, a classmate, a study group, or your school’s study skills center.

- Looking to continually challenge yourself.

Source: http://www.studygs.net/attmot4.htm

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