“He who would learn to fly one day must first learn to stand and walk and run and climb and dance; one cannot fly into flying.” - Friedrich Nietzche
Studying and doing homework will be part of every student’s life from primary school until they leave secondary school at least. To do well in exams, it’s important to study, revise, and do your homework. Whether you prefer diagrams, mindmaps, mnemonic devices, or songs, it takes a bit of organisation to get the most out of time spent studying.
Here are our tips for more effective studying and homework.
Choosing the Right Place to Do Your Homework
Your surroundings will have a significant influence on how well you can do your homework. When you like your environment, it’s easier to focus and get the most out of it. Revision will also be more effective with the right surroundings. Furthermore, you’ll be happier spending more time there.
So where should you work?
Opt for a quiet place. You don’t want to be studying or doing homework in the middle of the living room with siblings running all over the place. The noise will not only be distracting but also frustrating.
Go to your room or an office if you have one. Make sure that you have everything you need to get started so that you won’t have to keep getting up. Organise your equipment.
The room where you work needs to be tidy and free of distractions so that you can dive into your studies or homework. Concentration is paramount to effectively working or studying.
You can always listen to music while you study to block out other distractions. Not just any music, however. There’s plenty of relaxing music you can put on as it can be quite good for focusing on a specific task.
Organise Your Desk for Study
As we explained, you need to gather all the equipment you’ll need before you get started.
Get your stationery, books, and folders. Keep your exercise books and textbooks in a specific place as by having everything within reach, you won’t need to stop working or get up to go grab anything.
This will save you time since you don’t want to have to stop working to spend ten minutes looking for your biology textbook, for example.
It’s also a good idea to organise materials by subject. Folders and binders can keep worksheets and notes together and you'll avoid loose sheets which are much easier to lose.
An organised workspace with folders and binders will ensure that you can effectively do your homework or study at any given moment.
Get Rid of Distractions
Doing homework after school requires a lot of concentration and a lot of students struggle to focus.
Because there are so many distractions out there.
Have you ever tried to do homework in front of the television?
TV shows, films, and adverts are all designed to grab your attention.
The same is true with tablets and phones, which have the added problem of also featuring games, social media, and websites to distract you. You need to limit distractions when you do your homework. Primary school, secondary school, and college students can all benefit from limiting distractions.
Older students can easily access social media via their computer but there are plugins and tools you can use to block these when they’re supposed to be doing their homework or studying. If they get easily distracted, you might need to install one of these tools.
Set Aside Some Time for Doing Homework and Studying
By scheduling when you’ll do homework, you can make it a habit rather than a chore. If you do homework or study at the same time every day, you won’t feel like it’s eating into your free time.
It’s a good idea to choose a time when you’re feeling your best. It mightn’t be a good idea to schedule this immediately after getting home from school, college, or university. I recommend getting home, taking a short break, and having a snack first. Don’t wait too long to get down to doing your work, though.
It’s a good idea to have a snack first as this will give you some energy and help you to focus or concentrate. You don’t want to do this after dinner or a larger meal as you may feel tired. Similarly, you don’t want to have to stop doing your homework because it’s dinner time or bedtime.
Doing homework or studying late won’t be very effective, either, as you’ll be tired.
Establish a Plan for Doing Homework and Studying
We’ve alluded to the fact that you need to be focused to do your homework so choose the right time to do it. In addition to choosing when you do your homework or study, you also need to plan the session itself.
Firstly, look at how much homework you have to do and estimate how long this will take. This will allow you to mentally prepare for your homework.
Next, start with the easier tasks. Make a list of your homework from easiest to hardest and by starting with the easiest tasks, you can get into a flow and build momentum. You’ll finish with the more challenging stuff and by this point, you’ll have the motivation of it being the last thing that you’ll have to do.
If you finish the essential stuff, you can also get ahead of schedule and avoid having to do homework at the last minute. This will allow you to do your homework without having to stress about it.
You can also organise homework by priority and deadline. You can also start with the homework that you find interesting to get you started.
Don’t forget to take regular breaks. Rest your brain, stretch, and come back to your homework refreshed. Each student will have a routine they like, but a 5-minute break every half an hour tends to work well.
Do Your Homework in Groups
Studying for an exam requires a lot of motivation and concentration.
So how can you get started if you don’t understand a given concept or topic? Can you get academic support tutorials? Look for help with your homework?
These are good suggestions, but you can also work effectively with your colleagues or classmates. Forming a study group can help you stay motivated.
You’ll also be able to hear other perspectives on given topics, which can help you to better understand them, and discuss topics and share notes.
Working in a group is useful if parents aren’t available to help, either. Students learn well from their peers even if they didn’t fully understand something in class. Furthermore, they tend to find it more fun than working with their teachers or parents.
Use Fun Resources
If you find something interesting or fun, you’re more likely to remember it.
What better way than to watch an entertaining video or play a game?
There are plenty of useful resources online that students can use to learn in new ways.
With videos and activities, you can change the way you learn. It also allows curious students to learn even more about given topics. Additional resources can help with homework and studying. Whether it’s maths, English, science, or history, you can find enriching and beneficial online resources to help.
If you're looking for homework help or academic support tutoring, you can search for tutors on the Superprof website. There are plenty of experienced and qualified tutors ready to help you and you can view their profiles for free.
No two tutors are the same so you need to think carefully about the type of tutoring that will work best for you or your child and what you're looking for in a tutor. Think about which subjects you'll need the most help in and consider making a shortlist of the criteria you're looking for in a tutor. From there, you'll need to consider your budget and the type of tutoring available.
Face-to-face tutoring is usually the most effective type of tutoring as it's just between the tutor and the student. It's often also the most convenient as a lot of tutors will travel to you (sometimes at an extra cost, depending on the distance). This type of tutoring is usually the most costly as you'll be paying for all the extra time the tutor spends tailoring the sessions to you and the time and money they spend travelling to you.
Online tutoring, on the other hand, won't have you paying for the tutor's travel expenses. While it won't work as well with certain hands-on subjects, with most academic subjects, online tutoring is just as effective and often cheaper. As long as you have a webcam and a decent internet connection, you can broaden your search to include tutors all over the world.
Finally, group tutorials are a great option for those on a budget. While you won't be able to enjoy tutoring that's fully tailored to you and what you need to learn, you can split the cost of the tutor's time and expertise with the other members of the group. If you and some friends, family members, or classmates need tutoring and are on a tight budget, group tutoring could be the way to go.