When we try and imagine “studying,” we probably have similar images in mind – long, endless hours sat in the same spot, staring at a textbook hoping it will all go into your head. These study methods are often seen as tried and true despite no actual evidence to back them up. Maybe your students had luck one time when you crammed for the test the night before, or their friend pulled an all nighter and managed to get an A on that Maths test.
But these shouldn’t be their study methods. They may work for some at secondary school, but when they move onto A-Levels and even University, resorting to these habits is a simple way to set themselves up to fail.
So, if these classic study methods aren’t the ones that work, then which ones do? Rather than turning to their classmate who manages to flunk his exams and still pass (which won’t last, as we know), it might be a bit more beneficial to turn to science instead.
Teach someone else
Rather than studying with the purpose of keeping the content in our mind, we can teach students to study with the intention of sharing the material with someone else. By teaching someone else the material we have learnt, we are committing that material to memory, instead of just passively scanning over it.
This method of having to recall the information out loud to another person, pushes this knowledge into our long-term memory rather than it sitting briefly in our short-term memory before disappearing forever.
Get your blood flowing
Many studies have shown that fitting in a bit of exercise every week can improve your memory, not to mention its great for your overall health. Try encouraging your students to do some light cardio, like a 30 minute walk, a few times a week- if they have a dog, they probably already do this. Encourage them to ride their bike to school instead of getting a lift if they can. While studying, make sure they know to take short breaks to walk around or do a few jumping jacks to keep their blood pumping. Taking short breaks every 20 minutes is important when studying, no matter how they spend them.
Take a tech break
In this day and age technology is impossible to avoid – especially in school. It might be easier for pupils to look over their neat, typed notes when studying, but it may be more useful for them to shut off their laptops and tablets and look over handwritten notes instead. Devices can cause eye strain and cause us to grow tired more quickly while studying, not only that they have been proven to slow down our reading speed, and therefore limit how much we really take in.
Inspire them to try switching to their textbook for a while, and pull out their student planner and jot down some handwritten notes instead. Not to mention the fact that it stops them quickly opening a new tab to check up on Twitter.
Plan, plan, plan
By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail. I’m sure as teachers you know all too well about planning. Where would you be without your trusty lesson plans? Your pupils may find it boring but being organised can reduce exam stress, and help students make the most of their time – not to mention it sets them up for the future.
Student Planners are key when it comes to their success. With plenty of writing space, and a wide range of bespoke pages, it’s never been easier for them to stay organised and get the grades they deserve.
Take your time
Rather than students trying to cram all of their studying into one, long session, coach them to break it up over smaller sessions over a longer period of time. The best recipe for those good grades, is spending the weeks leading up to an exam studying in short bursts, rather than solely relying on that panic driven all-nighter the night before.
Help them construct a timetable in their planner, for the weeks leading up to the exam so they can relax knowing they know exactly what to revise and when. These valuable skills will carry them through further education and future careers.
Olaf Surtees has been with Penstripe for ten years; what he doesn’t know about teacher planners, student planners, and lesson planners isn’t worth knowing! He’s in charge of creating our blog content, helping teachers and administrators with helpful hints and tips, as well as our socials — see the links below to find out more.