Our team of Sydney tutors have taught across a wide range of educational environments and are experienced in delivering the skills necessary to help High School students to adequately prepare and, hopefully, excel in their exams. As part of our series of high school study tips, below we have listed five ways you can create a cohesive study environment.
Study Tip 1 : Music or No Music?
When studying we’re advised to eradicate or minimize distractions. Unnecessary stimuli can provide a distraction and draw attention away from where we want it to be. So, is listening to music whilst studying a good or bad idea?
Well, it comes down to the individual and also to the study environment itself. Generally, music is just an additional stimulus and can be distracting, whether we acknowledge it or not. However, it can also provide a cover for far more distracting sounds and can therefore be beneficial.
Studies have shown that using head or earphones decreases information retention whilst background music can be an aid.
So, yes or no?
Yes, if it’s background music, not too loud (and therefore distracting) and something familiar to the listener so that it doesn’t draw the listener into the stimulation of new lyrics or new sounds. If it’s not necessary for covering other distracting sounds, then probably best to avoid it.
Study Tip 2 : Lighting
Having to strain your eyes and focus harder in dimly lit environments is quite obviously going to tire you quicker. On the other hand, trying to study outside in glaring light can be just as draining.
When you are creating or choosing your study environment, take time to consider this very important aspect. The right lighting conditions can add a significant amount of effective study time to your schedule.
Sufficiently bright fluorescents or consistent natural light are probably the best sources.
Study Tip 3 : Climate
Too hot or too cold? You won’t be studying for long. Both ends of the climatic spectrum are going to prevent you from concentrating on work for an adequate amount of time.
If you can control the temperature, do so. Set it at something comfortable but not so comfortable that you start to fall asleep.
If you don’t have control, ensure you have dressed appropriately. If it’s possibly going to be cool, take a jacket but always be prepared to remove it if it gets too warm.
Particularly when entering an exam room, ensure you have dressed for any possibility (within school uniform regulations of course). Being too hot or cold during an examination can have a significant impact on your performance.
Study Tip 4 : Your room
Don’t study on your bed. Don’t do your work in a comfy armchair. Whist these types of furnishings are very enticing and indeed comfortable, they may in fact be too comfortable, resulting in a non-scheduled snooze. They may also put your body in a position that, whilst feeling temporarily comfortable, might also be placing strain on your body if your attempting to study in them.
Instead, set up a desk and ergonomically comfortable chair, at the right heights. Having your body in the right position will prolong the amount of time you can remain studying effectively.
Ensure there is some ventilation in your room. If ventilation is limited, oxygen levels may lower whilst carbon dioxide levels increase, resulting in tiredness. The brain needs oxygen when it’s working hard.
Try to avoid your desk facing a window. What happens outside may be far more interesting than your books. Also, keep your desk and indeed your room as spacious and uncluttered as possible. Having unnecessary books and other objects on your desk and in the room, provide further distraction and often get in the way, causing frustration.
Study Tip 5 : Technology
I have left this one for last as technology is now one of, if not the biggest, factor in effective study. I am going to assume that there are several parents reading this, along with the students.
We all know how distracting technology is. From games on the computer to social media on the phone. Squeezing in one more game of ‘Fortnite’ or just having one more quick glance at Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat has been the undoing of many, many students. Incomplete homework, inadequate preparation for exams and general lethargy at school are all consequences of an inability to switch off from technology.
Of course, in most schools and most subjects, the laptop is necessary. Up to 100% of a night’s work could be set needing laptop use. However, this is where discipline must be shown.
As a student, if you know you find it difficult to avoid the distraction of technology, put the devices in another room, move yourself to a common area where you can be monitored or set some ground rules with your parents as to acceptable use.
As a parent, don’t forget you make the rules. If you know your child is having difficulty avoiding these distractions, enforce the above regulations or whatever method you think will be effective. Despite the whining and gnashing of teeth, you know it’s for their long-term benefit, even if they can’t see it.
Do you need help studying for exams? Contact our Sydney tutors for assistance.
Our small team of Inner West tutors are qualified, dedicated tutors experienced in providing not only the highest standard of teaching in the areas of literacy (English) and high school maths tutoring but also the engagement and motivation needed to maximise secondary and HSC student’s learning. We can assist with NAPLAN sample test and exam preparation.
All our staff are also experienced academic and pastoral mentors, enabling them to advise and support in many areas such as organisation, structuring revision schedules, creating a suitable working environment, subject selection and more. From advice on subject selections, how best to prepare for exams and assessments and possible tertiary and career options, through to organisation and effective study environments, our staff can assist your child with specific, experienced advice and suggestions to maximise their engagement and learning.
Our homework club and study sessions provide students with a supervised and assisted learning environment in which they can complete set work from school, prepare for assessments or simply revise and study.