With Term 2 commencing in just a few days, we feel it’s a good time to start thinking about study skills as exams are just around the corner... The term “study skills” is a broad one, one in which parents and kids alike often find hard to tackle. At the end of the day, providing yourself with the tools on HOW to learn is one of the most important skills you can give yourself. So, let’s get started!
Before we get into these skills, it is important to understand what type of learner you are. Understanding your unique process of learning and thinking makes studying more effective.
There are four main types of learners:
- Visual learners, who learn best by seeing
- Auditory learners, who learn best by hearing
- Reading/writing learners
- Kinesthetic learners, who learn best by moving and doing
You can do the VARK quiz here to find out what kind of learner you are.
Once you find out what kind of learner you are, you can start to learn about the different skills that will help you retain information better. Visual learners love pictures, diagrams and colours. Auditory learners love reading their work out loud and ‘teaching’ it to people. Reading and writing learners with written material, comprehend and remember what they read, and often enjoy writing. Finally, kinesthetic learners like to be active whilst learning, taking part in physical activities or movements to remember what they’ve learnt.
Cram no more
It is important that you start studying well in advance before exams commence. This will ensure that you don’t start to cram in all your study material at once, and will reduce testing anxiety. For example, if you need to study five chapters, try to study one chapter per week for five weeks, instead of cramming in all the chapters in one day.
Make a Study Planner
When you are made aware of what content needs to be studied and how much you will need to study everyday, you can create a study planner/calendar. Make your planner colourful and exciting and be explicit on what section and what subject needs to be studied on each day. Remember, you should be studying for around 20/30 minutes per session and then break up the sessions with a well deserved break. Your brain needs a break, just like your legs or arms do after exercising.
Make sure that you have all the necessary stationery, files and highlighters in order to make the most of your study experience. Come up with a system and keep to it. Once you are organised, you can study from absolutely anywhere! It’s also good to have a change of scenery every now and then - a well-stocked desk, coffee shops, libraries, parks, or even just moving to the kitchen table can prompt your brain to retain information better. A fun and exciting way for you to study is to work in a study group - studying with friends encourages discussion, greater engagement with the content and can take the anxiety and pressure out of exam time.
Mind-map, Mind-map, Mind-map
A great way for you to organise your study material is by using different coloured highlighters and putting all the important keywords into a mind-map. Highlighting notes encourages children to think about and absorb the content whilst reading over their notes. Use different coloured highlighters to show people, places, dates etc. Once they have highlighted their notes, they can take those key words and important ideas and put them into a mind-map format. Mind-maps enable meaningful learning, help with memorisation and retention, makes complex issues easier to understand and improves productivity while igniting creativity.
All the teachers at ESCA are always here for you during exam time and are available anytime to give advice and tips on how to study. Don’t hesitate to ask for help!
Good luck, team ESCA!