Getting down and spending a good amount of time studying can be hard. So, we've come up with some top tips on creating the pefect study space to help make life a little easier for yourself!
Clear designated area
When trying to get on with a difficult task, it’s all too easy to find ways to avoid doing the work. Whether it’s sorting out the pens on your desk, or organizing the 20 pairs of shoes you have – make sure that before you sit down to work, this has all been taken care of. Spend half an hour making sure the area is clean, well lit and free of distracting clutter, and you’ll find it easier to concentrate on the task at hand. That doesn’t mean, however, that the space has to be boring! Put up some posters of your favourite bands, or your favourite quotes to look at and inspire.
Prepare the spaceThere’s nothing worse than getting into the flow of things and then realizing that you’re uncomfortable. You need to minimise the chances of you needing to get up and leave the room for any reason, breaking your concentration. Make sure that everything you will need is in the room with you. Have a glass of water, a thermos, a jumper, and some snacks handy in the room, to avoid having to venture to the kitchen and getting distracted by the dog.
It’s also a good idea to ask your family and friends to allow you the space to work in. It’s a bad idea to try and work in the same room where someone else might be watching telly, or cooking. You’ll need to minimise outside stimuli which will put you off your work. Choose a room or an area away from the main traffic of the house and make sure your family knows to respect your space when you are working. Maybe create a ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign, or make a rota (especially if you have siblings who will need to study, too), and book the room out for a few hours every evening.
Keep a schedule
It’s also important to do your work consistently at the same time of day. You’ll need to be strict with yourself, but this will prevent work bleeding into personal time and vice versa. If you are studying for an exam, make sure you use schedules to train yourself. By revising at the same time of day as your exam will be, you’re training your brain to be in the right state of mind (work focused) when the big day eventually comes around.
Use the appropriate technology
There are also great websites out there for you to learn on, I’m sure you’ll have all heard of the BBC Bitesize and Horrible Histories pages. Other than those, try Googling ‘GCSE revision…’ and your subject for inspiration, or ask your teachers for some ideas! Quizzes, in particular are a great study tool – why not ask your teacher to set a quiz on Show My Homework, or a Spelling Test of Key Words.
Use your space according to how you learn
Knowing how you take in information will be your most powerful weapon when studying. It can help academic progression, as well as the development of life skills and self esteem.
Are you a visual learner? Tie certain themes onto certain colours, and then decorate the walls in that colour sticky-note with the appropriate notes/key words on them. For example, you might want to use green sticky notes and paper clips when looking at symbolism in Hamlet. Create a poster wall by sticking lots of A4 paper to the wall in front of you, and use it to draw a mind-map! An aural learner might want to record some notes, and play them back to themselves – or create a pneumonic to repeat out loud!
Kinesthetic learners do well by ‘doing’. This might mean making a practical out of the subject – for example, making a mock circuit out of string and pictures of resistors. But where creating a practical isn’t always possible, try walking around the space as you read your text book, or even simply chewing gum while you take a practice exam.
Following these steps should land you in a better position to ready yourself for those exams, but they can also be applied to homework and projects.