STUDENTS at all ages and levels of the educational system need to know how to study if they are to achieve their career objective.
Mature students after years of being out of the study environment often experience difficulties readjusting. However, a common complaint among students is that they spend long hours studying but do not get comparable results. The truth is that time is not the only important factor. How we study, the environment in which we study, as well as the attitude applied, are important considerations.
Educators often times, after imparting the academics to students, do not assist them with developing proper study skills and habits. Knowing how to study is one of the skills that must be learnt if students are to achieve different study habits and skills, depending on their own unique situation. Here some guidelines are discussed.
1 Developing a positive attitude towards studying is of paramount importance. As students you should be highly motivated. Set career goals that are realistic and achievable. You should come to the realisation that it is through studying that you will achieve these goals. At the same time, you should keep in mind that studying means more than just passing exams.
2 Ensure that you are rested and relaxed before you begin to study. This will help to 'set the stage' for getting the maximum benefit.
3 Study in an environment free of distraction. A regular place and time for study will also ensure that you get into the habit of studying on a daily basis. It then becomes an enjoyable routine .
4 Managing your time is vital. You should therefore develop a study timetable - a realistic one to which you will stick. Distribute adequate time to each subject area. This should include doing assignments as well as studying. More time should be spent on your weakest subject or the subjects you find very challenging.
As students you often make the mistake of spending most time on your best subject because you enjoy studying it. The problem is that you are already doing well in this area and just need to maintain your grades. Therefore you should ensure that you spend more time on subject areas that you find more challenging.
5 Set realistic goals for each study period. You will become frustrated if you do not achieve unrealistic goals that you set yourself. A feeling of achievement will help you to continue with a positive outlook.
6 Decide if working in a study group is good for you. If you decide to work with a group, go prepared so that you can contribute to discussions and other requirements. Do not waste time focusing on irrelevant issues.
7 Make notes of important points in your readings/ discussions. Be sure to understand the main ideas - do not memorise.
8 Practice answering possible examination questions. If possible discuss these with persons who are able to help you. This should be done regularly near to an examination.
9 Practice drawing diagrams. This can be displayed in a prominent area, for example, above your study desk in your study area. Additionally, you can practice doing problems in areas such as mathematics, physics, accounts and chemistry.
10 Reward yourself after successfully completing certain hours or areas of studies. Take a break. Do something you enjoy. Recreation is very important for maintaining wellness.
Some of the guidelines given above are particularly relevant for ensuring that younger students develop proper study skills and study habits. However, parents have the responsibility to ensure that these are practiced. As parents you should motivate your children to study and help them to see the true purpose for doing so. You should never use a study period as a method of punishing your children.
For example when a child is 'grounded' he/she is told to stay home and study. A dislike could be developed for studying as it is associated with punishment. When proper study habits and skills are developed from an early age students will find it much easier to cope at the secondary and tertiary levels.
Developing proper study skills and study habits is very important for academic and career success at all levels of the educational system. Students at all ages, in addition to being taught the academics must be motivated and be helped to develop proper study skills and study habits.
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