Many students find the task of studying daunting, difficult and challenging. They spend many hours during the day and / or evenings (and weekends) attending classes, whether they be students or mature students in Second Level, Third Level or Life-long Learning. Why is it that finding the enthusiasm and discipline to study can be so hard?

  • We feel we know what we have heard or read
  • It is fresh in our mind
  • We have other more important things to be doing
  • We will study as it gets closer to the examinations
  • We don’t feel like it
  • We are waiting for the inspiration and the need to study
  • We don’t want to study
  • We will ‘wing it’ on the day of the exams
  • We will put in nights of focused / last minute study just before the exams

Many students don’t know how to study. They have never been thought how to read / listen to new information after they have just read or heard it and then how to revise it a few months / year later prior to being assessed on it. Themselves, their parents / guardians believe they are doing it correctly and properly, whatever way they are doing it. As long as we / they are locked away in a room, we are studying.

The way of studying for many people is reading over and over again the learning from that day or the previous day. They study in unsuitable places where there is noise, distraction and interference. They think music playing or a TV on in the background is OK. They think there mobile telephone must always be beside them in case they miss something or they need to contact a class mate to ask them a question or for help is a must. They fail to realize that a study period is just themselves on their own without distraction or interruption for a certain period of time.

Much of a student’s time after the learning exercise is taken up with homework. Again this time for doing and completing homework prior to the next class requires dedicated focus, time and discipline. Homework is intended to complete the learning from the class and to further instill it in the mind, it is not intended to be a frustrating or repetitive chore that is designed to test the student’s patience. There is a reason for it, which is to help the student start the study process and prepare the student for the relevant exam.

So, how does a student complete their homework and study a midst all the other more important things they have to do in their lives?

  • Choose a suitable location, place to study that encourages a safe, conducive learning environment
  • Set and organize a desk / filing / storage system with everything in its place and a place for everything
  • Design a timetable that encompasses homework time and study time in the right proportion (75 : 25 early in the year leading to 25 : 75 towards examination time to 0 : 100 before / during examination time
  • Put this timetable on print placing it over your desk
  • Design a way of note-taking and summarising information for easy review near examination time
  • As a start do homework / study for 45 minutes and then take a 15 minute break over a period of 3-4 hours

Be disciplined and enthusiastic, and remember that without enthusiasm, discipline will not always make you do something…