Although it may be easy to feel like you're on a vacation during quarantine, many schools are actually continuing their syllabus. This means that it's very important not to fall behind now, because quarantine has stretched on long enough for this break to be crucial for both your predicted grades and your end-of-year exams. As such, we've compiled a list of our best tips to study efficiently at home, which can help for homework, studying for tests, or even writing EEs or IAs.
1. Find a quiet spot
To study, it's vital to have a calm working environment so you are not distracted by what's going on around you. For this, it's useful to try to be in a room with a closed door and nobody else. If that's not possible, play some white noise or study music while working to be as relaxed and focused as you can.
2. Plan out each day
In quarantine, you may not have the same structured school day as before. To recreate this type of structure and be able to organise your day so that you are productive, it is useful to have a planner and write out the tasks that you want to complete each day. This focuses your work day and makes the workload less massive: you are only confronted with a couple of tasks each day rather than dozens every two weeks. For this, you do not need a physical planner, but can use online resources like Google Docs or print-outs.
This tip might seem obvious, or not useful, but do not underestimate the importance of drinking water. Staying hydrated helps with focus and will allow you to study for longer without feeling drowsy or getting a headache. Water is also very healthy!
Watching YouTube may not be the first tip to come to mind when studying at home, but, if done right, it can prove to be very effective. There are many "studytubers" like UnJadedJade who make videos giving tips on how to study, inspiration, and, most useful "Study with Me" videos. These videos allow you to virtually study in the same time as someone else, so, as you want to give up or get distracted, you can look at your screen and be motivated by watching the person across from you still studying hard. It can also be very motivational for students who have a hard time forcing themselves to study without supervision.
5. Group Accountability
Another tip that could be very helpful for unmotivated students is to share your study plans with friends. By telling other people what you want to study and get done, they can hold you accountable for not performing those tasks. It then becomes somewhat of a societal obligations to complete the tasks you said you would, and your friends can also act as both reminders and motivators to get you working.
6. Study at the Right Time
While at school you may be forced to study from 8am, at home you have much more freedom in when you want to learn. While planning when you will study, make sure to take into consideration your own personality: are you a night-owl or an early bird? Do you enjoy studying first thing in the morning and then enjoying the rest of the day, or to feel more relaxed studying at night? Adjusting your schedules based off your preferences will help you study and make you more relaxed and prepared for the work.
7. Tidy Room, Tidy Mind
Lastly, make sure that your study area is clean and not messy. It will help keep you focused and make you look forward to studying.
8. Remove that phone, or any other electronic gadgets that cause disruptions.
Put it in another room, shut it off completely, throw it out the window if that’s what it takes! I’m fully aware that it is hard to part with your precious baby, but it has to be done if you want to get things done. There have been multiple studies that prove that having your phone nearby as you are working, makes you twice more likely to work slower, and lose your point of concentration. Do not deny the fact that you really want to reach out and grab your phone when it buzzes a meter away from you.
9. Rewards after work, not the other way around.
If you get the luxury of relaxing and eating goodies and sweets before your work session, it will only make you want to procrastinate, and let yourself chill some more. Work first, then rest. Tell yourself that when you’re done with your History essay, you can have a bagel, or play a video game or sleep and doze off. Do not have the bagel before you work.
10. Switch up your rooms
Do not stay in the same old boring room, at the same exact table every single time! Changing up your environment can actually contribute a lot to your concentration. If you do find yourself in your room most of the time, I’m not sure you are minimising your potential distraction. Try the kitchen, or the modern mahogany table in your parents office. Experimenting with your work spaces can make a massive difference, as you are not going to be bored and completely unmotivated from sitting in the same spot every single draggy exhausting day.
Good luck on your studies, and hope these tips help!