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Study Tips for Back to School

The start of a new school year is a great time to develop better study habits.  These simple, but effective tips, can yield significant results.

  1. Have a designated, quiet, study space.  After a long day of classes, students often want to retreat to the comfort of their own room, but research shows that doing homework in bed can hurt concentration and sleep schedules.  Relaxing and working in the same space often leads to confusion, making it harder for students to focus while doing homework and contributing to unnecessary stress once it’s time for bed. By having a specific space for schoolwork inside the home, whether a desk in their room or another room in the house, students’ brains are better able to separate work and relaxation, making their studying more productive and their downtime more enjoyable.
  • Keep a tight after school routine.  Once home resist the temptation to meander about before getting to work.  Having a regular routine is a great way to develop healthy study habits.  Setting aside specific time for a snack, homework, screen time, and studying ensures that students aren’t all work and no play.  A set evening schedule also helps relaxation before bedtime and prevents unnecessary stress, which can limit a good night’s sleep.
  • Take breaks during homework and studying.  That’s right, it’s better to take occasional small breaks instead of trying to power through assignments.  Experiment to find the best balance of work and break time and then set a timer to make it work.  This will help prevent fatigue and improve focus.
  • Although they are a huge part of our lives, limit smartphone usage at night.  Educators often recommend keeping phones and chargers away from beds, or better yet, in other rooms; removing the temptation for late night social stimulation.  If necessary, buy an inexpensive alarm clock to avoid keeping the phone nearby.
  • Create realistic goals and deadlines – low level ones for completing homework and current assignments, and higher ones for longer range projects and essays.  Goals like doing an hour of homework before dinner are a great way to be productive without creating stress. Small goals can also break up otherwise daunting tasks into smaller segments.  Setting deadlines for creating an essay outline, writing the first draft, etc., will help in getting work done in a reasonable amount of time.

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