Set goals

Setting goals is a good way to keep motivated with your study. Goals can be short-term, like finishing your homework tonight, or long-term, like achieving a certain grade in a class.

To set goals, think about what’s important to you. Then write down specific things you want to accomplish and a date or time-frame you want to complete it by. Then think of small and achievable steps you can target to get there.

To be realistic, your goals should be things that are within your control, within your skills and abilities, and a little flexible, in case things go wrong.

Manage your study time

It helps to plan when you will study and how you can make the most of your study time. Use your assessment planner, diary or a calendar to help you keep track of assignment due dates and exams, and plan ahead. You could also make copies for your study space wall, the inside of your diary or your fridge at home.

Be sure to space out your study time for the term or plan some extra study in the lead up to tests and exams. Don’t try to cram it all in the night before! Do the hardest work when you’re feeling your best.  Save the easy stuff for when you’re tired.

Maximise your concentration – making a sign with ‘Quiet please, I’m studying’ or ‘Please do not disturb’ can help remind people in your home to keep the noise and distractions to a minimum while you’re studying.

Create a flexible study plan

Before throwing yourself into studying, think about making a study plan or schedule for doing homework and regular study. Creating and following a study schedule can help you concentrate, remember the things you’ve learned in school and effectively manage your time. Follow these steps to make a flexible study plan:

  1. Create or purchase a calendar or planner for each term. Make sure there is enough space under each day to make notes.
  2. On your planner, block out the hours you’re busy at school, doing after school activities (such as, sport, music, dance and other activities), or spending time with your family.
  3. Decide how many hours of study a week you plan to do. Four to five hours per week is a good starting point for students in year 7. Highlight when you plan to do this study.
  4. Decide how much time you need to allocate to each subject (they may not all be equal) and slot these into your study planner.
  5. Add the due dates of your assignments and scheduled exams. Then work backwards, allocating blocks of study time, to make sure you’ve enough time to prepare.
  6. Schedule most of your study during the week to leave your weekend free. If something unexpected arises, you can use some of your weekend to catch up and still meet your study goals.
  7. Put copies of your study planner on the fridge, on the wall near your desk or quite study space, and in your diary.

Make your desk work for you

Having a well-equipped and organised study area is important for good studying. It should be quiet, well equipped and free from distractions and interruptions. Having a study planner and your diary easily accessible will help you focus your attention on how you will spend your study time.

Your desk or table should be large enough to hold everything you need. A bookshelf or other storage space can help you organise your essential items and keep your desk free from clutter. You may have long stretches of study time sitting down, so finding a chair that’s comfortable is important. So too is having enough light so that you can see your work without straining your eyes.

If your study area is in a shared space, try working out a roster so that everyone in your home will know when you’re going to be using the space. Don’t forget to have regular breaks, snacks on hand and plenty of water.

What to do in class

In high school, you’ll be spending time in different classes, so knowing what to do in class to maximise your success is really important. From learning to take notes effectively, to getting the most out of discussions and working in groups – high school will provide new and exciting opportunities to learn, and mastering some techniques early can really help you along the journey.

Note-taking

Note-taking is a skill that can help you cement your understanding of different subjects. As you write down key facts, your mind has a chance to absorb the material you need to learn. Having good quality notes can also help you when it comes time to revise for an exam or to prepare for an assignment. Your school will most likely help you develop your note-taking skills, but below are some tips to get you started.

Write down key facts — Try writing down the most important points about a particular topic. It might be a mathematics formula, key historical dates, a theory or example that will make sense when you’re reviewing your notes.

Try not to overdo it — if you write down every word, or focus too much on your note taking, you may miss the most important points. Some people actually learn better by listening, writing down a few key points, and then going over the material after class when they have more time.

Ask your teacher to repeat something — if you’ve missed something or the teacher is going too fast, you could raise your hand and ask your teacher to repeat it or see your teacher after class. Chances are if you missed something, maybe one of your classmates did too, so there’s nothing wrong with asking for something to be repeated.

Review your notes on the same day — reviewing or recopying your notes when you get home can help you remember what your learnt during the day. Do the notes you’ve made match up with your textbook? You can also compare your notes with a friend – this helps you reinforce the most important points and can help when preparing for a test or exam.

Keep organised — keep your notes for each subject in one place or together in one section of a notebook. Making reference to related chapters or readings will also help when reviewing notes and preparing for tests or assignments.

Group work

In class, you can probably expect to work in groups. Group work can help you get to know your classmates, understand the subject matter better by listening to other viewpoints and improve your communication skills.

When you’re working in groups, each group member will be responsible for making a contribution. To work out whether you’re making a good contribution to group work, ask yourself the following questions from time to time:

  • Am I sharing what I know about a particular subject? Do I ask questions of group members in an open-minded way?
  • Can I build on comments of other group members to enhance discussion?
  • Do I volunteer ideas in a constructive manner?
  • Am I helping the group summarise its progress?
  • Do I identify missing information in the group answer?
  • Do I build on the ideas of others?

Group work and discussions will demonstrate the different styles of group members.

Extroverts tend to think out loud, composing their thoughts on the run and they may be uncomfortable with silence in a group.

Introverts tend to think privately on an issue, listen to what others have to say and then speak their mind and often feel comfortable with silence in a group.

Being able to appreciate varied group work styles and being encouraged to step out of your natural style will challenge you to learn more about yourself and others.

Class discussion

Classroom discussions are a really useful way of learning new things in an interactive way. More specifically, discussions can be useful for:

  • generating and brainstorming ideas
  • summarising the main points in a textbook or reading
  • figuring out what level of understanding everyone in the class has about a particular topic
  • reviewing ideas presented in previous classes
  • reviewing exams, problems, quizzes, and writing assignments
  • recapping outcomes learnt at the end of class
  • comparing and contrasting theories, issues, and interpretations
  • solving problems related to the class topic.

Some things to keep in mind when participating in classroom discussion include:

  • silence is okay, think before you speak
  • ask for clarification if you don’t understand what another person has said
  • respect the contributions of others – seeing things from another perspective different from our own is a great way to learn
  • try to give equal air time to everyone in the class or agree to take turns.

Technology in schools

  • In high school, you will probably continue to use computers like you have done in primary school. You’ll most likely use computers and technology to develop your assignments and presentations and for taking notes in class. You may even do tests or exams on a computer.
  • At Lynwood SHS we encourage students to bring their own device (please see the BYOD policy), however if you don’t have a computer then we have computers you can use whilst at school. You will be able to connect your device to the school’s internet connection so it will be easy to do your work during school hours.
  • If you’re using a shared computer, make sure you label your USB stick, flash drive or external hard drive and keep it safe. Don’t use a USB unless you’re the owner, as it may have a virus that can infect your computer or the school’s computer. If you find a USB drive and don’t know who owns it, hand it in to your teacher. We will provide you with a username and password – this is yours and should not be shared with anyone. Regularly back up your work on a home computer if you have one. Remember, it’s important to remain safe and responsible while online.
  • You will also have access to the Lynwood SHS Connect site. Your parents will also need to fill in and return the Connect paper work.