Study Tips: Chanelle Camero
Create a schedule. With lots of time on our hands right now, it’s important to create structure in our lives wherever we can. What helps me is blocking off time for each lesson I want to do.
Make sure you’re scheduling your priorities. Make sure you know what’s the most important lesson you should be focusing on. This can depend on what class you’re struggling the most in or what your AP classes are.
Schedule breaks. Most studies have found that breaks should last from five to 15 minutes every hour. Be sure to set a timer, marking the end of your break. While length of work time may vary for everyone, breaks are necessary to maintain focus and productivity.
Work in a clean environment. The environment in which you surround yourself with matters. I find that I’m most productive in an air conditioned room with little noise. For others, having music in the background helps them focus. Find what type of environment works best for you, but be sure it’s tidy.
Handle the difficult tasks first. It’s better to use your energy on the hardest task first rather than waste that energy doing multiple mini, easy tasks. By tackling the hardest tasks first, it lifts a huge weight off of your shoulders.
If it’s motivation that you’re struggling with, try and do something small but productive before you start your enrichment lessons. It helps to complete a task you’ve been meaning to do — even if it’s not school related. This could be cleaning your room, going on a run or even doing your laundry. This can set you up for a productive mood.
Do not work on your bed. Try to work at your desk or the dining table, while staying away from your bed. It’s best to associate a desk with work and productivity and to separate that from your bed, associated with rest and sleep.
Set up a reward for the end of your enrichment-filled day. It can motivate you to know that you’re working towards something. Some reward examples include watching that TV show you’ve been wanting to watch, baking your favorite dessert or calling someone that you love to talk to.
Remind yourself that although these enrichment lessons won’t be graded, it will benefit you in the long run. You’re not doing all this work for nothing. It’ll help you when your AP tests do come around, it’ll help maintain practice of essential skills such as writing or analyzing and it’ll prepare you for the next school year to come.
Tell yourself that you’re going to have a productive day. Set up an encouraging mindset. Think of the tasks that you’re going to get done because you can and you will.
Lastly, celebrate your accomplishments. You’re getting work done, and every task you accomplish is something you should be proud of.
Maintain a healthy sleep schedule
For many students, sleeping really late and needing to take naps throughout the day to regain energy isn’t uncommon. This is the time to fix your sleeping habits! Studies show that teenagers need at least 9 hours of sleep, so try to sleep around the same time every night and set your alarm to help you wake up in the morning.
Don’t stay in your bed all day!
Try to place your daily alarm in an area that requires you to get out of your bed to turn off. After turning off your alarm, carry out our daily morning routine as if you were getting ready to start a normal school day: brush your teeth, wash your face, change out of your sleeping clothes. This can help get your mind and body ready for the day.
Create a space for learning
Learning from home can be more difficult and frustrating. However, if you set up an area where you can keep all of your school work organized, for example a desk in your room, it can help you feel more calm and collected. Try to avoid being in places where you can be easily distracted.
Specify a time of studying
Don’t spend only 10 minutes a day doing enrichment lessons but also don’t spend 10 hours! Designate a block of time dedicated to studying everyday. You may find it helpful to keep studying only during the day — cutting it off by 5 p.m. and pick up where you left off the next day.
Sit up while studying
Lying down will make you more tired and increase your chances of falling asleep. Find a comfortable chair so you can do your work sitting up and maintain your energy.
Create a calendar
Overwhelmed with all of the work being assigned? Create your own calendar on paper or online with each day’s assignments and due dates or continue using your school planner. Remember to pace yourself: If your teacher assigns work for you to do at your own pace, spread out the work so you don’t cram too much in one day. Be reasonable!
Too much screen time can hurt your eyes or make you tired. After completing an assignment, reward yourself with a short break. Take a walk outside, walk around the house, play with your animals or talk with your family.
Have a healthy snack and glass of water with you while studying
Drinking water throughout the day can help you to stay awake and maintain your energy. Have a healthy snack, such as a bowl of fruit, readily available so you aren’t tempted to leave your work environment to search for unhealthy snacks.
Make-shift Schedules: Leigh Berry
A few weeks ago, we all became homeschoolers and, while it is tempting to simply brush enrichment work aside and take a month-long spring break, it is important to remember that this is the work that will carry us into our next year of school. We need to stay sharp and focused. I know that learning at home may be difficult when it’s new, so as an ex-homeschooler (10 years counting kindergarten), I’d like to share a few of the schedules that used to work for me to hopefully make things a bit easier in your transition to online learning.
If you’re like me and have a hard time focusing on something for really long or really short periods of time, consider making yourself a block schedule. Set aside two hours at a time to focus on one subject, starting with the lesson, for 30 to 45 minutes, and finishing with any homework you may have for the rest of the time. Personally, I like to complete at least three classes of work per day, starting with my most difficult subject and ending with my easiest. You can organize it however works best for you, but make sure to take breaks (at most 20 minutes long) periodically between subjects or it is easy to get burnt out. I’ve found that using this schedule allows me to complete all of my new classwork and materials two days before the end of the week, which lets me focus on whatever homework I have left for the remaining days and get it done before the weekend.
Make-shift bell schedule
Maybe what you need right now is the feeling of a regular bell schedule. Fifty minutes per subject can work very well since it allows you to focus on taking in and applying new information for shorter periods of time before you lose focus. If you want to go the extra mile and complete six subjects worth of classwork per day, go for it. Personally, I’ve found that five subjects with a 10 minute break between each works best for me and gives me a bit more time at the end of the day to complete whatever classwork I have to finish. For this schedule, it is probably better to go in numerical order for the classes you’ve had all year because it should almost be muscle memory to jump from first to second period and so on. However, if you’ve always thought having math at the end of the day would be easier than English, you are free to switch around class times as much as your heart desires.
Spacing it out
In my freshman year, I took a lot of classes that only met one day out of the week or (in the case of freshman biology labs) once a month. That made it easier for me to space out my work because it was all given at once, allowing me to better plan how much time it would take me to complete each assignment. I think a lot of people might be in that same boat now, with all of our teachers posting assignments at the beginning of each week and what I found working best that year was designating one day to each of my core subjects and one day to my electives. Completing the work for my hardest subject at the beginning of the week allowed me to finish anything I couldn’t finish that day little by little after each of my other subjects were done and gave me something to look forward to each week, since I knew that whatever work I had tomorrow would be easier than the work before. In my opinion, with this schedule it is a bit harder to get in a steady groove, since you are focusing all of your energy on one subject for that one specific day, but it also has the potential to be the most efficient as well if you are up to try it.