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Maintaining a study routine is one of the most important parts of reaching your academic potential at high school.

A few lucky people might be able to cram at the last minute and do okay in their exams, but they are the exception.

For most of us, study requires a committed effort spread out over the school, and an extra boost of motivation and effort in the lead up to exams.

All we’re really told at high school (and really, by society) is — study hard and you’ll do well at school.

But because we live in a silly world sometimes, how you actually go about studying, is left entirely up to you. *Insert face palm and feelings of internal rage here.*

Thankfully, the Internet now exists and we can connect and share our tips about studying and all help and learn from each other.

On that chipper note, let’s get stuck into 4 simple, but practical and highly effective study tips to help you or your teen maintain a study routine.

First of all, let’s try to define the parameters of a ‘routine’.

Does it mean studying for eight hours every day without fail in the lead up to exams? No.

Does it mean you can never do anything other than study when you get home from school? No.

Does it mean you’re going to fail your exams if you miss one scheduled afternoon of studying? It does not.

Having a study routine means studying consistently over a not insignificant period of time.

Within that period of time, you’re going to have good study days and bad study days. Some days you might not do any study! Perhaps because you’ve given yourself a scheduled and well-deserved day off, or perhaps because life happened and the study just didn’t happen.

Do straight-A students all study for every waking hour of every day in the lead up to exams? Really not. They have a study plan that they more or less stick to throughout the year, and certainly in the lead up to exams. But they’re not robots. They take study breaks too.

Now, let’s ACTUALLY start the list of 4 study tips to help you maintain a study routine.

1. Study in the same place.

Let’s start with a nice easy one.

It’s really important to the building of a good habit (in this case, having a study routine) that you do the same things over and over again. When it comes to maintaining a study routine, part of this means studying in the same place. (Your study place is actually part of your Study Formula.)

You need to study in a place that provides you with an environment that is conducive to studying.

This means the space is relatively free from distraction (i.e. not in the middle of your family’s living room) and spacious enough for you to keep your computer, notes and books and all of your other study stuff in the one place.

When you get home from school or wake up at the beginning of a study day, you don’t want to have to start by cleaning a space so you have room to study. This destroys motivation. You want to just be able to plonk yourself down at your desk, and get stuck in without any hassle.

2. Study regularly, not all the time.

As mentioned already, a study routine doesn’t need to be perfect to work.

What a routine DOES need to work, is consistency.

Studying is a process, and the lowest-risk way of preparing for exams, is to chip away at your study over a period of time. (How much time? This post discusses how much study teens need to do.)

Just like exercise and any other activity that takes a bit of ‘oomph’ to get going, studying actually gets easier the more you do it. The mental effort required to sit down and focus reduces massively the more you study regularly.

Your brain and your body just get used to doing homework and studying regularly. Over time, studying just becomes part of the fabric of your day to day life, and less of an ordeal.

3. Study towards mini-goals.

When you study without a plan and without goals, it’s like saying, ’I’m going to climb Mt Everest this year’, without a training schedule.

The task is just too huge to achieve without achieving mini-goals along the way. First of all you need the right gear, you need to get fit, and you need to get to base camp before you reach the summit.

Every study session, I would try to have a mini-goal to work towards. I would set myself mini-goals like, This morning I’m going to write an entire practice essay for History.

Instantly, you’ve got a goal to work towards. Your study has purpose. You’re MUCH more likely to be productive and achieve something tangible when you give yourself goals to work towards. (More on this and battling procrastination in this post.)

4. Always keep in mind the long-term benefits of trying hard now.

For this tip, bear with us as we venture away from the tangible and into the realms of psychology.

When you’re on the path to maintaining a study routine, there are going to be days when you want to throw your laptop out the window.

You might feel unmotivated for no obvious reason (this happens to all of us). You might feel as though you’re not making progress (even though you will be). You might feel as though the exam study period is NEVER going to end. (On that note, this article looks at 5 ways to make studying more interesting.)

When you feel like this, try to keep the end goal in mind.

As you are no doubt well aware (and perhaps sick of hearing!), you are working toward LONGER-TERM goals when you’re at high school.

You’re working towards a future where you have options as to what you want to do with yourself when you finish high school. You’re working towards setting yourself up so you can achieve the things in life that you want to.

We’re not trying to sound like Oprah here, but it’s true.

There is huge value in trying your best at high school. No one who does try their best looks back at their time and regrets the effort they put in, because in some way, big or small, it will have helped them get to wherever it is they got to.

So hang in there on the tough days. The long-term benefits of studying now WILL pay off.


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High School Study Advice | The Study Gurus