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When it comes to studying, there’s no such thing as a short-cut.

You only get out of your study what you put in.

In saying that — there IS something you can help your teen with that has huge benefits — sitting down with them this week and help them make a weekly study timetable.

Not only will having a study timetable help your teen keep up to date with their homework, it will help them study consistently throughout the year. And when students apply themselves DURING the semester (and not just in a mad rush two weeks out from exams) — their exam study becomes far more manageable, much less scary, and much more effective.

Why is having a study timetable so effective?

Because our brains really like patterns.

Even if we don’t want to admit it, us humans thrive on consistency. We function most effectively and efficiently when we stick to good habits.

A weekly study timetable will help your teen develop better habits during the semester/term, and provide them with a framework on which to build their study routine.

If your teen is in the habit of NOT studying and NOT doing their homework on a regular basis, it’s going to be really hard for them to suddenly become a diligent student when exam time rolls around. This is why it’s important to build good habits DURING the year, so that you’re already on track when it’s time to embark on more intense exam study.

Even if your teen starts off lightly, and builds up the number of hours they study for as exam time approaches, this will still be a FANTASTIC start to implementing better habits and ensuring that their time outside of skill is spent more efficiently and effectively.

Having a timetable makes us more accountable for our time. When something is scheduled in your timetable/calendar, you’re much more likely to stick to it.

Your teen is much more likely to stick to a study plan when it has been scheduled in advance, and will achieve a lot more than if they only study ‘when they feel like it’.

How to go about making a weekly study timetable

You can make a study timetable any way you please, but it should be easy to read, and it shouldn’t be so complicated that it takes you ages to create. We want to keep things quick and simple.

You can draw it, make it on the computer — it doesn’t matter. What IS important is that it includes everything your teen has on in an average week of school.

We would recommend following these steps to make a weekly study timetable:

  1. Start by filling in school hours
  2. Then fill in time for extracurricular activities and any other commitments on during the week. It’s even a good idea to schedule in dinner times and break times.
  3. Then fill in when your teen is going to study. This should include not only time to complete homework, but when they are going to actually study and going over what they’ve been learning at school.

How long should the scheduled study sessions be? Well, previously we’ve discussed how much study your teen should doing and the magic hour of study per week. Of course, depending on where your teen is at, they may need to do more than this.

Regardless of how your teen is going this semester/term, we generally recommend that it’s better to study in small chunks time, taking regular breaks, and to do so consistently, than it is to study in massive chunks only sporadically. Of course, your teen might be able to stay productive for hours on end. But if they can’t, then smaller chunks of study are probably the way to go to help maintain focus.

Now the REALLY IMPORTANT part is that your teen sticks to this timetable.

Sticking to a routine and being consistent in their study habits is what will propel your teen towards reaching their academic potential.

Getting used to studying and doing homework REGULARLY is the key.

Like many things, easier said than done, right?! But still, making a study timetable is a fabulous first step towards building those good study habits, getting a study routine going, and making sure that your week and therefore your study is more organized and productive.

For extra brownie points all ’round, once your teen has made their study timetable for the week, you could make a few copies and stick it around the house — on the fridge, on your teen’s bedroom door, and of course in their room. This will help them stay accountable to themselves AND to you, and therefore make them far more likely to stick to their timetable.

Image Credit: Surekat on Flickr

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High School Study Advice | The Study Gurus