There are those who think that studying is just a matter of sitting down at your desk and applying yourself. Easy peasy.
But anyone who is studying or has studied recently, will know all too well that there are many pieces to the complex puzzle that is effective study.
As a high school student, you have different subjects to study for, essays to write, facts to memorize, formulas to wrap your head around, study notes to write, class materials to look over, websites to check out, text books to ponder — and you have to juggle all of these things at once during the school year.
Really, are we surprised that so many teens have no idea where to start when it comes to school and studying?!
There is good news though…
Despite the multi-faceted nature of high school study (particularly when it comes to exam study), there IS a way navigate efficiently through the maze of studying.
It’s something good studiers utilize all the time.
In order to reach their academic potential — and approach studying in a systematic, purposeful, efficient and effective way — your teen needs to develop their own unique Study Formula.
For those of you who have completed our Study Smart email course, you will already have heard us harp on about the importance of your teen developing their Study Formula.
Please forgive us though, as your teen’s Study Formula is going to be CENTRAL to them mastering the art of studying.
And to that end, we want to reiterate the main points of Study Formulas.
What is a Study Formula?
Students who get good grades follow a process when they study.
They follow certain steps. They have a pattern. They apply this pattern every time they sit down to study, and particularly when they’re embarking on exam study.
It’s this collection of results-proven practices that make up what we call a Study Formula.
Students who get good grades apply this Study Formula EVERY TIME they study for exams.
What study techniques should your teen have in their Study Formula?
What is absolutely KEY about a Study Formula, is that every student’s Study Formula is different. The combination of study techniques and methods that make up your teen’s Study Formula will be unique to them.
In saying that, there are bound to be similarities between students’ Study Formulas, and your teen might find that their Study Formula is quite similar to some of their friends’ Study Formulas.
Here is a list of study techniques, methods and considerations that would be likely to feature in a top student’s Study Formula:
(By the way — this list is in somewhat of a chronological order, meaning the items nearer the top of the list are things your teen would probably do earlier in their exam preparation, while the things towards the end of the list are things your teen would probably do closer to the actual exam.)
- Making a list of all the topics that you need to study (i.e. making Subject Maps)
- Looking at past exams to get an idea of the exam format (you can also check out this video about past exams to learn why they’re one of our favorite study tools)
- Writing study notes (or typing study notes if you prefer)
- Researching topics you don’t understand well enough
- Making diagrams and flow-charts of relevant processes
- Consolidating study notes
- Attempting practice exams using past exam papers
- Using flash cards to memorize facts
- Thinking about how you’re going to allocate your time in the exam (i.e. preparing an exam timetable — which we discuss in this YouTube video)
This is certainly not an exhaustive list. Your teen might have some amazing study techniques that we haven’t even thought of doing!
What your teen should do next
Your teen’s task for this weekend (perhaps with your help) is to assess the state of their Study Formula. Do they have one already? Do they have the beginnings of one? Have they never thought about this before?
We recommend they start by thinking about what study techniques they already find effective, and then think about where these techniques might fit into their Study Formula.
Your teen might already know what study techniques they find effective, but we want them to really think about where in their study process these fit in. What we’re saying is that your teen might sort of have a Study Formula already, but not realize it.
We want your teen to know what their Study Formula is.
If your teen has no idea what study techniques and processes they find effective, either because they’re going to be sitting exams for the first time this year, or because they’ve never properly studied before, that’s no problem.
It just means that from now on, every time they sit down to study, they should make a mental note (or even better a physical one) of what study techniques seem to work for them, and which ones don’t.
After your teen has sat one set of exams they should have at least some idea of what study steps they might like to utilize and in what order next time.
The important thing is that refining your Study Formula should really be a constant work in progress, because there is always room for improvement!
Having and knowing your Study Formula is such a crucial part of studying effectively that we dedicate an entire video, mini eBook and PDF template document to Study Formulas in the first of our downloadable exam pack series packages, the Green Pack. Find out more about the Green Pack and how it will help your teen get into the rhythm of studying and develop their study habits BEFORE they start their exam preparation here.