Work Smarter - Not Harder
An all too common and easy assumption made about studying is that the longer time you study for, the more you will learn and the more your overall results will subsequently improve. However, it's often the case that students will feel cheated when they study for 5 hours for an exam and a peer who only studied for 2 hours achieves a higher mark.
The question must then be asked: Why do we measure our level of work according to an amount of time when time clearly has no correlation to the effectiveness of our studying?
The fact is that 2 hours of distraction-free study, with the right focus and outcomes in mind, can lead to a better understanding than 10 hours of study with an unfocused mind. How then, can the time spent studying, be made most effective?
1. Healthy Body = Healthy Mind
Especially as students reach the last few years of their education, it can become extremely difficult to ensure a balance between the many elements of their life, however, it is more crucial than ever in these years to maintain a balance. Ensuring to sleep for at least 8 hours each night is crucial, especially depending on age. Students should find time for exercise every week and maintain a healthy diet. Especially minimising sugar intake, specifically before and during study periods.
It is also important to retain a work-life balance between studying and other past times. Social lives do not have to be entirely sacrificed for the sake of study. In fact, it is beneficial to both academic performance and mental wellbeing to maintain this balance as friends are often instrumental in providing support in times of stress and contribute to a healthy, happy and positive state of mind.
By student taking care of their bodies, and making sure that they are healthy and happy, the mind is able to maintain greater focus during study periods. As students begin to see their results improving through implementing this healthy work-life balance, studying becomes a more enjoyable experience and instills personal motivation and incentive for students to work harder to achieve their best.
2. Set S.M.A.R.T Goals:
Students should make a list of the things aimed to do in a day of study, in order of priority. Consider breaking large tasks down into smaller manageable parts. Aims for a day should adhere to the principle of S.M.A.R.T goals:
This means that students can hold themselves accountable for the work that is completed, ensuring they are being effective and efficient. An example of a S.M.A.R.T goal is "complete questions 1-6 in chapter 3". A goal without the S.M.A.R.T criteria, such as "do 2 hours of maths", or "revise algebra", can make it harder for students to achieve what they have set out to do. Goals of this kind are vague, causing students to spend excess time deciding what is to be done, rather than doing it.
3. Remove distractions:
Students should ensure their workspace is clean and free of distractions (putting phones in another room). Computers should only be used if needed, and if necessary, should only be used to access what is needed. If students are struggling to stay off Facebook and/or other distractions, they should consider installing an app such as Cold Turkey (https://getcoldturkey.com/ ) that will help to keep away distractions during study periods.
4. Take Regular Breaks & Reward Yourself:
The brain fatigues quickly. For the average student who has not practiced good study habits, approximately 30 minutes of uninterrupted study can lead to the brain being half as effective as it was when the student began studying. Over an hour or more of studying without breaks can lead to the brain being anywhere between 10% and 0% effective.
By taking regular breaks the brain is rewarded for the study. It associates the study with the reward and therefore is more likely to focus on the work at hand, enhancing retention and understanding.
To put this into practice, students should follow these steps:
- Set a timer for 25 minutes and work.
- When the timer goes off, take a 5-minute break. Return to your desk and repeat the process.
- Once you've completed all the work you have to or every 3-4 hours, take a longer more rewarding break.
- As you practice this, you will become more able to focus for longer amounts of time, and you can build up the time between breaks. After a couple of weeks at 25 minutes, try 30 minutes. Within a couple of months, you should be able to achieve productive study for about an hour without breaks.
Do something today that your future self will thank you for. Remember, working smarter doesn't excuse you from working hard. You can organise the perfect study timetable, stay positive, and take regular breaks, but it won't count for anything unless you put in the necessary effort. Nothing can be done without personal motivation.
Who we are
Evolve Education is a private tutoring company made by students for students. While undertaking our studies at school, we noticed that many of those who had been tutored from year 7 were struggling to work on their own merit when it became necessary in Years 11 and 12. It was clear that students had become reliant on tutors to not only guide them in the right direction but to do the work for them. We believe that by pursuing this option, students and their parents secure their own downfall. Although they may receive good marks, many of these students fall apart when it comes to certain aspects of their further education and professional life, lacking the critical thinking skills necessary to solve problems on their own. Notwithstanding this, we recognise the need for tutors to help develop these skills, however, we believe that the current methods employed are not efficient in achieving the best outcomes for our students.
What we Offer
By taking a lifelong learning approach to education, focusing on the development of skills, we have flipped the traditional idea of the classroom on its head. Dictating information to students robs them of the opportunity to learn. Not only does the personal discovery of information increase the rate of retention, but it also develops research and inquiry skills. We believe in questioning and challenging our students on answers to their questions. Students will be expected to evaluate what they have learnt in order to form their own opinion, and will then be expected to defend it using evidence. They shouldn't just be told that something is right. They should know why it is right, and how we have come to determine that answer. This process of debating and questioning leads to the development of critical thinking skills and enriches self-belief and confidence.
In addition, our program also instils the attitudes essential to academic and professional achievement. The process of critical thinking and subsequent self-belief and confidence will lead to greater commitment to education on behalf of the student. Our tutors aim to inspire their students, motivating them to achieve the best they can through dedication to their study, while also upholding the importance of a balanced lifestyle.
In short, we aim to make the tutor redundant by equipping our students with the correct skills and attitudes that will enable them to become independent in their studies.