Parents do not like to compromise on their child’s academics! However, making your child study, remains to be the most frustrating part of their day. Even though there is no magic formula to make your child study better, these strategies will go a long way in building their study skills.
Study skills are the skills you need to enable you to study and learn efficiently – an often neglected, but an absolutely necessary skill. Here are 7 ways that you can help your child to study more efficiently:
- Short study sessions: Research proves that we learn better in shorter, regular sessions rather than setting aside a whole day or week trying to master a challenging math problem or a grammar point! Keep each session as long as 20-30 minutes. Use the Pomodoro method to help you. All you need is a kitchen timer or a phone which has a timer. Such short study sessions are motivating, less daunting and less tiresome.
- Maintain a routine: Negotiate with your child and set a study routine. To help your child settle into the routine, check which time they are most attentive- put the difficult subjects/ study areas in that study block. A routine killer is procrastination- saying to yourself “I’ll do this later” don’t fall in that trap. Remember to reward your child for not being lazy and sticking to the routine.
- Organise your study space: Set aside a place to study every day. Keep all you need ready before you start studying – pens, pencils, markers, notebooks etc. Watch this video to see “Tidy Up” queen Marie Kondo give some useful tips.
- Use flashcards: Rather than highlighting or underlining texts, use flashcards, these are perfect for short study sessions and will help you identify and note down the most important information. What’s more, you can carry them around and learn on the go- in a bus, in the car. And don’t forget to have fun with your flashcards- draw diagrams or even cartoons on them, write questions on them, use different colours. Having fun motivates you to study and helps aid memory. When the exam time comes closer, all you need to do is pull out the pack of flashcards and your last-minute revision notes are ready.
- Plan a study session with reachable goals: Decide with your child exactly what they’re going to study and focus on a single topic, concept or subject area. If children cram too many subjects or topics in one day, they get overwhelmed and start panicking. If they don’t achieve even one of those goals, they decide that they have failed and stop studying. When thinking of goals make it as specific as you can instead of saying “Today I will study Math” say that “Today I will complete this topic; XX number of sums/ 5 difficult sums in this topic from XXX book/website”. At the end of your study session, tick off the goals you have achieved
- Study actively: Just reading a text is not enough. To help your child process, understand and remember information, try activities like sorting, mapping, sequencing, summarizing, self-quizzing etc. For example, if you’re studying a long history chapter with multiple dates, draw a timeline that will help you sort the events and remember them. Or in case of English, if you’re reading a difficult chapter or poem- try to summarize it in a few words or if you’re reading a story write the most important events of the story and sequence them to remember the story well.
- Listen to classical music: Ever wondered why it’s easier to memorize the lyrics of a song than the periodic table of elements? That’s because our brain looks for patterns to better understand, recall, and process information. Research suggests that THE ONLY genre of music that aids to learning and memory is classical music. So definitely go for Bach over Britney. Music not only betters your focus; it relieves stress and it is a performance booster. Here is a playlist you can listen to.
Try out these easy ways of improving your child’s skills and let us know how it goes. All the best!
-Ridhima Somaiya and Munira Hussain, Teachers British Council