Study Skills

Guidelines for successful study and homework

Homework and study are important aspects of school life.

Success depends on:

  • Attitude – believe you can do it.
  • Failures – learn from your mistakes.

Success in Study

Guidelines to Working Smarter not Harder

To students study is revision, however, it is important to understand that homework is also a part of study.

So, why bother doing homework or studying?

  • to improve yourself and understand the world around you.
  • to qualify yourself for a job or college place.
  • to improve your self esteem.
  • to help your teachers assess how well you have understood an idea or topic and if you are ready to move on to new material.

A Warning!

The recommended methods work extremely well but may be very new for you. In the beginning you may not feel comfortable using this method. Please take this very important piece of advice – try it out for a week, at least, before you give up.

Remember that your method of study is more important than the time you spend “at the books”.

Refer to the guidelines frequently until they become second nature and you will be well on your way to a career as a successful student.

Parent alert!

The most important link between you and the school is: The Journal.

Please check and sign the journal each week. If homework is not being recorded then there is a problem.

Contact the school, through the journal, to tackle problems at an early stage.

Check the presentation, effort and content matter of the completed homework.

Display an interest in the work being done, it greatly improves the effort and the quality.

Homework Guidelines

The key to doing quality homework

In Class:

  • Be a prospector – prospectors are active learners who think with the teacher for the key points of the lesson being presented.
  • Don’t be a sponge – sponges don’t listen. To know what is important and what is not – ask questions.
  • Use your journal to accurately record homework given. You will not remember – we forget 70% of what we hear within a day.
  • Remember that “learning” homework is as important as written work and must be recorded.
  • Never leave the classroom not understanding what to do, ask the teacher.

At Home:

  • Work in the same place, a place that you associate with study.
  • Study away from distractions – no TV, no radio, undisturbed, with a place to store your books and materials. Discuss this with your parents.
  • Study in a warm but well ventilated room.
  • Keep your study area tidy, it is not a storage area.
  • Have good but not glaring light.
  • Make a homework/study timetable and check it before you start. (You will get help to make this in school).

When to do homework/study

  • According to your homework/study timetable.
  • When you are still fresh and alert.
  • At a time when you are not likely to be disturbed.

Getting started:

  • Check in your journal the work you have to do.
  • Get your books ready.
  • Start with what you like in order to get “in the mood”.

Doing it:

  • Do the homework on the night it is given to you.
  • Vary your easy and hard subjects to stop you becoming bored.
  • Start each piece of work with the question “What do I have to be able to do with this?”
  • Specific goals – your results will be predictable if you set specific goals. For example:

Non-specific goal:       “I will try harder at school next term and do more study.”

Specific goal:  “I will improve my geography mark by 8% by the Christmas test.”

A specific goal must be:

Attainable – have a homework/study plan and follow it.

Measurable – ask your teacher about your progress and

Have a time limit – e.g. the Christmas exam.

Presentation and Quality of Work Counts

Don’t just do it, do it “right”

How to present your homework

  • Have a dedicated copy for each subject.
  • Draw a margin down the side of the page.
  • Rule off underneath the previous piece of work.
  • Put a proper title and date.
  • Neat handwriting.
  • Reread what you have written and do any crossings-out neatly.
  • Use a new paragraph for each new idea when writing prose.
  • Make use of underlining, numbers, capitals and brackets.
  • Make sure that diagrams and drawings are accurate and clear.
  • Check spelling and punctuation before you hand it in.
  • Remember to put your copy in your bag.
  • Hand in your work on time.

Finally . . .

  • Go over the work when you get it back to correct mistakes and to write in any important points that you missed out.

How Long should I spend at homework and study each night?

It is difficult to say how much time anyone should spend at homework or study. The quality of time spent is more important than quantity!

  • Finish each piece of work by going over the main points and summarising it, that way you will be sure you understand it.
  • Never copy your homework straight from the book, you are fooling no one but yourself.
  • As each piece of work is complete mark it off in your journal.
  • Juniors spend 10-20 mins. max. and seniors 20-30 mins. max. at any one topic, take a break then and return. It increases concentration.

Suggested minimum times:

First Year:

  • 1.5 hours per night
  • 5 times per week

Second Year:

  • 2 hours per night
  • 5 times per week

Third Year:

  • 2.5 hours per night
  • 6 times per week

Transition Year:

  • 2 hours per night or as recommended for project work

Fifth Year:

  • 3 hours per night
  • 6 times per week


  • 2.5 hours per night or as recommended for project work

Sixth Year:

  • 3.5 hours per night
  • 6 times per week

Supervised study is available in school for examination years. Other years can apply if there are places available.

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