Study Skills – A Summary

Study Skills is something that is important for all students to have knowledge off. It provides guidance, help and makes them more efficient and effective in their journey of learning.

This November and December, we have been conducting a Study Skills Clinic with our long-time partner. We been in over 10 different centres island-wide delivering our take on study skills and how students can make use of these skills to improve their studies.

We believe that the students have benefited from these lessons and an idea struck us – we should not just be sharing our study skills expertise only with these students. The origins of this post came from this thought. It is a three-hour course, so reproducing it in in full is difficult. Instead, we will provide of the skills and strategies we have been teaching in the classes. We hope that you too will find it beneficial to try it out with your own children.

Study Skills Learning Cycle

A study skills learning cycle is a virtuous cycle, designed to help students create continuous improvement.  This starts with the GOAL SETTING component in which a child decides on the goals he wants to achieve for the year. From his goals, he figures out his PRIORITIES for the year and PLANS it. That is the planning stage. After that, he executes the plan and practices his STUDY SKILLS. After all that studying, they will eventually be assessed. After each test or examination, he does a EXAMINATION REVIEW and tries to find out what went well and what went wrong. From this, he can decide whether to adjust his goals in the GOAL SETTING section. This cycle goes on and on and it should never stop until the end of a person’s life. That is what we call life-long learning.

Study Skills: GOAL SETTING

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, in the correct direction – Lee Hak Boon

During the goal setting section, the student identifies the goals he wishes to set for the new year. Each person’s goals is based on his individual needs, but it tends to focus on his weakest subject. The simplest method would be to select the weakest subject, move this year’s grade up and make it next year’s target. For example, if a student scored a ‘C’ in English, then he should aim for a ‘B’ in English for his Mid-Year Examination next year. After setting his goals, he needs to break the goal down in bite sizes so that it does not become overwhelming. Eventually, he should identify concrete actionable tasks that he needs to take every day, week or month to help him achieve his goals. For example, the student who is aiming for a ‘B’ in English would create tasks that involves reading books or practising papers every week.

Study Skills: PRIORITIES

Good things happens when you set your priorities straight – Scott Caan

Setting priorities is paramount in our lives nowadays. Even children are constantly pulled in different directions due to their school, CCA, social and family commitments. A simple way of figuring out what to do first would be to categorise each item in terms of importance and urgency. Tasks that are important and urgent should be done first. This is followed by tasks that are important but not urgent. Finally, tackle the tasks that are unimportant, in the order of urgency. But if an important tasks appears again, drop the unimportant tasks to focus on the important tasks. Based on this knowledge, students can categorise what they should do everyday.

Study Skills: PLAN

The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities. – Steven Covey

What is the point if after thinking about your goals and giving them priority, you do not execute it. That is in our humble opinion, one of the biggest reason people fail. The next task is for children to do is to plan. They can use a diary or planner or if they have easy access to a tablet or smartphone, it can be in a time planner app. This plan is not set in stone, but it provides a child with a good indication of what needs to be done. Also, plan for social activities and family time – life is too short to simply spend ALL your time studying or working. But most importantly, ensure the tasks that the child has written down in the first part appears in his schedule. Or else, the entire activity just goes down the drain.

Study Skills: STUDY SKILLS

Tell me, I’ll forget. Show me, I may remember. But involve me, and I’ll understand. – Chinese Proverb

This section should be a blog post by itself. In fact, it can be the basis of an entire blog. To keep it short and simple, let us just focus on the quote we put down. Many times, children just read the text book and conclude that they have studied and mastered the topic. That is the equivalent of ‘tell me’. Some parents buy a model answer book for their children and the child thinks that they have mastered the topic after reading the book. That is the equivalent of ‘show me’. True learning does not take place until the child has absorbed the information, synthesise it in their minds and is able to reproduce it, in their own words. This is ‘involve me’. There are many methods a child can use. In our course, we teach many methods but let us just share one – we get the child to create a documentary of the topic they want to learn on an app by Adobe. The name of the app is called Voice, and it is allows its users to create a multi-media video with pictures, text and even audio commentary. To create a documentary, a child has to totally understand the material first. This is one of the most effective ways remember knowledge.

Study Skills: EXAMINATION REVIEW

I didn’t fail the test, I just found 100 ways to do it wrong. – Benjamin Franklin

To us, the examination is not really a just a way of separating the winners from the losers. It is a way for teachers to find out if the children have learnt and for children to find out if they understood. And if they have done it wrongly, then they have gained – they know how not to do it! All the child needs to do now is to realise what sort of mistakes he has made and how to remedy them. Basically list down all the wrong answers and go through each of them with your child. Identify the mistake made (did not know the content, careless mistakes or ran out of time, etc.). You should help your child identify patterns and then think of strategies to remedy common mistakes. For example, a child that constantly runs out of time has time management issues in examinations. You can then prepare your child by giving him a time limit for each question.

Conclusion

After each assessment, review the goals again. If your child hits the goals constantly even before the time specified to reach it has arrived, you might consider asking your child to revise it one grade higher.

This is only a summary of the lesson and it does not give full justice to the entire course. Many details and content are still not in. This is only something that can only be experience in a lesson with us. Nevertheless, we hope that you have benefited from this post and we hope that you can work with your child, and to partner with them to achieve even greater results.