In our previous articles, Zenith has covered topics like how to secure your distinctions, common mistakes that students make, and even detailed guides to various A Level General Paper themes. In this article, we’ll be dishing out 5 ways on how you can create a conducive environment to study at home, so you can utilize those tips we’ve given to their fullest potential! Every student has the same 24 hours a day, which is why it is so crucial that you make use of your time productively! Here at the top secondary and JC tuition centre in Singapore, we believe in the importance of having a good study space to promote effective learning! This is why all of our classrooms have air conditioning for comfort, a minimalistic design to reduce distractions, and spacious furniture for all our students. Without a good study environment, it is difficult to settle down for a long study session.
#1: Create a designated study space
Many students like to leave their notes, books, and materials lying all over the place out of convenience or pure laziness. However, this only makes it harder for you to prepare for a productive study session. You will end up spending more time looking for your notes, rather than actually studying them. In some scenarios, you may even have missing notes, which is extremely risky because you may be missing out on crucial content.
This is why it is important to organise all your materials to create a dedicated space for studying. You can head over to online e-commerce sites like TaoBao, IKEA, Shopee, etc. to look for affordable shelves and filing systems to organise all your notes. You should also keep all stationery like your pens, highlighters, and post-it notes in the same place for easy access as well. If you’re a creative person, you can even spend your idle time DIYing some of these organisers!
It is also important to ensure that your study space comprises a proper study table. Do not study on the floor, the couch, or even worse, your bed. After a prolonged period, your brain has been conditioned to link areas like your couch and your bed to the idea of relaxation, and you will find yourself dozing off halfway during your session. If you are able to, invest in a proper study table! They don’t have to be expensive, and there are many companies out there that sell affordable, yet good-quality study tables!
In order to motivate yourself, feel free to decorate your study area! It is easier to get yourself ready for a mugging session at an aesthetically pleasing study space that motivates you. Pinterest (Fig 1.) is a good source of inspiration.
Fig 1. Study space inspirations from “Pinterest”
#2: Keep all distractions
When starting a study session, make sure you keep all distractions away. Yes, we are referring to your devices! We know how tempting it can be to attempt to multitask – Having your notes on the desk, with the latest Korean drama playing in the background. However, please avoid doing so! During your study sessions, you should aim to be focused on the task at hand! Whilst you may succeed in reading through content as you watch your drama, it’s likely that the content will hardly be retained as you would have been semi-preoccupied with the plotline of the show, or the face of your handsome oppa! In most cases, students can also get completely carried away, and end up binge-watching the entire series. If you will not be using your devices to access material like online lectures or notes, keep it out of sight. Even if you are, switch off your notifications to avoid getting distracted as well! If you struggle with doing so, we recommend using study apps (Fig 2.) to help you out! “Forest” is a very popular app amongst students, and it prevents you from using your phone once you have started your “study session”. You can also look for your friends on the app and join study groups together in order to motivate each other! Unfortunately, “Forest” is not free. However, here at Zenith, we always have a plan B! “Flipd” is a free alternative to “Forest”, having almost the exact same functions.
Fig 2. Study apps “Forest’, and “Flipd”
In order to avoid distractions, you can also come to a consensus with your family members. If your study spaces are in communal areas, let them know that you will be studying and would appreciate it if they could keep the noise level down to the minimum. However, do remember to communicate with them politely and not demand them to do so.
#3: Find out which study method works best for you
Each and every one of you is unique, and each study method will have a different effect on you. This is why it is important to trial and error with the various studying methods so that you can settle on the one that works best for you when your exams roll around! Generally, there are 4 types of learners:
- Reading and Writing
Visual learners are able to retain information better when it is presented to them in a graphic manner, like charts, diagrams, and mind maps.
- Tips: Create mind maps. Here at Zenith, our hardworking tutors often compile key ideas into concise summary sheets for our students. If you would like to get your hands on these visual tools, sign up for our top tuition program today!
Auditory learners are able to retain information better when it is presented to them in an aural manner. They also work better in group settings.
- Tips: If you are an auditory learner, try listening to podcasts or Youtube videos. You can also try having a group study date!
Reading and writing
As its name suggests, these learners retain information best by reading and writing it out. If you learn by reading and writing, you may wish to avoid settings like libraries that require you to maintain silence.
- Tips: Write the processes out and narrate them as you do so. You may also find it effective to learn by teaching! Grab a sibling/friend /parent and teach them the content!
Kinaesthetic learners retain information best by using a “hands-on” learning style. Meaning that if you are a kinaesthetic learner, you learn best by being actively involved in the learning process, like making your own notes!
- Tips: Sift out important information from your school notes, highlight them and then make your own notes based on this information! You can also double-check the content requirements on the SEAB website!
You can try all the above methods to see which one works best for you! Many students also opt to listen to music while they study. However, some music genres can be very distracting. If you really must listen to music, you can try instrumental music or the ever-popular “lofi study music” playlist. These genres are generally calmer and can promote greater brain activity!
#4: Set intervals for yourself
The “Pomodoro method” has been getting more and more popular amongst students. This technique consists of breaking your workday into 25-minute chunks, where you would study for 25 minutes, take a 10 minutes break, and then repeat the process. Here at Zenith, we have adapted the Pomodoro method in two ways.
1. Study break
This method is for when you have a full free day to study, usually during the holidays or the nationwide study break before national exams. At Zenith, we advise you to break your day into three portions.
8am to 12pm: This is the time when your mind will be fresh, making it an excellent time to attempt a practice paper, tackle the hard sciences and mathematics questions, or digest new content!
2pm to 6pm: This is what most students call ‘nap time’. This is when students tend to get sleepy, especially after a satisfying lunch. If you feel groggy and are just unable to concentrate, take a short nap! 30 minutes or less would be ideal. Many students have the misconception that naps are a waste of time. However, in reality, naps are an extremely effective way to recharge your energy levels!
8pm to 10pm: You should take this time to go over old content and revise the work you did in the day!
Study between these stipulated timings, taking a 10-minute break every hour! By the end of the day, you will have completed 10 hours of conducive studying! Feel free to reach for small snacks or drinks to recharge yourself! It is important to keep your energy levels high.
2. After school
This method is for the everyday study session during the school term. Unfortunately, unlike the study break, you’d likely only have half the day to study. If you need to attend CCA, then perhaps even less! You could take a 2-hour break when you get home; take the time to eat lunch, shower, refresh your brain, etc. Aim to complete your homework before dinner. After dinner, spend about 3 hours studying from 8 to 11pm!
#5: Look for alternatives
If you have tried all the above methods, and yet still face a challenge to create a conducive environment at home, you can opt for alternatives! You can stay back in school or head to the national library for a mugging session! However, we understand that it can be very hot and humid in school, given the weather as well as the lack of air conditioning. During the exam seasons, it also can be extremely hard to find a spot at the library. This is why Zenith is here! At the top JC and secondary tuition centre in Singapore, we have designated study areas just for our students. All of our centres have air-conditioned study areas that are accessible to our students as long as we are open! Our study areas not only have power plugs and a powerful internet connection, but also a fully stocked pantry for you to snack on while you mug away! Many of our students enjoy coming down early or staying back after classes to study. Our friendly tutors may even open up classrooms to accommodate the large number of students studying after classes! Here at Zenith, we boast a top distinction rate of 66% amongst all students across all subjects (Fig 3.) You can rest assured that you are in good hands!
At Zenith, we know that the A Level journey can be a tough one, which is why we not only organise monthly welfare events for our students (Fig 4.) but are also partnering up with nearby eateries for you to get your food fix at discounted rates! This scheme will be rolled out very soon, and we can’t wait to share the good news with our students. We also believe in a comprehensive education experience, where we foster dynamic relationships between our students and tutors. Our goal here at Zenith is to prepare our students for life beyond their national examinations. Even after they have graduated, our students continue to keep in touch with our teachers, who often give them useful and timely advice. The Zenith experience is truly unique, and we have seen many batches of students graduate with flying colours. For a brief taster of the Zenith experience, you can sign up for a trial lesson here! Do hurry because slots are limited!
Fig 3. Our testimonials
Fig 4. Our monthly welfare