With classes resuming this week after the midterm break, students may find that things are getting busier in the run up to Christmas. Many students view homework as a chore and believe that doing it quickly is better than doing it well, but understanding that homework is as important as study in the learning process is vital to exam success. The tips below will allow all students, particularly those preparing to sit the Leaving Cert in 2015, to build a solid foundation for successful study throughout the year.
1. Remove distractions
While students are advised time and time again to remove distractions before beginning to study, this important tip also applies to homework. Whether you do your homework at home, in the library, or during supervised study sessions after school, ensure that you have everything you need and get rid of distractions such as phones and tablets. Put your laptop away if possible or block distracting websites and social media platforms if some of your homework is based online. Some evidence suggests that classical music enhances homework and study, but listening to other types of music prevents students from getting the most out of their homework.
2. Be proactive
Everybody procrastinates sometimes, but forming good habits at this stage will allow students to get the most out of their homework throughout the year. Try to start your homework as soon as possible after school, and aim to begin on Friday afternoon rather than Sunday evening. Remember that the sooner you start your homework, the sooner it will be finished and you can relax knowing that it’s done. Engaging with your homework and finding something interesting about each task will lead to more active and effective learning.
3. Think about purpose
Teachers don’t set homework for its own sake; correcting homework in class and after school is time-consuming, but each task has a role in improving student learning. Working through a topic independently allows students to acquire a firm understanding and develop new ideas outside of the classroom. Homework enables teachers to keep tabs on each student and identify those who may need help. Thinking about the purpose of each element of your homework can improve your enjoyment and enhance your productivity, allowing you to get the most out of your homework.
Before beginning your homework, make sure that you have a clear idea of what you need to do and how it needs to be done. Choose the order in which you’re going to do each subject – some students prefer to complete the most difficult task first, others begin with their favourite subject, and still others alternate between sciences and languages. No one method is objectively better than others, so try several different ways and choose the one that allows you to maximize your productivity and get the most out of your homework.
5. Take your time
Many students are tempted to rush through their homework in order to get it done quickly, but this can lead to carelessness and mistakes. Work through each task at your own pace, ensuring that you understand everything along the way. Working slowly allows students to generate ideas and insights that may have been missed had they hurried through their homework. Remember that you will be better able to relax and enjoy yourself afterwards in the knowledge that your homework is done properly.
6. Take breaks
Even when working through homework at their own pace, many students tend to power through a large number of tasks in a row in order to finish up earlier. Taking regular breaks while doing your homework gives your mind a rest and ensures that you won’t burn out, leading to better and more consistent work. Consider taking five minutes between each subject to clear your head by taking a short walk or briefly checking your social media profiles, and return to your homework after no longer than fifteen minutes.
Students will likely have more work to do coming up to this year’s Christmas exams, and getting the most out of your homework will allow you to build an excellent foundation for further study. Tweet us @adaptemy or post on our Facebook page and let us know your homework tips!