We have all been there, even the best of us. Slacking when we should have been studying. “I will do my work later” and that “later” never materialises. Young or old, we have all been guilty of not putting in consistent work when we should have, because there are just too many distractions out there: CCAs, friends, the mobile phone, the iPad…. We have reasoned that the outcome will not be so bad, because we are experts at burning the midnight oil, and we keep the delusion until we get that rotten set of results. By then, it may be too late to panic.
Being consistent in your studies does not mean you are a nerd, that it is dreary and boring, or that your social life is over. Being consistent means setting aside a regular, fixed time slot(s) for doing your homework and revising the content you have learnt during the week. It doesn’t even need to be a long study session. Half an hour of focused learning (and not stopping every 5 minutes to check your Instagram feed) can be just as effective, if not more, than many hours of distracted learning. It requires self-discipline. If your willpower is weak, or your time management is poor because you are involved in too many activities, getting yourself into a tuition class is another way to ensure that you are in a focused learning environment.
The importance of being consistent is that the brain is like a muscle – the more you use it, the better (and faster) it becomes. Likewise, for subjects that require a lot of writing (particularly for Language and the Humanities), getting yourself to practise writing will improve your writing speed in examinations. Consistency breeds familiarity in a subject, even when you read up on your syllabus in a casual manner, it will leave impressions on your brain that will build up over time with regular study. Compare that with not looking at a particular topic until a week, or a day before your test, you will be faced with a foreign matter that makes no sense, and your ability to recall undoubtedly poor from the lack of practice.
Consistency goes hand in hand with starting early. The earlier you begin, the faster you progress. How do you go about it?
1) Make a schedule and keep to it. While it may take some effort to do so in the beginning, it will become effortless for you to stick to a schedule once your habit is formed. Remember, you do not need to allocate long hours to see results if your learning is focused.
2) Set up a system of HOW you want to go about your revision. Do you read through your week's notes, and make notations? Do you attempt a couple of questions relating to the topic? Have a system that best fit your learning needs.
3) Make sure you put in sufficient R&R time in between your studying (in moderation!), then you do not feel that you are depriving yourself, and feel disgruntled towards your books (they are innocent!).
4) Do not give up if your schedule is occasionally interrupted. If a special event or activity disrupts your schedule (such as CCA or a friend's birthday party), do not beat yourself up over it, but return to your time-table the following week.
You will see the fruit of your consistency very quickly, and you will thank us for it!