Finding Time for Independent Study I Oxford Open Learning

Finding Time for Independent Study

Studying GCSE’s or A Levels alongside regular employment can be almost as demanding as completing the work itself. Add to this the requirements of family life, and it can become a real challenge.

To make the most of any home study course it is essential to find a system of studying outside of work hours that suits you the best.

Obviously, putting off doing your home study isn’t going to magically make it go away. In fact, research has shown that the longer you leave doing it, the harder it becomes, and the less likely you are to achieve your expected grade.

The optimum time for tackling your studies is widely recognised as half an hour after you get home from work. This gives you time to change out of your working clothes, grab a drink, and get a snack. Hydration in particular is very important for concentration, so boiling the kettle or grabbing some juice is time well spent.

For many, however, the requirements of family life will force home study periods into the late evening when they are tired, or into the weekends. If this is the case, if you’ve had a particularly heavy day at work, or if you simply find that even small amounts of home study are a struggle, then create yourself a timetable.  Use it to allocate yourself breaks and turn your working time into manageable bite-sized periods that fit in with the capabilities of your own concentration

Ten minute breaks every half an hour can also ease the pressure of the inevitable interruptions from family members. If your children know they only have to wait for short periods of time before they can ask you about a homework problem of their own, or to show you their latest Lego creation, rather than block out an hour of your study time, the atmosphere you have to work in will be much more conducive.

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Dr Kathryn Bates is a graduate of archaeology and history. She has excavated across the world as an archaeologist, and tutored medieval history at Leicester University. She joined the administrative team at Oxford Open Learning twelve years ago. Alongside her distance learning work, Dr Bates is a bestselling novelist, and an itinerant creative writing tutor for primary school children.

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