Studying at home: Study Habits | Oxford Open Learning

Home study (3): how do I study from home?

In the second in our series of three articles on how to study from home we discussed the importance of setting achievable goals in your programme of study.  In this last article in the series we will look at what should happen during each study period.

Study habits

To make the most of the time available for study, it helps to form good study habits.  Read through the following list to see whether there are suggestions that may help you settle into a good study routine.

  1. Set aside specific study times each week.  In our first article we noted the importance of planning ahead to allocate study times during the week ahead.
  2. Try not to do too much at once.  It is better to divide your study time into short sessions than to study for too long and lose concentration.  Taking short breaks can help restore concentration.  Most face-to-face lessons are no longer than 50 minutes in university, and 40 minutes (or so) in schools.  Some study tasks might need to be broken down into shorter periods with short breaks.
  3. If possible, try to study at the same time each day, so that study becomes part of your daily routine.  This might be for an hour before or after work; a period during the evening, or during the day when other commitments allow.
  4. We noted the importance of short-term goals in our last article.  At the beginning of each study session set a goal for your study: for example, to complete a lesson, finish an assignment, or go over a piece of marked work.  If you are clear about what you want to achieve then you are on your way to success.  If you sit down with little idea of what you want to achieve, or how long you will study for, the task quickly becomes unfocused and aimless.
  5. Don’t put off till tomorrow what you planned to do today.  If you don’t like the look of an assignment, or think the next lesson will be difficult or dull, don’t let this put you off using that study session.  Deal with that task, then finish with something that interests you and will whet your appetite for the next session.  For some people, things work the other way around: they begin with the easy/interesting/good section and then move on to the more challenging task once they are focused.  Find what works best for you.
  6. Always review what you did last time before beginning something new.  There should be continuity, and a lesson learned is a building block towards the new.  Consolidating what you know gives a firm foundation on which to build.
  7. Switch off your phone!  How many times have you set out to do something and then the phone rings…
  8. When you are stuck you could phone a friend, or email your tutor, and work through the bit that you find difficult.  Sometimes it helps to talk through the problem with someone else.
  9. Review your work.  Before you send in an assignment, read it over carefully and check spelling, punctuation, calculations, and presentation.  This process helps you to spot mistakes, learn from them, and improve the quality of your work.  In your exam, you should try to allow time at the end to read over your answers and check for errors.
  10. Reward yourself when you achieve your short-term goals.  Go and see that new film, or buy that lipgloss, or watch that match!  Feeling that you have achieved what you set out to do is the best motivation for moving up to the next goal.  Achieving long-term goals is like climbing a mountain: one step at a time, and admire the view along the way!

If you would like to study at home with Oxford Open Learning, then contact us for more information.  Our students are based all over the world and study a wide range of subjects at GCSE, IGCSE, and A Level.  We also offer vocational courses in Educational Administration, Business Management, Accountancy, and Creative Writing.  See if there’s one that will enable you to achieve your goal.

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