Learning & Innovation Update

Oct 18th 2019

Have a Plan for Study

When I speak with students about their study habits, I too often find that students are not planning for their study. It is not the case that they aren’t studying, they are, but they are doing so in an ad hoc manner, studying whatever is the highest priority at that particular time, whenever they can fit it in. There are some problems with this approach. First, it encourages procrastination; if nothing seems high priority it is easy to put off, possibly until it is too late. Second, the subject or assessment that is always at the bottom of the ‘To Do’ list never receives enough attention.

I recently read it is believed that people have a limited amount of willpower, that you can’t gain more willpower through practice. If that is the case, why do some people seem to have more of it? The article suggested that those people who seem to have a lot of willpower, those who appear to be very disciplined, have just as much capacity to exercise willpower as the rest of us. However, because they have developed structured routines and positive habits, they are not using up their willpower on these things. The habits just happen, and they are able to save their willpower for when they really need it.

My advice to students is to be very deliberate about how you plan out your study. Create study routines and make studying a habit. If study becomes a habit, it will require less willpower. Importantly, when creating a study plan, don’t say “I will study every Wednesday and Thursday night”. Be far more specific. Instead make plans like “On Wednesday I will study Science between 7:30 pm and 8:00 pm, and then History between 8:00 pm and 8:30 pm”.

Mr Matthew Hughes

Head of Learning & Innovation

Share this post: