By Katie Azevedo, M.Ed.

Many students have free time during the school day. This time is often referred to as study, WIN block, or even academic support time. Whatever your school calls it, there is some time during the day when you have more freedom and less class structure.

If you are lucky enough to have a study period in the middle of the school day, you should make the most of every single second of this class. Sure, your friends could be with you, and obviously your friends are way cooler than your English essay (I don’t mean that sarcastically. I’m real.). But if you don’t use your college days to do the right things, you are missing out on a great opportunity to make your life easier. But actually.

3 tips on what to do during your studies::

1. Plan.

Use the first 5 minutes of class to create a plan for the study time. The moment you sit down, take out your exercise book or a piece of paper. Or use this print version here. For each class, write down any work you need to do, including homework, long-term projects, or study for upcoming tests. If you are well behind and have more than 3 missing assignments in a class, just list 3. more than that would be overwhelming for this purpose. (Reality Check: If you miss more than 3 assignments in a class, you are clearly behind.)

2. Polls and prioritize your tasks.

Take a look at all of the assignments you wrote down. Without thinking twice, circle the 3 most important items on your list. (Another reality check: sometimes our “rethinking” is actually a direct reprieve, but we feel better calling it rethinking.) To determine which three things to focus on, think about what’s due fastest is and what’s most worthwhile points and these other prioritization tips.

3. Work.

Come on. Do the job. Start with one of the items on your list and just get to it. You may not get to all three tasks. in fact, you could only come to one. That’s all right as long as you do real work. The reason you circled 3 items in Step 2 is so that when you get a task done, you don’t have to waste precious time thinking about what to do now. Instead, do all of your planning in advance so that your next task item is already set.

More tips for managing your study time

1. Avoid the temptation to use your time as a social hour. I understand again that your friends are way cooler than your work. I am not going to argue that they are not. But you will see your friends in other classes, in the cafeteria, and after school. You’ll be thankful if you have an hour less homework each day for doing it in school.

2. Block out distractions with headphones. If you wear headphones, you are less likely to be distracted and less likely to bother you with your friends.

3. If you can, choose a quiet place. When you have the freedom to choose where to spend your study time, choose a location that is good for productivity, e.g. B. a corner in the library or an empty classroom. Of course, there are COVID-19 restrictions on where you can go to school, but do what you can.

4th Avoid dividing the study time with breaks. Most middle and high school classes are less than 55 minutes long, and there are less than 50 minutes left by the time you settle in and create your plan. Most students can work directly for 45-50 minutes without a break. So I suggest that you go to the bathroom before class or in the final minutes of class – not in the middle. Avoiding a break in the middle reduces the transition time and the cognitive lag when changing context (switching back and forth between unrelated activities).

* A true academic support period is a special education service mandated by a student’s IEP. A true academic support class should never be an unstructured “homework club”. But unfortunately that happens sometimes.

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