DSLV Sixth Form Guide to Independent Study SIXTH FORM GUIDE TO INDEPENDENT STUDY

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1 SIXTH FORM GUIDE TO INDEPENDENT STUDY 1

2 Contents Welcome to the Sixth Form 3 1. Increasing motivation Basic time management 6 3. It s time to study Getting more out of your time 9 5. Concentration Get the most from your day Organised workspace

3 Welcome to the Sixth Form You have chosen to join the Sixth Form here at DSLV and follow demanding courses of further study; in the months ahead you will gain specialist knowledge and develop new skills, perhaps most importantly of all you will learn how to learn. Remember that staff are here to help and support you in your studies - in return we expect you to be committed to your studies and be mature and positive. What's this booklet for? to help you take responsibility for your learning to help you keep on top of your school work to help you meet deadlines to help you get more from your studies 3

4 1. Increasing motivation Motivation is the single most important thing if you're going to be a successful Sixth Form student. Try these tips to increase your motivation: High Expectations A positive attitude will get you a long way in your studies & it will impress your teachers too! If you believe you will succeed you are far more likely to do so than if you put barriers of negativity in your way. Take responsibility for your learning: Never say I can't do it, always think, It may be hard but I know I can do this. What's in it for YOU? Why are you studying the subjects you've chosen? What do you intend to do with these subjects later in your life? Answer these two questions & they will show how your studies will benefit you. You might come up with some of these benefits: I enjoy these subjects I want to study at university I want a challenging career Take an Interest If you're interested in a subject you are more likely to be successful. Ask yourself why the subject matters to you and link your learning to your own life & the world you know. Take responsibility for your learning: Make your learning relevant to you. Get some Feedback If you're going to improve you need to know where you're going wrong. Regular feedback from your teachers will help you. This feedback may be written on your work or could take the form of discussion after lessons. Take responsibility for your learning: Ask questions, take advice and respond positively to it. Competition is Good! Competition is a great way to motivate you. Take responsibility for your learning: Try to improve your position in the class or compete with a friend who normally achieves slightly higher than you do. 4

5 Enjoy YOUR Success It's important to celebrate when you complete a major piece of work or finish a unit or module. Decide before you start the work how you will reward yourself once the work is finished and look forward to it. 5

6 2. Basic time management Suit Yourself Everyone is different and different styles of organising work best for different people. Take responsibility for your learning: Once you find a way of managing your time that works for you improve and adapt it as the pressures you face change. Know What's What Take responsibility for your learning: At the start of your course find out how everything fits together and what will be required of you. What is the course made up of? How many modules? What work is required? When are the deadlines? How will the work be assessed? Make sure you know which work is for an exam and which is for coursework. Check the exam board websites so that you have detailed information about each of your subjects. Plan Long Term The time you spend planning will save time in the long run and reduce your stress levels. Take responsibility for your learning: Keep a diary or planner so that you know when you have tests, fieldwork, deadlines for coursework and examinations. This will help you take a long term view and enable you to plan your time to maximise your effectiveness. Beware: Don't over-plan and delude yourself that you're working! Set The Pace Keep up a consistent level of work each week and raise it at pressure times. As a general rule an hours worth of school work should be matched with at least an hour of independent study. Take responsibility for your learning: Ask your teachers how many hours of independent study they expect you to do each week. Do More Than You Need You'll get a much deeper and broader understanding of your work if you do more than just what is set. Take responsibility for your learning: Do a bit extra and read around the subject. Review material from previous lessons so that you're familiar with it for the next one. There's never a time when you've got no work to do! 6

7 3. It s time to study Check Back Once a topic or unit is finished, revise it to make sure that you're clear on everything and understand all of the material you've covered. Take responsibility for your learning: Read over your files at the end of each half term. Use Study Periods You don't have any free periods during the school day. The Sixth Form Study Centre should be the main base for your studies whilst you're in the Sixth Form. Take responsibility for your learning: Use your study periods effectively to allow you more time to enjoy yourself when you're out of school. If you waste study periods you'll only end up having to use your own time at home to catch up with what should have been done. YOUR Routine It's much easier to get down to work if you have a regular routine. Take responsibility for your learning: Set aside certain hours for study, know where you study most effectively and stick to what works for you. Excellent NOT Perfect If you want everything to be perfect, sadly you're always going to be disappointed! Aim to make your work the best it can be but don't waste time and energy trying to achieve perfection - it can't be done. Start Easy Break each task down into small manageable sections and start with an easy part. Take responsibility for your learning: Don't put off the hard work, you'll feel much better once it's done and out of the way! Reminders Take responsibility for your learning: For the really important stuff, leave yourself notes in your bedroom, your bag, or on your folders to ensure that nothing gets forgotten. Get On With It! It's easy to make excuses not to do something. Take responsibility for your learning: The best time to get the work done is now. You'll end up stressed if you put off work until tomorrow because when tomorrow comes it will be too late! 7

8 Beware Distractions! Leave Me Alone! If you're going to get any studying done you need to let people know that you don't want to be disturbed. Take responsibility for your learning: Put a note on the door, use headphones or earplugs to block out noisy distractions. Hideaway; find a quiet place to study; you'll get twice as much done if you can avoid interruptions. Put That Away; Take responsibility for your learning: Keep distractions out of the way; switch off your phone, Facebook, Twitter, TV etc. When you study, have in front of you only what you need to complete the work you're focused on. 8

9 4. Getting more out of your time One at a Time It's tempting to flit from one task to another but it's certainly not effective. Take responsibility for your learning: Plan an effective timetable of the work you need to do. Focus on one thing at a time and stay with it until you finish, this way you'll get the satisfaction of having made progress whenever you get down to work. Have a Goal Don't just work aimlessly, take responsibility for your learning: Set a target for each session and don't stop until you reach it. Know what you need to do and work steadily until you achieve it - then you've earned a break! Breaks & Rewards Plan your time effectively and make sure that you allow yourself a break each hour to refresh and recharge yourself. Take responsibility for your learning: Reward yourself once a task is finished - it's a great way to motivate yourself to get things finished. End on a High Keep things neat, stop work when you've finished an essay plan, reached the end of a chapter or finished a question. If you stop half-way through a task it will play on your mind and be harder to get back into when you do get round to finishing it. 9

10 5. Concentration We all have times when it's hard to concentrate and we get nothing done; this section aims to give some tips for improving your concentration - you'll get more done, make fewer mistakes, save time and hopefully, feel more confident. Break & Rest You need to be fresh to work well, break up your studies and allow yourself time to relax and recharge before you begin again. Take responsibility for your learning: Work for minutes and then have a 5-10 minute break but remember, you must get back to work - don't let your breaks take over! Prime Time This is the part of the day when you're at your best. This is the ideal time to tackle the most difficult work as you'll be performing at your peak. Take responsibility for your learning: Use your Prime Time for the hard work and other times for easy, interesting or routine work. Remember As you're studying, all sorts of other thoughts will occur to you - people to phone, things you've forgotten to do, arrangements to be made; and they all cause distraction. Take responsibility for your learning: Make a note of what's popped into your head then you can forget about it, get on with your work and deal with it later. Be Active If you're just reading over notes it's easy to lose concentration. Take responsibility for your learning: Keep active - make notes, test yourself, talk aloud or walk around as you read. Avoid the Marathon Frequent short study sessions are far more effective than hours on end. Take responsibility for your learning: Avoid the marathon by getting into the habit of doing a little study every day. 10

11 6. Get the most from your day Use a 'to do' list This is easy; simply list the things you need to get done on a particular day. As you complete things from the list tick them off until everything has been done. You'll be more organised and more effective if you can make this system work for you. Priorities Spend more time on the difficult tasks than the easy ones - it's simple really isn't it? Slack Time Don't over-fill your 'to do' list - you don't want to end each day with a set of things you've still not got round to. Take responsibility for your learning: Allow half an hour of slack time in your schedule to allow you to deal with anything unexpected that comes up. Keep some brief, easy tasks with you in school: you can get these done in the odd times when you're waiting for a teacher to be available or for a friend to come and meet you. 11

12 7. Organised workspace Environment Set up your workspace well and it'll be a valuable tool in helping you to concentrate and achieve success. Light is vital; make sure wherever you work that you've got enough natural light. Take responsibility for your learning: Keep your workspace for working and surround yourself with only what you need to work. Keep it Neat Keep your workspace tidy so that each time you sit down to work it's clear and welcoming. You'll also decide what you need to do rather than being influenced by what's on your desk. Take responsibility for your learning: Make it a priority to keep your work tidy so that you don't get stressed by losing things. Filing Your filing system only needs to allow you to find what you need when you want it. Try a test; can you find the work you need in less than two minutes? If you can, your filing system is fine. Take responsibility for your learning: Set up an efficient filing system and each time it gets messy, take the time to give it an overhaul. One Place Keep all your work in one place at home rather than scattered around the house. Take responsibility for your learning: Make sure that you can easily put your hands on the work you need. Label your Folders How obvious can this be? If your folders aren't labelled you're going to waste a lot of time looking for things. Take responsibility for your learning: See if these tips help you: label folders on the outside use file dividers put an index in the front of each of your files keep loose sheets of paper in plastic wallets keep your labels up to date 12

13 A healthy lifestyle will really help you to be a more effective student make sure that you: get enough sleep each night eat healthily drink plenty of water take regular exercise GOOD LUCK! OFSTED Remember, your Form Tutor & the Sixth Form Team are all here to help you. This is an outstanding school 13

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