Many students wrongly believe that study is only about completing written homework. There is more to it than this.

It involves:

  • revision of the day’s classes,
  • written homework,
  • revision of ‘old’ chapters, and,
  • completion of chapter notes or highlighting chapters.

Start with a subject you find easy. End with a subject you also find easy. In the middle alternate between hard and easy subjects.

For each subject do the following:

  • revise and learn what you covered in today’s class, then
  • complete the written homework in that subject.

To revise today’s class work, try the following four-step method abbreviated as PCLR: Preview, Compare, Learn, and Review.

  1. Preview – Find out how much of the class you can remember by giving yourself a 3-minute brainstorming test. Simply jot down, in any order, words, symbols or diagrams. If you have paid good attention in class, you should be able to remember a good deal of the material. The next step is to concentrate on the information you did not recall.
  1. Compare – Compare your preview brainstorm to your textbook or class notes. Now you have sorted the ‘known’ from the ‘don’t know yet’.
  1. Learn – Now learn the ‘don’t know yet’ material. Remember, the more you do in class the less you have to do at home. If your preview brainstorm is not good you will have to look at your classroom performance and do better.
  2. Review – Now complete a review by trying to recall all the information. Compare it with your preview which will show you the progress you have made in a short space of time.

Now complete your written homework, with, or better still, without the use of the textbook. You should never transcribe or copy directly from the textbook or any other written source.

word of warning – since it is not easy to develop new study habits, you should only use this 4-step method on one subject at a time for a full week.

Gradually apply it to other subjects. In a couple of months, you will have all your subjects under control.

(Note – If you are sitting your Junior Cycle or Leaving Certificate this year you will also need to revise ‘old’ chapters during your study sessions. More about this later.)