Study Advice

Principles of Effective Studying I Principle 1: Being Organised

By Ollie Lovell - 3 minute read

These tips are based off an article written by Ollie Lovell. Lovell is the head of senior mathematics and a learning specialist at a secondary college in Melbourne West. He also works with the Monash Faculty of Education on the Q-project, exploring what quality use of education research can look like in schools.

Have a plan:

Ollie Lovell explains that having a plan of exactly what you want to study and how you are going to put that to action is essential. Your plan should include your teacher's advice such as what they expect you to be doing. Also you should keep in mind what content is the most important and thus should be your priority. 

Keep track of your progress:

Make sure your recording all the questions and concepts you are having trouble with. These should be clearly written out in as much detail as possible. When you have a difficult problem, you should follow these steps:

  • 1

    Stumble accross a difficult question

  • 2

    Mark it as difficult

  • 3

    Try to solve it (reread your textbook, think logically and ask a friend or teacher)

  • 4

    In your own words, write detailed notes of the question or concept and how you solved it

Revisit hard concepts:

When faced with a difficult problem, simply doing the above steps is not going to automatically mean that you know how to handle all likewise questions. You will likely forget the difficult concept so it is important to revisit hard concepts. You should track your progress to ensure that you are getting closer to fully mastering these questions. To fully understand difficult concepts, it is essential that you make a time to revisit these tricky concepts. 

There are many ways to track your progress, but these are the three best ways that Lovell recommends. 

1. Keep a checklist

  • Leave a few pages in your notebook blank for any questions you struggle with.

  • If you get a question incorrect or find a question that takes you longer to do than normal, write it down in those blank pages.

  • Make sure you are being very detailed and writing down exactly where you found that question.

  • Write down the textbook name, chapter and the question number.  

  • Draw a few checkboxes next to each question. Each checkbox represents the amount of times you have revisited the question.

  • Tick each checkbox after you have revisited the question.

  • Be consistent.

2. Manually space your repetition:

  • Each time you get a question wrong, copy it onto another piece of paper.

  • Shuffle up each hard question. 

  • Re-do them.

  • Sort them into three piles: eary, medium and hard. 

  • Each day study some new questions and re-do some questions in the medium and hard piles.

  • Continue doing this until the questions in the medium and hard piles move to the easy pile. 

  • Once or twice before your SAC and exam, do all the questions from all the piles again.

3. Use spaced-repetition software: 

  • Create an Anki account.

  • When you get a question wrong, enter it into Anki by taking a photo or scanning a PDF version of the question onto the site.

  • Everyday go through Anki and re-do questions you found challenging. 

We hope you have found this helpful. Of course, if you have any questions or feedback, feel free to contact us!

The Studyclix Team