Striking the right balance for a healthy study schedule for the holiday period is a difficult task. This is particularly true for Year 12 students who are preparing for end of year examinations for either the HSC or IB Diploma.
Having enquired with a number of Senior School boys about their upcoming holidays, I have been impressed with their response that this holiday break is, in fact, a study break rather than a holiday. While this is music to the ears for an experienced educator and school leader, it also poses the question: “How much study is too much?”. Students need to be able to find the right balance for maintaining a healthy study schedule during the holidays. We know that boys need to have some time off from study.
With exams just around the corner, it is important that we consider the most appropriate way for senior students to spend their holidays. For many boys, the temptation to procrastinate about study and homework commitments each day will be ever present. But at the other end of the scale, a number of boys will be inclined to work through the entire holiday period, without taking a break for themselves. Students need to return from term breaks feeling refreshed and armed with a renewed sense of vigour.
Students should consider two things:
- Should he study every day of the holidays?
- What is an effective way to study?
In my view, boys should not be expected to spend all day of each and every day of these coming holidays studying. He needs to have time to ‘re-create’, have fun with mates, relax, enjoy a few days away with family, exercise and simply chill out. A few days without books can serve a good purpose if ‘rest’ time is spent wisely. Life is about more than study.
In terms of setting realistic expectations about the most effective way to study during the holidays, I can offer a number of suggestions.
- For those days that boys intend to study they can break the day into three parts, one for recreation, and one each for study and sleep. These sets don’t necessarily need to be taken in solid blocks. Boys can take time to relax in the morning, set aside a number of study blocks and can then participate in a recreational activity in the evening prior to bed.
- Allow your body clock to continue on your normal school day schedule. Boys can maintain a healthy schedule if they rise at the same time they do on school days and commence studying by 8.00am. Even incorporating a few short study breaks throughout the morning, this method will allow boys to catch up with friends and socialise or relax in the afternoon and evenings.
- Determine how much daily study is enough. I would argue that between four and five hours per day throughout the holidays is a reasonable goal at this time of year.
- Planning study breaks is key. Trinity has developed a Study Schedule Planner to assist boys with planning their study schedule during term breaks. We know that study is more likely to be achieved if it is planned for.
- Build some accountability into study schedules. Sharing your study plans with family members so that they are aware of when you are intending to study will allow you to optimise your time. It will mean that family members can make plans around your study commitments as well as enquire about your progress in a particular subject.
In the words of an often-quoted cadet phrase, “Prior planning prevents poor performance!”
At Trinity Grammar School, we encourage and support open, consistent communication between parents and teachers. After all, we each have a student’s best interests in mind.
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