Study Skills


  • A lot of the time you spend“ at the books” can be time wasted! Are you just “switched off” and is the information going in one ear and out the other? If you have good Study Methods it can help you remember what you have learnt in your classes and you can do better at exams.

Where should you Study?

  • Getting down to study is easier if it takes place in the same place – can also help concentration (comfortable, bright and cheerful with good lighting away from too much noise)
  • A desk and shelves, alarm clock / mobile – don’t leave study area until alarm goes off!
  • Adjustable desk lamp to cut down on eye strain. Notice board above the desk if possible where info can be pinned eg. quotations to be memorised, poems on course, maths / physics formulae, school timetable with activities for each day clearly marked etc..A timetable of the dates on which homework assignments / project-work are due should also be displayed clearly.
  • Dictionaries are very helpful– if you have a small dictionary you can carry it around to flick through during spare moments during the day.
  • Can be helpful if you colour – code subjects. Eg: red for Maths, green for Irish. Colour coding helps the brain by compartmentalising the subjects – increases efficiency if you’re looking for a book and the search is limited to one colour.

Guidelines on time to be spent per night on Homework / Study

First Year one and a half hours per night

Second Year two hours per night

Third Year three to three and a half hours per night

Fourth Year three to three and a half hours per night

Fifth Years three and a half to four hours per night


Study method – Some tips for ACTIVE LEARNING:

  • Classwork: Don’t just sit there! Ask questions – take notes! Get involved in what the lesson is all about- make your teacher see that you are interested.
  • Look very carefully at the diagrams, pictures and charts as you are learning from your textbooks / notes these visual symbols can trigger you to expand on your information.
  • Homework: Don’t just copy from the book- read the book first, then close it and try your best. If you get stuck, open the book, check the information, close it again and carry on working. Remember you learn by your mistakes! Set realistic time limits for your homework- you are preparing for a “closed book exam against a clock.” You can learn very bad habits by taking as long as you like and you will find it difficult in your exams to finish the paper within the set time limit.
  • Revision: The Principle of learning: “ -have a go -make a mistake- correct it (we can learn from our mistakes



  • Breaking you tasks into small manageable bits and then getting one part done at a time;
  • Having a clear idea of exactly what you want to achieve in a Study Session
  • Don’t waste time with things you don’t understand – get help;
  • Being active while studying-by taking notes, drawing diagrams, testing yourself;
  • Stopping when you’re tired, taking a break-coming back to it later;
  • Changing the subject when your mind begins to wander;
  • Have a reward system (“ if I finish by 8pm, I’ll get a…”)
  • Try not to study late at night when it is hard to concentrate.

Effective note taking:

  • Always take notes whilst studying. You will recall very little of the material if you are not active while studying. Even when you are revising, you should always be reworking your notes. The skill of good note taking will allow you to cover a lot of material quickly and help to retain what you have learnt.


They must be neat;

They must have a working margin;

Use some colour/highlighting;



  • Make sure you have a good night’s sleep the night before and that you have a good breakfast / lunch to help your concentration
  • Divide out your time carefully – make sure you leave enough time to answer all questions
  • It gives you good confidence during an exam if you start with the question you think is the easiest
  • Read the questions very carefully. Make sure you interpret the question carefully – pay particular attention to the key works in the question so that your answers are relevant.
  • Listen very carefully to the advice given to you by your Teachers in the various subject areas
  • Highlight the questions that you need to come back to
  • Don’t change any of the answers you have given – only when you are sure it is incorrect
  • Always use all of the time given for the exam. Never leave an exam early! If your are finished early use this time to look back over your answers and see if you can improve them in any way
  • Read widely eg. good Newspapers / current affairs, Novels…

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