Homework and study

Guidelines

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Two main components to working at home are homework and study.

It is expected that you will do homework or study each Monday to Thursday evening and at the weekend. The following are reasonable expectations:

Years 7 and 8: between 1 and 1.5 hours per night

Years 9 and 10: between 1 and 2 hours per night

Years 11 and 12: about 3 hours per night or 3-4 hours per week per subject.

The ebb and flow of work during the year may cause these times to alter, so it is important to establish good organisational strategies. Tutors can help in this process. Teachers may sometimes set homework for the holiday period (e.g. reading a novel) but will always aim to give time during the term to complete this, too.

Homework

Homework may be classified into two categories:

  • practice of new and existing skills
  • assignments.

These tasks may require anything from half an hour to several days or even weeks to complete. The key is that you take responsibility for time management and task completion, in consultation with your teachers and parents.

Students and parents should monitor the amount of homework being set and the eDiary provides a tested means for assisting with that monitoring.

  • Complete each homework exercise to the best of your ability.
  • Ask teachers for assistance, or for clarification of any task with which you have difficulty.
  • Ask parents for assistance, but only when you really need the help.
  • Give teachers prior notice of any legitimate issues that might delay or prevent you from completing homework or similar tasks.
  • Allocate your time sensibly to the completion of tasks. Longer assignments should be planned to ensure that they are complete before the due date.
  • Talk to your tutor if the amount of homework cannot be sensibly managed in the time suggested above. Your parent can communicate this to your tutor too, if necessary.
  • Attend Study Lab regularly to benefit from the help available there.

Study

Studying is what successful students do after they have finished the homework their teachers have set.

Study is the acquiring of information, pursuit of some branch of knowledge, devotion of time and thought to understanding a subject or facts, with a view to learning. The ability to study requires a set of skills to be learned. Study should be done regularly, over a period of time, in the lead-up to tests and examinations.

Some strategies will work for you and others won’t. The only way for you to find out your favourite study strategies is to try lots of different ones and see which work most effectively for you. Bear in mind the fact that some strategies apply more to certain subjects than others. If you are unsure of how to study in a particular subject, ask your teachers – they will be able to suggest subject specific study strategies to help you make the most of your study time.

Spending a short period of time at the end of each day studying the new learning from that day and then reviewing it a week later is a good start to reinforcing the learning you do in class.

Here are some ideas contributed by your teachers on how you can study.

  1. Read your notes and hand-outs from that day and highlight the key words.
  2. Work through your can-do list (if you have one) – be honest and check what you can and can’t do.
  3. Read the relevant section of your textbook and annotate the margins of your class notes with extra information.
  4. Summarise your notes and hand-outs into point form.
  5. Summarise your notes using a mind map.
  6. Summarise your notes using a diagram or flowchart.
  7. Read your notes out loud and mark the sections you don’t yet understand (then ask questions the next day).
  8. Write a key word list for the topic and write a concise definition.
  9. Cover up the labels around a diagram and test yourself (re-test until you can remember them).
  10. Make palm cards with a key word on one side and its definition on the other.
  11. Draw up a structure/function table.
  12. Work with a study buddy – test each other.
  13. Get a parent or brother/sister/friend to quiz you on a particular section of work.
  14. Spend 15 minutes learning vocabulary – use the interactive websites your teacher recommends.
  15. Find the questions at the end of a chapter in your textbook and answer them.
  16. Use the answer section at the back of your textbook and mark your answers, making corrections as you go.
  17. Write down any questions you have and ask your teacher or another student for clarification.
  18. When you receive a marked piece of work or test or essay or assessment, note down how to improve next time.
  19. Practise writing timed responses to assessment questions.
  20. Read ahead in the textbook so you are prepared for the next lesson.

Remember, some of these strategies are better suited to some subjects than others. For example, practising labelling diagrams and being able to describe structures and functions will be useful in Biology and making the time to correct your answers from the back of the textbook is a good idea in Mathematics. Reading widely and discussing what you read with your family is always recommended by English teachers and keeping up to date with current affairs is useful in Humanities.  Language teachers are very keen that you use the on-line grammar exercises and interactive websites for short periods of time, on a regular basis.

Most importantly:

  • be honest with yourself; create a study timetable and set achievable targets for each study session
  • study regularly in chunks (eg 20 minutes) over a week or more, rather than only on the night before a test
  • focus on the areas of learning that you found difficult
  • find out and use the strategies that work for you.