Guidelines to Improve Work Habits
i) In Class
- Demand to understand each part of the lesson as it is presented by asking questions and volunteering answers.
- Be attentive constantly. This may require that you sit front and centre and constantly check on yourself to prevent day-dreaming, etc.
- Keep proper notes, correct all homework (preferably in color) and keep all tests with corrections.
ii) At Home
- In a visible place, keep a record of how much time you spend on homework in subjects that you are having difficulty with. Aim for a minimum of 20 minutes each day per subject and try not to work for more than 40 minutes at a stretch. Begin homework on cumulative subjects like mathematics early, then take a break and go back to it later if necessary. It is understood that we are discussing concentrated effort without distractions.
- As soon as something is not clear in your homework, ‘star’ that question and see your teacher the next morning with your written attempts and precise questions.
iii) With Your Tutor
- Review and consolidate the weekly class work. If there are still sections of the work that are not clear after following the above two strategies, then explanation and drill in these areas with your tutor should bring success.
- Always bring your notebook, text, recent tests and dates of future tests to your tutorial.
- Your tutor will be instructed to cover other areas of concern as well as current work.
- Ask for extra tutorials as needed before tests, or when covering particularly difficult work.
iv) When Classes are Missed:
- Obtain the phone number of a friend in the same class. Phone that friend before the next class and find out what topics were covered in class, what homework was given and if any tests were mentioned.
- Read over the material in the text and try the assigned homework, even for a few minutes, before the next class.
- See the teacher for a few minutes before nine o'clock the first day back and ask a specific question pertaining to the missed work, or at least verify that you do have the correct information on what was covered in class.
- When back in class, try to do what the class is doing!! This is so important, and yet most students try to catch up in class and end up even further behind since they then miss that lesson as well. Catching up must be done on your own time and must be done immediately. Amazingly, those who follow the above advice find that by paying attention that day they often can follow what is happening and at the same time they find that the work they missed is then clear as well.
- Have a tutor or friend watch you do the missed work and don't let them tell you what to do; they should just ask questions!
- ‘Star’ parts that are still unclear and see your teacher right away.
Exam Writing Skills
- Budget your time.
- Skim over the exam and find the questions that appear easy. Begin with these.
- Don’t become stubborn, refusing to leave one question.
- When you don't know how to do a question, write down several possible ‘approaches’.
- When time is running out, write down key parts of a solution and don’t worry about finishing.