The Importance of Setting Study Goals

The Importance of Setting Study Goals 1

For many students it can be easy to get sidetracked and procrastinate on homework. Sometimes you look at the amount of work you need to do and it seems like too much, or you get distracted by other activities you might rather be doing. This is why setting study goals for yourself can help. You can get work done and meet deadlines with less stress. Here are some helpful ways that can help you set study goals for yourself.

Setting Dates

The first step is writing down the date something is due. In regular day schools’ students need to meet certain deadlines that are set out for them. They can easily write down this day and know exactly when to hand something in.

For students online, setting due dates can be a little more difficult. At OVS, our flexible platform allows students to set their own schedule and hand in assignments when they would like. While this offers many benefits, allowing students to learn at their own pace and build their education around their schedule, in can sometimes be easy to put off homework until the last possible minute. Leaving things to the very end can cause stress and anxiety which isn’t helpful. That’s why it’s important to set goals and due dates for yourself.

Start by considering when you need or want to finish your course. With OVS you have up to one year from the time you enroll to complete the course, however you may be trying to finish courses within your regular school year or get courses completed in time for university applications, or maybe you just have a specific day you want to finish up by. Whatever the reason, figure out which day you plan to finish your course and write it down. Starting there you can organize everything else, from setting dates for handing in assignments to writing tests, making a schedule and keeping to it is important.

You can use paper and pen calendars or if you’d prefer there are several apps that can help you keep track of dates and assist you with staying organized.

If you’re struggling to make a study schedule on your own, you can reach out to our Student Support team that can help you create a plan to keep you moving forward in your course.

The Importance of Setting Study Goals 2
Credit: picjumbo via Pexels

Breaking Down the Work

Sometimes when looking at assignments it’s easy to feel overwhelmed, they can seem like a lot of work and it can be hard to get started. That’s why breaking things down into smaller, more manageable goals, can help you meet deadlines with ease.

Start by reading through the entire assignment and think about ways you could break it down into smaller chunks. For example, let’s say you have to write an essay. You can easily break this down into smaller pieces.

Step 1: Choose a topic

Write down some ideas you like. Think about them for a little while and choose one you think you would want to write about.

Step 2: Research

You’ve chosen your topic. Now you have to find some information about it. Search for information online, go to a local library and find a book on the topic, maybe even find some videos or documentaries about it. Take notes on the information you find and make sure to keep all your sources cited and clear.

Step 3: Write the Introduction

Now that you have some research and a direction you can start writing your essay. Start with the introduction. Explain what you plan to talk about and list the items you’ll discuss specifically through the essay. This will give you a starting point and you can always go back and change it later if you’d like.

Step 4: Write about each subtopic

You have a few specific points you’d like to hit throughout paper. Whether it’s 3 points, 4 points, or 6 points, it doesn’t matter. Write down each point separately, no matter how much or how little information you have for the sections, just write something.

Step 5: Edit

Go through each point you wrote. Edit your ideas and select the ones you want to keep, maybe you want to keep them all. Then organize them into logical order and put them together with your introduction. Add more or shorten as needed to meet your page count.

Step 6: Write your conclusion

Now you have the beginning and body of you essay done. Write a conclusion to sum up the information you’ve discussed throughout and make your final points.

Step 7: Edit Again

Now go through everything you’ve written. Does it make sense? Does it flow? Is it easy to follow? Check for grammar and spelling.

Step 8: Works Cited

Most essays will require you to make a works cited page, depending on the subject you may have to make your work cited page in a certain style such as MLA or APA. Go through everything in your essay and make sure you have properly cited your sources for any information or quotes used in your paper and create your works cited at the end.

Step 9: Double check and finish

Double check everything is exactly how you want it and submit your paper. You’re all done.

This is just an example of how you can break down one big assignment into several smaller pieces to make it more manageable. You can separate each task by days or weeks, depending on the date you have to hand something in. By setting these smaller goals it can make getting things done a lot simpler.

The Importance of Setting Study Goals 2
Credit: RODNAE Productions via Pexels

Preparing For Tests

Just like breaking down an assignment, you can organize how you prepare for a test. At OVS, for courses like Math (MHF4U, MCV4U) and Science (SBI4U, SCH4U, SPH4U) among others, students are given access to practice tests to help prepare them. Take a look at the practice test and the topics covered, also go back through the lessons and make a list of all the topics you should know about.

Separate those topics into ones you think you know well and ones that you find you struggle to understand. Study your notes and review lessons for each topic, devoting more time to areas you find difficult. Set goals to help you study, choose a set amount of time you can devote to studying each day, whether it’s two hours or thirty minutes, set aside a specific amount of time. Alternatively, you can set goals based on topics covered. Choose one topic at a time to study and focus on it until you feel you understand it, then move onto the next one.

Once you’ve put in some study time try the practice test. Did you score well? Then maybe go over everything one more time, double check any of the questions you got wrong, and then when you feel ready you can write your test. Didn’t do well on the practice test? That’s alright, it just means you might need to take a few extra days to prepare. Go over the questions you got wrong and see if you can figure out your mistakes. If you’re having trouble consult the textbook and reach out to your teacher for help. This method of organizing and planning your study habits will help you to stay on task and put your best foot forward for your test.

It can be hard for students to organize their time and stay on task, especially when they have a lot of freedom in how their course is structured. By setting goals, staying organized, and breaking down work into smaller tasks students are able to keep on track and take control of their learning.