Study Tips for a New (Pandemic) School Year 2021

Written by Sally, Teen Volunteer
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With school back in session after months (and months) at home because of the pandemic, we need to get back into the swing of things with studying and doing homework. I’m in eleventh grade this year and it’s clear that I'll have lots of work to do.

Here are some tips that have really helped me with studying and doing well with school work that I plan to use this year.

Keep track of dates

Get yourself a planner, or like me, use a note on your phone to keep track of due dates and what you have to do for school each day. I have each subject written on a note and I just write next to them what needs to be completed, and when, and I remove the task once it’s done.

I'll also put due dates or test days on my phone calendar or on a physical calendar to remind me. 

Prepare your workspace

An important thing for studying well is having a place to work and a time that works for you.

First, choose a space. I typically use the desk in my room, or you could do your work in your living room or on your dining room table. Maybe even on your bed.

Remove any distractions (it's probably best to turn off your phone and put it somewhere else). 

I feel like I work best about an hour after coming home from school (about 5-7pm), but others may like to wake up earlier or others in the evenings. Find what works for you.

Take breaks and have balance

You can’t just study all day, every day.

If you feel like you're just forcing yourself to do the work—it isn’t going to go well.

Take a 15 or 20 minute break when you're feeling overwhelmed. Get up and walk around, grab a snack or a drink.

You may want to have lots of small breaks, like working for about 45 minutes then taking a 10 minute break. It can help with focus.


There will be times where you have a lot of things to get done on the same day, and you will need to prioritize.

Start with the things you know will take more effort, or will take a long time, so you can complete the more simple things when you’re more tired. For example, prioritize studying for a big test, over writing a short response for another class.

And don’t procrastinate. Once you know a test is coming up, start reviewing, and start your projects once you can. 

Get help

Make sure to ask or email your teachers questions about assignments when you’re confused.

Ask classmates or friends for extra help if they happen to know the concept better than you do.

You can also look up videos on YouTube, or use an app.

There are so many resources that can help you with homework questions (like the Library!) Check out the Library's free tool, World Book, as one cool place to start.

Other helpful tips 

  • Rewrite your notes—writing helps them stick in your brain better.
  • Use flashcards and or use a flashcard app to review for tests.
  • When preparing for an exam, go over old tests and quizzes and try answering anything you had originally gotten wrong (ask your teacher for the answer key or a friend that had gotten those questions right). 
  • Study with a classmate (but one you know you can work well with). It can help you stay engaged. 
  • Take notes while you read books or texts you have to analyze,  or use colourful flags or sticky notes, highlight and underline when you annotate!

But most importantly, make sure to make room in your week for the things you enjoy. Take some time out to see friends, read for fun, or watch TV. 

About the writer

My name is Sally and I am 16 years old. This year I will be in grade 11. My hobbies include reading, playing violin, and of course, writing stories. It has become one of my favourite hobbies over the past year.