5 tips to study better during online summer school

June 4, 2021

The COVID pandemic closed over 124,000 public schools across North America, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. As a result, schools suddenly shifted to varying degrees of online education. The online classroom comes with its fair share of challenges, but the virtual environment will continue for many during summer school. 

Let’s make the most of this unforeseen situation! Whether you’re a student trying to juggle the challenges of online learning or you’re a seasoned distance learner, everyone can benefit from these strategies for a better online summer school experience.

1. Take your workspace location seriously

It’s time to find a better workspace than the floor or bed. Designate a distraction-free workspace with all your school-related gear and basic tech within reach. Do you have room to spread out textbooks and notebooks? A lamp and webcam to improve video call quality? 

Establish a quiet, comfortable area that will help you focus and foster productivity. Turn off your phone to avoid feeling distracted and inattentive while online learning is underway. Or better yet, put it in another room during class so you aren’t even tempted to “skip class.” 

2. Cultivate a classroom community

You might be tempted to turn off your camera and tune out valuable instruction in an online classroom. However, researchers have found that a sociable learning environment results in increased learning and focus.Staring into a camera or at a Zoom screen doesn’t feel the same as physically sitting next to classmates, but peer-to-peer engagement is still important in online classrooms. 

online study groups can help students stay engaged

When classmates ask a question or share content in a discussion board, make a point to ask questions or offer comments. And don’t be afraid to raise a virtual hand when you need help. Outside of class, online study groups or group chats can be a low-stress way to stay engaged. Cultivating a community will pay off in the short- and long-term.

3. Establish a practical schedule

Although online learning has blurred the line between school and home, an organized schedule can help mentally switch between the two. Use your schedule to break down big projects into small, manageable parts and assign each one a deadline. Consider setting aside time to plan for your upcoming week as well. It’s always better to be ahead than to be struggling at the last minute.

Naturally, you can change your schedule as needed. Be careful not to cram too many classes or assignments into a short period of time. Create calendar appointments for breaks from summer school. With an organized calendar, you can find the time to explore and engage in more internships, volunteer work, and other opportunities that are sure to impress colleges. 

4. Take breaks from class and homework

“Zoom fatigue” is real, but forms of online learning will continue long after summer school ends. An easy and effective way to combat fatigue is by taking scheduled breaks between classes. Use your calendar to plan breaks in between classes and schoolwork to go outside, exercise, or play a card game with siblings. 

Scheduling breaks has been shown to boost mood, energy, and brainpower. Stepping away from class for periods of time can improve focus, morale, and task completion. Rest is critical to everyone’s health and learning ability, so taking breaks is paramount to online learning success.

5. Tap into the power of a positive mindset

It’s normal to find yourself feeling stressed during high school, let alone the 2020/2021 school year. The isolation brought by COVID lockdowns can contribute to anxiety and depression. Thriving through change is tough, but is certainly doable with a positive attitude. 

Psychologists remind us that gratitude is a proven way to improve happiness and even health. Before an online class begins, think of or write down one thing you’re grateful for. Taking on a positive attitude toward online learning is one of the best gifts you can give yourself, and by doing so, you’ll notice your online learning experience will become so much more enriching and fulfilling.

You can do this!

Students will continue to participate in various forms of online instruction. Even after graduation, young people will have virtual work experiences. Keep in mind the five strategies above, and you’ll be well-equipped to get the most out of your online learning experience. 

These habits will help you become an independent learner and gain valuable time management skills that will serve you well in high school, college, and beyond!