Grades are the number one consideration in college admissions decisions. Since colleges show consideration to students who take honors and advanced placement courses, take some and get good grades in them! (If your teacher denies your request to take these classes, query it with the principal. Remember that you and only you are in charge of your course selection.)
Ok, so now you have been admitted into the honors classes. How are you going to succeed? Here are subtle, yet simple ways that people often neglect.
-Sit near the front of the class. You will hear more and be able to catch subtle hints from teachers (such as intonation, pointing at something, or animation) that may indicate that information is important.
-Always have an extra pen/pencil in case your pen breaks. You never know.
-Take careful, but not verbatim notes. Try to think about what is important. Write down explanations not just dates and facts. This will make it easier to study your notes from a test. For instance don’t just write down war of 1812- write down why the war of 1812 was important.
-Date your notes; that way, when it comes time to review the notes you will be able to see which pages you need to look at.
-For math problems, write down the steps of solving a problem and the nuances; don’t just write down the problem and the answers. The more detailed your notes, the more helpful they will be for reviewing.
-If at the end of class you realize that you didn’t catch something, ask the teacher. Ask right away. Don’t wait to ask because then you will forget what you needed to know.
-Every night – review your notes for 10 minutes, so that when the test comes around you have already been studying the information. Also by reviewing your notes each night you will realize what you need to clarify and be able to ask while it is fresh in your head.
-For reviewing notes, try Read, Cover, Recite. Read the notes, cover them up, recite what they say. Then, try to do it without looking. Also write out one sentence describing what you learned that day.
Homework completion is an essential part of your success in classes. Failure to complete your homework can cause you to drop as much as one whole grade. Make it legible, accurate, and correctly spelled. Take the phone number of someone in the class who can fill you in on missed notes or lost hand-outs. Don’t skip doing the homework because you didn’t have the materials; that’s a silly way to loose points. Also, if you are unsure, you may want to contact someone from class for help. Hey- if you have a crush on someone in class this could be your excuse for calling them and getting close to them!
Ok. So you have reviewed your notes each night and you complete your homework. Think you’re done? Not a chance. You also have to study for tests and score big points on the test. Here are some pointers for studying for the tests. Begin studying when the test is announced. Review portions of the material each night. Increase the amount of information you review in increments. For instance, review Chapter 1 the first night, then review chapters 1 and 2 on the next night. Some study methods are read cover recite- see above. Also, drawing pictures is helpful to grasp understanding of a concept. Draw a web map. In the center put the main topic and then draw legs out with the sub topics. Also try outlining material. Think of potential test questions. Ask yourself these questions and then write down the answer. Review the explanation for the answer. For math problems review steps and review rationale for solving problems.
Now comes test taking. You studied really hard. You took copious notes. Yet, still you can’t score top grade on the exam. Why? Chances are you suffer from test anxiety. You make careless errors. You can’t finish on time. Here’s the secret recipe. First budget your time. Think of how may questions there are and how much time is allotted. Second, cover up the other questions so that you only focus on one question. Don’t think about questions while you are working on one question. If you don’t know how to do one question move on to another question; don’t waste too much time. Also forget about it; it will come to you later. Don’t let it ruin your ability to answer the other questions. If you don’t understand a question, ask. (Don’t ask a question in order to confirm your thinking. Teachers get resentful if you try to suck answers out of them.) You don’t want a misunderstanding of what is expected to cause you to loose points. Check your answers when you are done. If you have enough time, work the problems twice. If you don’t get the same answer, do it a third time. Finally, check that you entered everything correctly on to the answer sheet. There’s nothing more frustrating that having the right answer CORRECT in the margin of your test booklet, but incorrectly filled in on your answer sheet.
When you get the test back- check that you didn’t loose points unnecessarily. If you didn’t do well try to figure out where you messed up. You will be tested on this material later- so it’s worth it to relearn.
Writing papers. Everyday read material. Take notes. Write paper section by section. Leave enough time to edit it.