Study Skill Tips for High School Students

We all have a different style of learning. Some learn better by seeing, some by doing, and some by hearing. Usually we benefit by a combination of these various activities. That is why it is beneficial to hear and listen to the lecture while also taking notes. Then, to reinforce this, we read the text book and our notes again.

Take thorough notes. If the instructor is going too fast for you, ask if you can tape the class. Or find someone who wouldn’t mind you reading their notes to supplement your own.
If your notes are illegible, rewrite them when you get home. What the instructor says in class is what he or she thinks is important. So take good notes.

It is important to anchor new information to old or to attach it to something familiar. Mnemonic devices are helpful. For instance,if I need to remember the names of the great lakes, I think of HOME and remember the lakes are Heron, Ontario, Michigan, and Erie.

If you can make a game of it, that makes it much more fun. When my children were little, we would play a game in the car. When they saw a car from out of state they would shout out the name of the state and the capital. It was fun and the information stuck.

Form a study group. If you are being tested over eight chapters, for instance, form a group of four people and have each person responsible for outlining two chapters and making copies for everyone. Then get together on an evening or weekend afternoon to review the material and have refreshments. Studying shouldn’t have to be dull. Making it fun actually makes it stick better.

Make it relevant. Say, for instance, you are studying geography. Make it relevant by looking for articles in the newspaper about events occurring in the countries or region you are studying. Write for travel literature about that country and talk to travel agents. My sister used to get travel literature from everywhere. It made geography great fun.

Pay attention when the teacher says “You need to know this for the exam”. You will do very well in school if you just show up for classes and tests. If you listen, you will be even more successful. And if you study and do homework, you will probably get A’s.

Do you have a syllabus for each class which tells you what you are expected to learn in that class, the what assignments are, when they are due, and when you will be having tests? You need a syllabus for time management. Keep them handy. It’s no good walking into class and discovering you are having a midterm that you forgot about.

Go to after school help sessions. If you are having trouble with algebra or geometry or whatever it is, get help early rather than later. In math classes you must understand the first lessons in order to understand the later lessons.

If you are not allowed to highlight your textbooks, get post-it flags or make copies of the chapters which you can then highlight to your heart’s content.

Keep up with the reading. First, skim for the major points. Then read for more detail. Finally, read to take notes or highlight. You must at least skim for major points and review class notes. Always study the end of chapter review and try to answer the questions. The questions pertain to major points your teacher will probably want you to know for the exam.
Don’t forget to look at any graphs or boxed information. That info is usually important, too.

If there is no quiet place to study at home, go to the library and find a quiet study carol. Just make yourself a portable office in a back pack and go. It’s perfect, really. Whatever resource material you need is there. It’s quiet. There’s good lighting. There may even be people who can help you out if you get stuck on something. Most libraries have computers now, too. And if you want to have a snack, just go outside.

Self test. As you read the material, think to yourself, if I were going to write a test about this, what would I ask? Have your mom or dad or a friend test you over the material. Verbal and written testing helps make the information stick. We want the info in our long term memory banks, not just the short term one.

Remember the story of the tortoise and the hare. The way to win is slow and steady. Cramming the night before the exam is usually not very successful. First, you won’t be rested. Second, your anxiety and stress level will be too high for you to be at your optimal performance level. Just keep up with the material and consistently review and self test.

Manage your time. If you have homework in English, history, and math, plan how much time you will spend on each subject. Set a timer. No matter what, once that timer goes off, stop working on that subject, take a break, and then proceed to the next. Do this until you have covered all three subjects and then go back if there is something you were unable to complete before.

Tell your friends not to call you during study hours. Yea, I know. You don’t want to be the nerd, the party pooper. Let me tell you about my oldest daughter’s high school. Lots of brainy nerds in that school, there were! They had a cheer they would yell at football games if they were behind, “That’s all right. That’s okay. You’ll all work for us some day.”

Give yourself a reward for good behavior! Sleep in on Saturday morning. Go see a movie or concert. Go get some exercise. If you are fit and happy, your studies will go better.

Know your goals. What motivates you? Do you have dreams of becoming a doctor or a United States Senator? Do you want to be a veterinarian or a novelist? Do you want to become a top designer or engineer? Find out what your passion is, what your dreams are. Use that passion to motivate you in your studies.

I told my children to study hard in school so they could choose what work they wanted to do someday rather than having to take what work they could get. Work hard and design the life of your dreams.