Study Skills Guide

Many students who struggle in school believe that they have difficulties because they’re stupid. After all, they went to class, studied hard, and then flunked the test. Isn’t that a sure sight of stupidity? No, it isn’t. It’s a sure sign that something is wrong, and it’s probably how the the kids are studying. Well, let’s fix that.

Step 1: Relax. Panicking in class, over homework, the night before a test, or during the test won’t help. So take a deep breath and calm down. You’ll focus better and feel better.

Step 2: Take good notes. If you’re like many students, you can’t study effectively because you don’t have good notes to study from. So take better notes. You may want to look at a few different note-taking methods and see which one will work best for you. Some good ones include Cornell notes, rough outline notes, and thought mapping notes. Also, make sure you write legibly. That means good handwriting and no hot pink pens with glittery ink.

Step 3: Ask good questions in and out of class. Most teachers will ask in class if there are any questions. If you’re confused about something, ask! Many teachers arrange times that students can come to get extra help. If you need help, get help. It doesn’t make you weak or stupid; it shows that you’re smart enough to get assistance.

Step 4: Study a little bit every night. When you start a new unit, you know that you will eventually be tested on this stuff, so start studying for the test as soon as possible. It’s still early, so it doesn’t have to be intense; just read through your class notes and skim the vocabulary section of the textbook. If you do that two or three times a week, you won’t have to desperately cram the night before the test.

Step 5: Study in the right place. The right place is different for everyone, but it’s never loud, distracting, or uncomfortable. If the best place for you is your under your favorite tree at the park, cool. If it’s your bedroom, great. If it’s the kitchen table, awesome. Just remember that wherever your study spot is, it needs to have adequate light and space, and you need to have all necessary supplies within reach.

Step 6: Take a break. Your brain can only focus on one thing for so long before you loose the ability to think coherently, so give yourself time to rest a little. Every hour or so, make sure you get up, walk around, maybe get a snack and then come back after 5-10 minutes.

Step 7: Take the test. You took good notes and read over them a few times a week. You asked the teacher for help and clarification when you needed it. You had your good study spot and took breaks so your brain didn’t turn to mush while you were trying to memorize the battles of the Napoleonic Wars. You remained calm at all times. Now you’re ready to spank that test and make it cry for its mama. Good luck!