Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Top 10 Back to School Study Tips

Whether you’re headed back to college, high school, middle school, or elementary school, the back-to-school season is in full-swing for Lexington!  To help ensure that students start the school year off on the right foot, StudyPoint’s National Director of Academics, Jamee Wilke, shared her tips and expertise with Philadelphia’s Fox 29 reporter, Jennaphr Frederick. 

Tip #1: Develop organizational systems that will work for YOU. Not all organizational systems will work for all students.  You should choose the ones that will work best with your schedule and needs. Remember, though, that learning to be organized takes time and practice. If a system doesn’t work the first time you try it, try again. You may just need more time to become accustomed to it.

Tip #2: Avoid distractions in your study space. If your study space includes a TV and radio, it’s probably not the best place for you to study.  Your study space should be used for studying and working only. Choose a space that doesn't have a lot of tempting distractions available.

Tip #3: Keep all of your books, notebooks, binders, and folders for each class together on a shelf. Then when you need to grab your math materials for school, they are all in one place, making it less likely for you to forget something. You can even label the shelves to make it that much easier to find the right materials.

Tip #4: Reward yourself! Positive reinforcement is an amazing thing. When you have completed tasks, reward yourself in small ways. This can be anything from allowing yourself to take a 10 minute break to treating yourself to a movie.  This will help to avoid procrastinating!

Tip #5: Schedule time to complete your assignments based on anticipated time on task and urgency. Once you know all the assignments that you need to complete, determine their deadlines and estimate how long it will take to finish each one.  You can then prioritize your tasks and set a clear schedule for completing them!

Tip #6: Use an academic planner to keep track of your assignments, deadlines, and appointments. By having all this information in one place, you’ll know exactly where to look to find out what you need to do.  You can even use your planner to prioritize tasks and set a study schedule.  See the example provided.

Tip #7: Use shorter, less grammatically correct sentences. Since you are the only one who will be reviewing your notes, you need not write grammatically correct sentences. You should do your best to shorten your sentences as much as possible. This will enable you to take notes at a faster speed and will reduce the risk of falling behind. Just make sure that you don’t abbreviate the sentences to the point where you are unable to understand what you wrote when you go back to review your notes.

Tip #8: Divide your study time into blocks separated by quick breaks. It is most effective to study in 30-45 minute blocks of time, allowing yourself quick 3-5 minute breaks in between study blocks. This approach gives you time to focus while also allowing time to relax and re-energize. Be careful though—you need to make sure that your quick breaks don’t turn into longer procrastination breaks!

Tip #9: Create and save study guides and aids. Students often wait until the night before big tests to start creating study aids. Instead, you should create study aids for each quiz and test that you have in a class. Once the quizzes and tests are completed, you should save your study aids. Then when it comes time to study for your big tests and quizzes, you will already have your study aids created, which saves you valuable time that you can dedicate to studying.

Tip #10: Learn how to effectively communicate with your teachers. Your teachers are there to provide guidance and support.  You’ll find that most of your teachers are more than happy to provide additional instruction and extra help.  This also shows that you care about your academic performance. Your teachers want to see that you are interested in the class material and that you are driven to succeed. There’s a good chance that a portion of your grades will be based on your class participation. By effectively communicating with your teachers, you can help maintain and increase your class grades.

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