As we start the new school year, it’s the perfect time to break old study habits and form new ones that will keep you in tip-top shape throughout the upcoming school year. You’ve had two months to relax and reenergize, and now it’s time to redirect that energy into productive study habits!
We’ve all crammed a semester’s worth of information a night before a major exam, but why give yourself the unnecessary stress and headache? If you develop these effective habits from day one and stick to them throughout the school year, you’ll find that not only will you perform better, but you’ll also have a more enjoyable school year.
Here are our top ten study tips for high schoolers:
The foundation to any study session is having good notes to refer to afterwards. Be sure to always pay attention during class and get a study buddy who you can get notes from in case you ever miss a class. While taking notes doesn’t come easily for everyone, the key is to listen attentively for most of the lecture and only take down key points of information. If you pressure yourself to take too many detailed notes, you’ll find it too hard to keep up with the lecture and potentially miss out on important information.
The lessons you get taught in class are supplemented by the homework assignments given by your teacher. It’s a great way to put those lessons into practice and truly see whether or not you understood those concepts. The longer you put that homework aside or don’t complete, the harder it will be to retain the information you were taught and will put you at a disadvantage come exam time. Staying on top of your homework is also a great way to see if you’ve understood your lectures and if you didn’t, gives you enough time to ask for help or clarification ahead of time.
The start of the school year doesn’t only mark the start of classes, but for many students that means the start of many extracurricular activities. While it’s important to stay active and social throughout the year, it’s important to stay organized. In a planner or calendar, be sure to schedule all your extra curricular activities and map out time for homework and study sessions, that way you know you’re balancing out your time evenly around all your activities.
Joining a study group is a good way to not only join forces and minds with your classmates but also make studying fun. It’s a great way to compare notes with one another, test each other on concepts and clarify anything that you didn’t understand. While studying is typically thought of as a solo activity, the benefit of studying in a group is that you can all become each other’s support systems. When the going gets tough and the semester is hitting its peak, it’s nice to have a group of study friends who know exactly what you’re going through and motivate you to push through it.
It’s impossible to understand everything we’re taught straight off the bat. As the school year progresses, teachers like to introduce more complex concepts so it’s natural if you’re unable to grasp the subject matter right away. Sometimes it takes showing you an example to illustrate these new learnings and other times you just need it to be explained in a different way. Whichever the case maybe, take advantage of your teacher’s office hours to ask for additional help or clarification. Since concepts are typically built on top of each other, seek your teacher’s help as soon as you find that something is unclear. That way, you can better understand new subject matter that comes up afterwards.
Procrastinating before a big test? We’ve all been there, but instead of trying to absorb the entire semester’s curriculum in a 4 hour study session the night before a big exam, why not study regularly but in short intervals. This way you never overwhelm yourself the night before a test as all it does is cause unnecessary stress and is generally ineffective. By studying more regularly, not only will you be able to retain more information but you’ll also be able to address things you don’t understand a lot sooner, opposed to the night before.
In order to do the best studying, you need to create your own designated study space. A place that encourages productivity and distraction-free. If it’s somewhere in your house, make sure it’s far away from any distractions including TVs, gaming systems or other people — essentially anything you think might drive you off course from studying. If you’re worried that you won’t be able to get the best work done at home, look at other places like your local library or cafe.
A major part of creating a distraction-free zone for yourself is going offline. Checking in on Facebook or Instagram every couple minutes or texting your friends during your study session will only have you lose focus. Log out of all your favourite apps to avoid getting notifications and turn your phone off if you need to to completely disconnect. You’ll notice that your work flow and focus will improve greatly as soon as you break these habits and you’ll be able to focus at the task at hand a lot better.
We’ve all been guilty of over-studying but it’s important not to overwork yourself and take a break once in a while. If you overwork yourself, the harder it will be to retain the information that you’re trying to learn and in turn, make your study session very unproductive. Take a break every hour or so — whether that means going for a walk, or having a snack — then get back to the task at hand. You’ll notice that by doing so, you’ll be able to clear your head and regain some of your energy back. By taking a break, you’ll be able to hit the books again with much more focus.
You studied hard and you passed your tests with flying colours, congratulations! After all that hard work, don’t forget to reward yourself for the good job and positively reinforce your study habits. Whether that means treating yourself out to a trip to the movies or taking a study break for the day, the best way to incentivize good study habits is by rewarding them.
Didn’t get the mark or GPA you were looking for this semester? Don’t sweat it. Re-evaluate your study habits, see what habits need improvement and develop a study plan! You only get out what you put in, so the more you invest into your study routine, the better your marks will be down the line.