Does studying seem like it takes you forever and you still don't get it? Don't worry, a lot of people feel that way. People aren't born with effective study skills. Most likely you just aren't studying effectively, but that can be easily fixed. There are adults and children alike whose grades suffer because they simply don't know the right way to study. But this can all be changed by gaining the skills to do it effectively and absorb information quickly.
It's important to develop strong study habits in high school so that you can be prepared for any continuing education or training after you graduate. Here are a few tips to make sure you are on the right track.
Figure out your learning style. Everyone learns in a different way. The best way to improve your study skills is to first figure out how you learn. Here are the different types of learning styles:
- If you can remember things better by listening to someone else explain them, or feel like you can get more accomplished with some soft music or background noise when you study, you are most likely an Auditory learner. Try tape recording class lectures or discussions to play them back later when you sit down to study.
- If you need to see things written out or prefer reading your textbook to understand the material, you are probably more of a Visual learner. Take notes during class so you can read them later. Try to fit your material into graphic organizers or draw pictures to help you remember.
- Are hands-on projects how you learn the best? You might be a Tactile/Kinesthetic learner. Role playing, recreating projects or scenes, and lots of movement (like pacing) could help you study more effectively.
Learn time management skills. Organization is the key to improving study skills and strategies. Set out a plan before you begin and stick to it. Set aside time into blocks when you know you can commit. Making it easy to do will motivate you to do it! It will not only help you accomplish your goals, it will keep you on track time-wise.
Study in short bursts. There is nothing worse than burnout when you are trying to study. Don't try to do a marathon session, as you will not be able to remember everything all at once. Take breaks every now and then between chapters or subjects to give your brain a rest!
Block out distractions. A few good studying tips include turning off your phone, shutting off your IM program and the TV, and closing your door. Nothing will derail your studying as quickly as interruptions. If you really want to be successful, you need to focus, so set up your environment for success. Make sure to settle somewhere comfortable. The best place is your room. Designate a small part of it with some pillows, a comfortable chair, and a radio for the best results.
Cramming is not the answer! One of the most important high school study skills is to not procrastinate. Don't put off studying for a test until the last minute. Most teachers give you plenty of advance warning before an upcoming test. Study small sections at a time over a span of days and you will remember more. Then you can review everything right before the test if it is necessary. You might be surprised at how much you actually remembered.
Read it again. The saying “practice makes perfect” is entirely true. Reading the same text multiple times will help you remember. If you take time to read a portion of your textbook before and after class, you will absorb the information faster.
Do the hard stuff first. The most complicated material should be at the top of the list. Create index cards to remember terms, formulas, and other repetitious information.
Homework is important. The teacher does not give out homework just to annoy you! These tasks are designed to help you learn the material in the lesson. Successful completion of these assignments will help you pass the tests.
Take good notes. The best place to learn and study is in the classroom. Taking good notes on the material that is taught while in school will help you later when doing assignments in class, homework, and at test time. Follow these steps to take notes that will boost your ability to retain the topic covered in the classroom.
- Do not write everything down. The topic of conversation will jump around in the classroom due to the discussion between the teacher and students. So only write down the important information. This includes names of important persons, dates, geographic locations, formulas, steps to solve problems, etc.
- Write in short hand. Writing entire sentences takes time. This may cause you to miss important information. Write short words or phrases, not complete sentences. This does not apply to quotes from important persons. Be sure to write the quote in full with quotations as well as the person who spoke the words.
- Write in an organized manner. When you take notes be deliberate about the words you write down. Use a new line for each point and make an outline by using numbers and letters. This will allow you to easily read what you have written, making a neat and concise study guide.
- Use a notebook of some kind when taking notes in class. Use a different book for each class.
- Review your work. After class review the notes that you took. At this time you can add dates, people, and information you may have missed in class. This will also give you a chance to add any additional words or phrases to help you later.
- Use your notes. Take out your notes when completing assignments, homework, and when studying for tests. Some teachers will also allow you to use notes when taking tests.
Take your time, make a plan, and stick with it. The key to improving study strategies and skills is to study smart, not hard. Don't procrastinate and don't get distracted. Now that you know how to study, you'll be acing the test sooner than you think!