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November Student Advice

Updated: Nov 14, 2020

Studying is an art. Some people can only really get to work when inspired. Inspiration might come in the form of a deadline, an upcoming test, or even your mom saying you can’t FaceTime your besties until you finish your homework. However, what happens when you can’t find your inspiration? Or, when you're off to college, and your mom can no longer hold your phone hostage? This is where established study patterns and skills can help you stay motivated and prevent you from wasting quality time trying to figure out where and how to start.

What are study skills and how do you identify them? Study skills come in many different forms and, depending on the subject you're studying for, can vary. For example, some helpful study skills for history could include reading your textbook, taking notes, or quizzing yourself. For a language class like English, however, it might be useful to memorize acronyms to remember verb conjugations or, for a math class, the order of operations. Take a minute, and think about the last test you took. What did you do to prepare for the test? Did you read, use flashcards, make notes, memorize topics, or make mock tests for yourself? The methods you use consistently are your study habits. It's best to use your existing study habits to prepare for exams, standardized tests, and college (if you choose to attend). To do this, you should try to differentiate between your efficient habits and those that could be improved. Make a list of your favorite ways to study and how much time you normally spend doing each. Do you spend so much time on one task that you never get to the next one? If so, think about timing yourself when you study. Try not to get bogged down, so you can get to everything on your list.

When you figure out how you study best, you should stick with those methods. If you are not sure, you can try the following:

  • Make songs to help you memorize all the bones in your leg for 10th grade anatomy

  • Form study groups if you learn best through collaboration

  • Create a color-coding system where: green is used for information you know and understand, blue is used for things you partially understand, and red is used for things you need to ask your teacher about, because you do not understand at all

  • “Chunk”; chunking is where you make a conscious effort to break down information into more meaningful “chunks.” For example, putting a long list of numbers into a phone number format can help you remember the list better.

This talk of studying started by comparing studying to painting, drawing, or art. To be fair, most of the time, studying is not fun or exciting. However, creating your own study routine is important as it sets you up to be a lifelong learner. Learning how to effectively study now will not only help you while you're in high school but also if you decide to pursue higher education; it all starts with developing study skills and a study pattern.

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