Develop Good Study Habits Now
By Sherry Mischel-Nagy, Licensed School Counselor
High school is a prime time to develop good study habits that will carry into college courses and make those college courses a little more manageable. Students should learn how to study smart, rather than relying on studying hard before tests and hoping to pass.
One important step to think about is matching your approach to studying to how you learn best. If flash cards work best for you, make your own. Do you learn better discussing material with someone? Make sure you have a study partner. Does drawing or mapping key concepts work best? Take the time to do this – every night! Do you need peace and quiet to study effectively? Find a space that is free from distractions and you feel comfortable in. This may not be your room, or even your house. Maybe it’s the public library. Or, are you someone who needs frequent breaks? Maybe studying after working out would be best, or just getting outside even for five minutes to break up the time can be helpful.
Figuring some of these things out before you graduate and start college classes will be very beneficial, whether you plan to go to a two year, or a four year school. Even some technical programs require a course or two that is not all hands-on and will require some studying. College classes are different from high school classes! You may only attend class for an hour three times each week, but instructors expect that you will spend time outside of class reading material, studying, and doing homework.
One important tip is to always GO to class. Sit in the front if possible as you’ll be more likely to hear well and less likely to be distracted. Participate in class! It will help you gain a better understanding of the material. Another very important tip is to not only take good notes, but to review those notes daily as a natural part of your study routine. Pulling an all-nighter, or cramming is really the worst way to study. Make sure you actually do all of the required reading. You will be expected to know material from a textbook that the instructor will not necessarily go over in class. Finally, work at being organized and using your time wisely. Plan your study time – when and where you will do it. Allow yourself some breaks. Constant studying is difficult. Your brain needs an occasional break! You can even work in some rewards for yourself as you study.
In this digital age, there are many apps that students can use to help them study. Two to check out are Quizlet and MyHomework. Quizlet allows students to create their own flashcards and other study aids. MyHomework helps students keep track of homework and class schedules, due dates, and will send reminders to help them stay organized. A good website with many resources is www.howtostudy.org. This website even has tips on how to handle test anxiety. Good study habits in high school should carry over into college and should help make college courses more manageable and maybe even a little bit easier.