How to Study

Remember—you’re responsible for managing your schoolwork. This means setting aside time to focus on homework and to study for tests. Developing good study habits in junior high and high school will help you get good grades and higher scores on standardized tests. That means you’ll have more options after high school.

Practice these study skills. Try out different routines. Find out what works for you.

  • Start each trimester or semester by setting goals for yourself. Discuss these goals, and maybe even some rewards, with your parents. They’ll want to help you stay on track!
  • Stay organized throughout each term by keep a calendar of due dates, deadlines, and test dates to best manage your time and balance schoolwork with socializing and extracurricular activities.
  • Schedule time after school each day to review your notes from classes that day and complete homework assignments.
  • Learn to take good notes. Concentrate in class, and focus on capturing main ideas and a few supporting details for each. If you leave space on the page, you can always add more detail to your notes when you review them at the end of the day.
  • If you’re having trouble taking good notes, consider finding a new note-taking system. One widely used option is the Cornell Method.
  • If you have questions or don’t understand a topic your teacher has covered, ask for help before you fall behind. It’s important to understand the material that’s been covered before your teacher moves on to the next topic, which may build on the skills you have been taught before.
  • Designate a “study zone” at home and hold your scheduled study time there each day. Key elements of a productive “zone”:
    • A place to stow your cell phone (on silent mode) while you work
    • Plenty of light
    • Enough table top space to spread out your notes, books, and work on your computer, if needed
    • A comfortable chair (but not too comfortable!)
    • Quick access to study materials: calculator, books, notebooks, laptop, extra pens/pencils
  • Reevaluate your “study zone” if you’re distracted, uncomfortable, or frustrated. Try another spot until you find one that works for you.
  • During your scheduled study time, take breaks; don’t try to cram everything into a short period of time. Make sure you get a snack and something to drink if you need it. Your brain works better with fuel!
  • Take notes when you’re reading materials assigned by your teacher, just as you would in class. Capture the main ideas, and perhaps even add them to your lecture notes.
  • Consider organizing a study group with friends from your classes. Discussing the material you’re learning with others will help you retain and recall the information.
  • Complete your assignments and turn them in on time. Falling behind in one class will make it more difficult to master your subject before test-time and could lead you to lose ground in other classes as well.