The hardest part about high school is usually figuring out how to make time for everything. Academics normally take priority and the study skills we develop in high school influence how we will study and work for the rest of our lives. That is why it is important to make sure you study smart in high school so you can get good grades for the college application and you can cultivate a better work ethic for the real world.
Here are some strategies experts recommend you utilize when studying in order to maximize your success.
- Set Goals and Make a Plan
Before you start working, you should know what the end goal of your work period is going to be. Do you plan to memorize a certain formula? Will you be able to identify the social, economic, and political impacts of World War Two on every power involved in the conflict? You must have a defined goal and to do list to complete that goal so that you do not get distracted by other thoughts or work.
Once you have set your goal, make a study plan to help you maximize time efficiency. You may only study for AP United States History for 2 hours and then spend 4 hours on Physics. Creating a study plan helps you plot out what you will be doing for the next couple of hours so you get peace of mind that you will hit every subject and you can force yourself to stick to your schedule.
- Get Rid of any Distractions
Make sure you put your phone on “Do Not Disturb” or Airplane Mode so you can study without the noise from the outside world. Turn off the TV. It is hard for us to put technology away at times but it is crucial that you pay attention in the task at hand rather than be checking all the forms of social media.
This normally specific to math, but all subjects require a certain degree of practice. Practice writing essays, practice analyzing history texts, practice problems. Just like an athlete, you need to practice your craft in order to excel. The best student is the one that understands and applies the information. Take some time out to review and practice for each class everyday.
- Become the Teacher
Teaching the information helps you learn it better. Enlist anyone to be a fake student: a friend, parent, sibling, even pet. As you explain concepts, you will gain a whole new understanding of them. History was my best subject in high school and I used to review for tests by teaching my parents what I learned in class. You can do the same for Science and even Math by explaining topics you learned in class and describing the methods you are using to solve problems.
- Get Moving
Studies show that physical activities help increase memory and academic performance. Throw a ball around, do some crunches, pretty much just get moving while you study. It helps you stay more alert and engage with what you are learning..
- Study Groups
Study groups are a great, social way to get work done. You can be more productive by splitting work up among friends and then having each friend teach the group their part. Or talk through assignments and test preparation. Groups are especially important for classes that have a lot of projects. That way one person does not get stuck with all the work and everyone gets the chance to learn the material. A lot of college work happens in study groups as well so it is a good way to develop strategies you will continue to utilize in the future.
- Take Breaks
Everyone works in different ways so there is no hard and fast rule as to how many breaks you should take, how often you should take them, or how long they should be. A common method we learned in high school was to study for 25 minutes and then take a 3-5 minute break. Make sure you stretch and refill any water or snacks during this break. You want to be well nourished in order to ensure maximum retention.
Feel free to suggest any other study strategies that have worked for you in the comments.