Study Skills

Do you study hard and still do not do well on your tests? Are you tired of your teachers calling home about work you did not do in class or for homework?

So what’s your problem?

   Do you know how to study?

   Do you repeat what you’re trying to remember to yourself over and over?

   Do you waste time when studying (You have just finished reading and have no idea what you just read.)

   Having trouble getting ready to study (“I have to clean the bathroom before I study, I have to watch this one TV show, I have football practice first, etc.”)

   Do you have good place to study?

   Do you complete ALL of your homework EVERY day?

   Do you know your learning style? (Visual learners learn by seeing.  Auditory learners learn by hearing.  Tactile learners learn by feeling.  Are you a combination of the three styles?

   Metacognition. What’s that?  Do you know what to do when you do not understand an assignment/problem?  Then can you go to the next step when your first solution does not work?  Do you change what you do depending on the type of test your teacher will give?

Success in school is due to motivation, time management, and good study habits.  It basically takes some effort from you. This means that if you want to do well you must be willing to set aside time to study and to do homework.  You may have to sacrifice at times.  However, believe it or not, you can spend less time studying if you do the right things.

We have ideas and tools that will help you. If you would like to learn more about studying and doing better in school click on any of the following.

Motivation  Suggestions
Effective Reading
Improving Memory General Study Hints



Motivation is the key to success in school.  Although your teachers and parents can provide you with some helpful hints to enhance motivation, they cannot motivate you.  You are responsible for your study habits, for seeking resources and assistance, and for managing your time.  You have to want to do well enough to put forth the effort.

There are types of motivation.  The first one is outer motivation.  These are things such as good grades, money, trips, and shopping sprees.  You do something good and you get a reward.  Self-motivation is doing something because YOU want to and your reward is knowing that you did your best.  For example, you are a dedicated basketball player and you practice every day.  You work hard and then game day comes around.  You score 25 points and have been voted Most Valuable Player at the end of the game.  Self-motivation is what made you go to practice everyday and work hard.  Outer motivation is the praise, the points scored and winning MVP of the game.

Now, ask yourself if you are doing what it takes to be the MVP in class or at home?


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The following suggestions
will help you improve your study skills
Remember you do not have to do all of this at once.  Learn them and be familiar with the suggestions.  Make them a habit one at a time.  It will become easier to do your work and you will have to take so much time studying.

  SET UP A SCHEDULE. For classes that are harder, make sure you give yourself more time to study or do homework.  Also make time for recreation and social activities; they are just as important as your grades.
  START STUDYING FOR 10-15 MINUTES AT A TIME AND THEN BUILD UP TO LONGER PERIODS OF TIME. Start reading/studying for 10-15 minutes.  Then build on that by 10 minutes once you become comfortable studying for at least an hour at a time.  So work hard, but be realistic.  If you can no longer concentrate or remember what you have read, stop.  Do not waste valuable time.
  TAKE BREAKS. Take breaks when studying.  Do not attempt to cram!  Study small portions of material, take a break and then study some more.  You will retain more information when you break it down into smaller portions that you can manage.  You do not want to get burned out.
  REWARD YOURSELF. Reward yourself for studying, learning a difficult topic, or completing a project.  Go to a movie, spend time with your friends, or do the things you put off in order to study.  You are more likely to study again and concentrate if you know there is a reward at the end of completing a task.
  FIND A GOOD LOCATION. Where you study can determine how much concentrate.  Make sure the place is comfortable, but not too comfortable.  Sitting at a desk or table is best.  Avoid lying across the bed.  You want to try to study in the same type of situation that you will be testing.  This helps with remembering the things you studied for the test.
  USE THE SAME PLACE FOR STUDYING. This will help you with your memory when it is time for a test.  It will also help you to concentrate better, because you will be in a routine or habit of studying in the same place.
  MAKE SURE IT IS A QUIET PLACE. Having a quiet place to study is also important.  Playing your favorite CD, or radio station, or even the TV will get in the way of you concentrating on your studies.
  ELIMINATE THE OBVIOUS DISTRACTIONS. Talking on the telephone is a major distraction when you are trying to study.  Other distractions that you should look out for are the radio, TV, video games, family talking around your study area.  Even seeing your books for another class can distract you.  So put them away until you are ready to study for the next class.  Once you get rid of, as many distractions as you can you will improve you study skills.
  EMOTIONAL MOODS. Try studying in a similar emotional mood you have during a test.  This also increases your memory during testing.  When you are too relaxed during studying it does not match the same level of emotions as when testing.  This also works in reverse.  If you are too psyched-up or tensed during your test, you will not be able to remember what you studied.  This is why it is important that you learn to calm yourself down during tests.

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Effective Reading     

  If you know how to read a textbook, you will understand and remember what you have read.

There are 3 simple tools that you can do to read more effectively.

SCAN: Scan the chapter in the book.  Look at the boldface terms, charts, graphs, headings & subtitles, maps, photos & illustrations, summary, and review questions.  Scanning provides you with information in a short amount time.  You get a quick view of the information and it prepares you for what you are about to read.  It makes it easier when more understandable when you actually do read.
READ: When you read, have a purpose.  This helps you to stay focused and understand what you have read.  Ask yourself questions as you read.  “What does this word mean?, Why is this event important?, etc.”  You are a detective while you read.  Looking for answers to your questions while you read.  When you finished reading you should have answered all of your question and the review questions.
REVIEW: Once you have finished reading, take the time to go one set further.  Go through the scanning process again and look at the bold words, italicized words, charts, pictures, headings, etc.  Make sure you understand what you have read.  You can even make flash cards of the different headings or events that took place in your reading.  You will be amazed how much you remember when it is time to review for the test.

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