I had terrible study habits in grade school, as was very obvious from my report cards. As the subjects got harder, and as the workload got heavier, I realized that I would have to have a solid study plan. The following are ten study tips that helped me improve my study skills, and ultimately my grades:
- FEED YOUR BRAIN. After a long day in school, your body is overdue for a well balanced home cooked meal. Sit down and enjoy your food, don't just take your dinner to go. You'll be giving your body the nutrients it needs to function. Also, your grumbling stomach can only disrupt your studying.
- NOW IS THE TIME. Set aside a certain time period every night just for studying. Make sure that you allot yourself enough time to complete all your work, and don't compromise that time for any reason. Schedule your study time for after you have already eaten and had time to "chill out", but early enough in the night that you are still fresh and awake.
- ASSIGNED SEATING. Besides for having a set time, a set place to study is also very helpful. Find a place where you can spread out, it's quiet, and everything you'd need while you are studying is at your fingertips. If such a place doesn't exist in your house, take a trip to the library.
- GET IN YOUR ZONE. Now it's time to concentrate. Hold all your calls, turn off the TV, and dive into your work. The sooner you can clear your mind, the sooner you can begin to work, and the sooner you'll be done.
- CHECK PLEASE. Organizing what you have to do before you do it will ease your mind and allow you to choose the order in which you want to attack your assignments. A checklist is the best way to go about this. As you check off each assignment, the weight will slowly be lifted off of your shoulders and you'll be able to gauge how much time you need to finish your work.
- PIECE OF CAKE. For some people doing the easiest assignment first helps them get into their homework groove, while others prefer to do the easier homework at the end of the night when they are completely brain dead and wouldn't be able to concentrate on the harder work. This is a decision you'll have to make yourself. See which one works better for you.
- TAKE NOTE. I've found that when studying for a test, copying over your notes or writing the information in short hand helps you improve your chances of remembering it. I got into the habit of making note cards, a mixture of my notes from class and the information in the text book, that I would carry with me and study from on the day of the test. Both writing over the info and being able to test myself all day improved my test taking greatly.
- I PITY THE FOOL. Don't fool yourself into thinking that a two-hour movie break will help you study. Breaks in general shouldn't be too long, or you will get distracted and may not be able to get back into it. When you do take your breaks, don't roam around anywhere or do anything that is extremely interesting (granted anything seems more interesting than studying) - you'll just be asking for trouble. Starting to work too late is also a problem. You need as much energy as possible to pull you through the workload.
- GUIDING LIGHT. Always have someone around that you can ask for help. Be sure that your parents or older siblings are around to help answer your questions and help you work through problems. If it is impossible to get a hold of your parents while you are studying, have a teacher or a friend that is good at the problematic subject be at your disposal (you can call them) at the time that you are studying.
- GO HARD OR GO HOME. Put everything you got into it. It isn't enough to just do half a job, you must use your time wisely and put forth every effort to get the job done right. Don't just do the homework to get it over with, try to get something out of it. Don't just do the time, gain the skills as well.
An organized study plan, coupled with a strong work ethic, will give immediate results. Over time, you will realize what works the best for you specifically, and as long as you stick with it and give it your all, nothing can hold you back from making the grade.