Study Skills: A Survival Guide For High School Students And Parents (page 3)
Your success as a high school student will depend a great deal on how efficiently you use your study time. The California Teachers Association has collected some tips from classroom teachers to help you reach your full potential in high school.
Study a little bit every night. Don’t try to cram the night before a test. Don’t study for too long at one time. Take a break now and then.
Your study spot should be well lit, comfortable, and distraction free. TVs and stereos prevent you from concentrating and make your study time less efficient.
Rest, relaxation, exercise, and a proper diet are all important parts of your preparation for school. A high protein, low sugar breakfast is helpful for maintaining a constant energy level all day.
Think of your study time as a pleasant learning: experience, not a chore.
Preparing for Tests
Keep up with your schoolwork. Once you fall behind, it's hard to catch up.
Pay attention to review sessions. Ask questions about what type of question to expect. If you don't understand something, ask your teacher.
Emphasize the major ideas (concepts) of the test material. Learn the key vocabulary words. Make flash cards of the vocabulary if it helps you. Have someone test you on them.
Taking The Test
Don't panic! Everyone feels tension before a test. Tension helps you stay alert. Let it work for you.
Read the entire test before you do anything else. This will allow you to:
- Get rid of a few of the butterflies.
- Choose the easiest questions to start on.
- Budget your time.
- Start your subconscious mind working on the tougher questions. You'll find that when you come back to them, the answers often pop right out.
- Pick up clues to some questions in other questions. Reading the whole test will save you time in the long run.
Look for clues in the test questions themselves.
- Use the process of elimination for matching or multiple choice questions.
- In true/false tests, look for words such as all, always, never, and none. If you can think of just one exception, the questions is false.
- For essay questions, think first, jot down a few key words or (better yet) a simple outline, then write your answer.
- If you have trouble interpreting a question, think about the concepts that you studied. One of them will probably be the key to the answer.
Taking Lecture Notes
Don't try to write down everything the teacher says. Listen carefully until you understand the point that is being made, then write it down in your own words. Pay particular attention to examples.
Don't be afraid to ask questions when you don’t understand. If you don't understand, the chances are that other people don't understand either.
Go over your notes during your regular evening study session, while they are still fresh in your mind. Add whatever you need to make your notes clear. If you let the notes sit until the night before the exam, they may make no sense to you at all. By looking them over while they're fresh in your mind, you'll have time co ask questions if you don't understand.
Before you start reading an assignment in a textbook, it helps to PREVIEW the material. Previewing consists of the following steps:
- Look at all of the illustrations and read the captions.
- Read all of the boldface words in the chapter. Topic headings and key vocabulary words are often printed in boldface.
- Read the first and last paragraphs in the chapter.
- Briefly read any questions, vocabulary lists, chapter summaries or chapter objectives if they are present.
- Skim the entire chapter. This means that you just scan the material quickly, letting your eyes pick up words and phrases more or less at random.
- Preview gives your mind an outline of the material you are about to read. The outline will act as a framework into which you will be able to sort the details of the chapter into their proper places. Previewing is a way to help you to remember what you read.
Read in a distraction-free environment. Your study area is also probably your best reading area.
Good lighting is a must. Light should come over your shoulder to avoid shadows, but don't read in a dark room under a bright light.
If you can't read for a reasonable time without getting tired, restless, or eyestrain, you may have a vision problem. Have your eyes tested if there's any question. If you are supposed to wear glasses, wear them.
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