Learn better with good study habits

A few weeks have passed in this school year and things are beginning to settling down. In order to have a successful school routine, you need to include using good study skills. You can actually learn better and decrease your study time by using them. Perhaps you already have a study schedule you are comfortable with, but check them against these skills below to see if you can use any tips to improve. For the rest of you, these skills will last you through the rest of your life.

1. Use a daily planner to help you with scheduling and time management. Keep track of test dates, report assignments, and other school events. You can make timeline entries for reports such as, ‘complete report outline,’ or ‘complete first draft, etc.’

2. Show up prepared for class with books, notebooks, pens, textbooks and homework. Homework strengthens the neural pathway of a new fact or skill into your brain. It helps you review what you learned that day. Then, if you don’t get it, you can ask the teacher for help the next day. In middle school and beyond, learning is sequential. You have to learn the bottom step before you climb to the next.

3. Set reachable goals. You always want to do your best. If you barely made it to high school, then you might not get perfect grade’s at first, but you could learn all these study skills, begin to use them and get average or better grades. Colleges look for students who show improvement over the high school years.

4. Concentrate and be focused. If you’re listening to your teacher, classmates and waiting for your phone to buzz; your brain doesn’t get the clear message about what the teacher is teaching. Make sure you understand the lesson. If not, ask questions. A teacher’s purpose is to help you learn something.

5. Take good notes. You can’t remember everything the teacher will say, so write down the most important and definitely things you don’t already know. If you’re learning a new skill, perhaps you could meet with the teacher after class to see if you wrote down the most important facts. Sometimes what we think is important is not what is truly important for the subject.

6. Review your notes. Make study time fun, meet with classmates to see what you each thought was important, or do it at home with a friend or parent. Again, you’re reminding your brain to save and remember.

7. Get organized. My grandfather used to say, “A place for everything, and everything in its place.” Now this is a time-saver. If you have all you need in the same place where you do your homework and put it all away when done, you’ll save time by not looking for it. You can buy a crate that can be moved, a pencil case that you can keep in your binder with your school tools. Keep your notes for each subject together, and easily accessible for tests.

8. Get motivated to learn and do the work. Do you sometimes wonder why some kids love going to school? It’s because they want to learn. They have plans for their lives and know that learning the basics is part of any successful life plan. Behaviorists know that people work for rewards. Give yourself the treat of doing well in school and the reward will be getting more money and jobs you like for the rest of your life. See if you can get a sponsor to give you $5 or fix your favorite dinner for every A on your report card.

9. Get enough rest. Your body is going to continue growing on the inside until you’re in your mid-twenties. It’s hard to do well in school when you are exhausted. If you have to work, don’t work too late on school nights. Catch up on rest on the weekends. Learn to power nap, set a timer for 10 or 15 minutes. Begin to breathe deeply and slowly. Intend to bring rest and relaxation to your body and then empty your mind as much as possible of all thoughts. It may take a little practice, but the results are wonderful.

10. Go to school. Everyone knows it’s important. If you miss a day, you miss that step that leads to the next. If you miss a few, you may get frustrated and give up. Go to your teacher, your counselor, and ask what support there is for your case. At Erwin High School in Leicester, NC, all the freshmen got together and signed a pact that they would all graduate as one class. They would help each other stay in school. This lesson meant that they all were willing to help each other make the most of their lives.

There are about 486,000 websites to address the effects of truancy, and 312,000,000 hits on the consequences of missing a day in class. Generally they say that truancy, often sets students up for a life struggle.

The consequences may include:

• Decreased earning ability

• Involvement in crime

• Increased risk of dropping out of school

• Two and a half more times more likely to be on welfare

• Struggling to catch up with school assignments

• Failing classes

• Risk of not obtaining a higher education

As you can see, the results affect others negatively as well. Join with friends to help them stay in school and remember to ask for help when you need it. Don’t get behind and may you discover that school is actually fun.

• Hale ‘Opio Kauai convened a support group of adults in our Kauai community to “step into the corner” for our teens, to answer questions and give support to youth and their families on a wide variety of issues. Email your questions or concerns facing our youth and families today to Annaleah Atkinson at aatkinson@haleopio.org

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