Learning Study Skills

Written by Jeremy Horelick
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Learning the right study skills at an early age can help students overcome myriad obstacles in their middle and high school years. Knowing, for example, how to prioritize assignments so that the most important ones are done first will helps students avoid rushing to complete them at midnight the night before they're due. When students learn to pace themselves and prioritize their work, they not only spare themselves a great deal of grief, they spare their parents as well.

Prioritizing involves an enormous amount of planning, especially when students are saddled with five or six different classes. One of the first study skills they must learn then is to take the long view of their semesters and mark off the dates of major papers and tests. Usually, a teacher hands out a syllabus at the beginning of the term that indicates unit exams and due dates for projects. These should immediately go onto your student's calendar.

Filling in the Gaps

Once the major dates for each month have been blocked out, it's time to fill in the gaps. If a student is also playing a seasonal sport, it's a good idea to note the dates of both home and away games. Similarly, if the student has any unalterable commitments to social groups, religious organizations, or other extracurricular activities, this is the time to square them away on the schedule.

If all this seems like a lot of preparation, it's not without just cause. A clear schedule allows students to see precisely how much time he or she will have to write papers, complete science projects, and study for major exams. All that's left is for students and parents to have reasonable expectations of how much preparatory work is required before each of these big dates so that the schedule remains a useful tool throughout the term. Many students can benefit from a separate study skills course, whether offered through the school or purchased from a retailer. Learning how to manage time effectively and actually remember what has been read and studied is one of the best ways to raise understanding levels and grades.


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