Sound Study Tips That Improve Your Grades
by Max Lien, age 14
Recently, studying has been a drag for me and tests seem harder as the school year is progressing. A mediocre score on just one test can send your grade plummeting. Getting behind in class is not good, especially near end of the school year.
However, taking effective notes and using sound study skills can help boost your grades. It did for me. In this month’s column I will provide some tips to help improve your note-taking and study skills.
A lot of note-taking in high school is done during lectures. During a lecture, you should not take notes on every single detail. Instead, just take notes related to main concepts. What the teacher says is key. Most importantly, pay attention during class. Sometimes, it can be hard to stay awake, but the notes you put together will be well worth the effort when it comes time to prepare for a test. Sometimes, teachers will schedule optional lectures during lunch, or even before school. It is a very wise decision to attend these special sessions.
A good tip for note-taking is to avoid complete sentences. The ability to write things down quickly will certainly help. Review your notes and add some thoughts based on what you picked up by listening. This tactic will reinforce your memory on the subject. One good tip is to use abbreviations, such as “b/c,” for because. Also, if you miss some concepts, always be sure to ask the teacher for an explanation. Practice note-taking and come up with your own strategies. You will be surprised at how quickly you get good at it.
Taking notes is one thing, but they really pay off when you use them to study. Doing homework assignments helps prepare you for a test. But, studying from your notes is still the best way to score well on tests.
Get into the habit of finding a quiet place to study. Distractions can take you off topic, leaving you less prepared for your test.
Take advantage of available handouts, too. If a handout explains a process or important facts, treat them like your notes and study from them.
Lastly, spend more time on the more challenging classes. Studying for easy courses isn’t as important as studying for the harder ones. What I do is rank my classes from the most to least challenging, and start my studying from the top of the list.
Remember, preparing yourself for tests is one of the most important things you can do to improve your grades including, of course, scoring well on test too. With fourth quarter about to start, it’s a good thing to end the school year with a strong GPA. Your high school grades can determine your career, college, and possibly impact the rest of your life.
So, be sure to spend time studying and practice that note-taking.