We all want to get good grades, or even just better grades. Let me tell you this: it’s entirely possible! But there are right ways and wrong ways in doing this.
In order to really learn and understand more in less time, you must learn to study effectively and efficiently. Here’s where my tips come in! Try these tried and tested tips and get the brain (and grade) boost you want!
Top Studying Tools
Studying methods differ for everyone. However, I’ve found the most beneficial method to be combining digital and physical practices. I’ve listed some of my go-to supplies below; these are the ones I really love and use almost every single day, and I highly recommend.
- Planner: Depending on your planning style, you may rather use planners, bullet journals, notebooks, or whatever else. For studying purposes, I like to use this planner because it lets me schedule study sessions and daily time-blocks.
- PDFelement: If you get a lot of annotation homework during online classes, you need PDFelement. It let you annotate and edit PDFs without all the hassle of printing and scanning. P.S. You can get it for 50% off through this link from now through September 3rd, 2020.
- Colored pens & highlighters: Color-coding is the first thing you should do in front of a lot of information. Not only does it help you be productive, but it also helps you organize information in your notes and helps with memorization and connection.
Check out this related post: 15 Tools You Need To Succeed In Online School.
Write Notes You’ll Use
Whenever you’re assigned to take notes from a textbook, it’s super easy to write down every single thing from the text. But there’s really no advantage to that. It’ll just confuse and overwhelm you.
Instead, whenever you come across a notable point, ask yourself these questions:
- Do I already know this information?
- Is this relevant information?
- Do I understand what this says?
These will help you determine if you really need to write that information down.
In addition to writing down the right things, you should make use of drawings and colors, too! Diagrams are super useful for science notes, and color-coding is great for all subjects.
Make sure you use high-quality highlighters that are easy on the eyes and don’t smudge your writing! I use the Zebra Mildliners, which is a student-favorite for its ease of use and range of colors.
And remember to use colors that stick with you. For example, if you usually highlight vocab words in yellow, don’t suddenly underline it in pink.
Always Review Your Notes
Notes are there for a reason. Especially hand-written notes.
If you wrote good notes, they’ll be incredibly helpful when you go back and review it for a test because you wrote it in your own style.
If you actively tried to make connections between the information you were taking notes of (rather than just writing words down without thinking about them), looking back on your notes will help you reactivate all the thinking you did.
This will get more important as you take harder and harder classes because making connections and analyzing deeper information will come up a lot more.
Create Study Plans
You should always create study plans for upcoming tests or big projects. Planning ahead is key to getting things done in time and well done.
You should always keep in mind the following things when making your study plans:
- due date (don’t procrastinate)
- goal score/grade
- group members
- challenging knowledge points (priority)
- easy knowledge points
Keeping these points in mind, create a daily, weekly, or even monthly schedule of study sessions.
Know When You’re Productive
Everyone has “peak hours” during the day. Some are morning workers, others are evening workers. I, for example, am a morning worker. I do most of my heavy work before noon, and finish up the lighter tasks in the afternoon and evenings.
You don’t have to be an early riser to be a morning worker. And you don’t have to be a night owl to be an evening worker.
Find out when you’re most productive during the day and plan out the most difficult or energy-consuming tasks then. This is the best way to getting the most done without burning out.
Never try to study for hours on end. The tops should be about 4 hours. If you try to work yourself for hours and hours without taking a break, you’re going to burn out.
You can use the Pomodoro method, where you study for 25 minutes and relax (physically and mentally) for 5 minutes, and then repeat.
Or you can “customize” your own method. Take into consideration your peak hours and plan out how long you’re going to study for, and how long your breaks are going to be.
Rewrite Knowledge Points
If you’ve ever had to make a study guide or notecard for a test, you may have realized how you never even reference that guide when you’re actually taking the test.
This is because when you’re writing down that information, your brain is going over it and imprinting it in your head.
By rewriting the knowledge points, you’re building up the knowledge and actually memorizing it.
My pro tip: create a study guide or reference notecard even if you’re not required by your teacher. Write down all the things you know you’re having trouble remembering on that notecard, and you’ll see that it’s no longer that difficult to recall!
I’ve always discovered that after teaching someone a topic (or even just telling them the information), I find faults in my own reasoning or understanding, and am able to later improve that.
Even if you’re not uncovering the mistakes, you’re going through the information and strengthening it. It’s almost as if you’re brushing your hair (stick with me here..)
When you’re brushing your hair, you can come across some knots. You can then unknot those knots (straightening out the mistakes you found in your thinking!).
Other times, your hair is perfectly fine. But just by brushing it, you’re taking care of it and strengthening it.
So next time you find some weak spots, try teaching it to someone!
Use Quality Resources
And by quality, I mean quality. Don’t find some random middle schooler’s Reddit account and take their advice. Especially not about tests (ahem online AP testing TikTok accounts?).
Of course, the Internet has many resources. Some of them are good, and others are not that great.
If you’re searching for answers, make sure to visit credible sources. I think Wikipedia is perfectly fine. Especially with historical information or people, Wikipedia is actually my go-to source.
I do recommend double-checking (or fact-checking) everything you read online.
Find A Study Group
Your friends are literally your best friends when it comes to studying.
Especially when you start taking AP classes, the discussion is super important. When I took AP World History in my sophomore year, study groups were super important in helping in smooth out the bumps and fill in the holes.
Find a couple of friends (I suggest anywhere from 2-9) and form a study group. You can schedule study sessions before every test, essay, or big project. Prepare some snacks, books, and notes, and get grinding!
Seriously. Don’t do it. Remember creating our study plan? That doesn’t really work when you procrastinate until the last minute.
Even if you think you work great “under pressure”, don’t procrastinate. Working under pressure is not the same as working in a limited time. Waiting until the last day to do all your work is not going to turn out well.
As a high schooler, classes can seem difficult (trust me, I know). But find out the best ways to study, and you’ll do great!
I hope you found some helpful tips for your upcoming classes! If you’re looking for more. check out these related posts.