Published on ADDitudeMag.com
11 Tips for High School Success
High school demands better study skills, time-management tools, and organization skills in order to succeed. Use these tips to master your classes.
by Jill Murphy and Cynthia Enfinger
Use This Note-Taking Strategy
During lectures, start by writing the date and
topic at the top of your notes. Then, use the BROIL system to pick out important ideas:
B=anything the teacher writes on the Board;
R=anything the teacher Repeats;
the teacher mentions will be On the test;
I=anything the teacher says is
L=anything that is in a List.
Review Your Notes Now, Not Later
While taking notes, circle words and ideas that
need clarification. (If you have a 504 accommodation plan, you might be able to get a note-taker to supplement the notes you take in class.) After class, compare your notes with others, and look up
the ideas you circled. Read your notes again in the evening -- reviewing notes on
the day you take them can double the amount of information you retain.
Read with a Plan
When taking notes from a book, start by reviewing the table
of contents, index, caption, and appendix pages for charts, glossary, and
reference pages. Use large sticky notes to summarize pages in books, then post
them on a mirror as a study guide before a test.
Talk to Your Teachers
Discuss with your teacher about how you can modify assignments to ensure success. Discuss classroom accommodations ahead of time (or as you get them), to make sure that you have everything you need to boost your learning curve.
Use the Textbook Supplements
See if there are any supplemental materials
online that complement your textbook. When listening to lectures, write down
any references or resources mentioned by your teacher, and check them out after
class. Get to know the librarian, and talk to her as soon as a long-term
project is assigned.
Create a Game Plan for Big Projects
For larger projects, take a few moments before you begin to
map out a game plan. Include goals, action plans, resources, time allotments,
and time for breaks. If you’re not sure how to approach a project, ask your
teacher for suggestions, and see if you can see samples of finished projects
from former classes.
Teach to Remember
Studies show that, from worst to best, the odds
of retaining information break down in the following way: lecture, 5%
effective; reading, 10%; audiovisual, 20%; demonstration, 30%; discussion, 50%;
practice by doing, 75%; teaching to others, 90%. Find a classmate to teach the
material to and return the favor. Or start a study group, and take turns
teaching to the others.
Stay Ahead of Work
Mark your calendar with completion dates, and
set false deadlines to help you stay ahead. Keep yourself accountable to
others by synching your electronic calendar with your parents’ or study partner’s. Talk to your teacher, and schedule times to show her sections of your work to make sure you
stay on track.
In order to succeed in math, try the following:
>> Keep a file of math concepts and rules, along with specific examples of each.
>> For practice
problems, label each step of the process, and leave space
between the steps so you can see where you went astray.
>> For tests, write
down formulas you think you may need right away, so you don’t forget them
Make Friends with Technology
Take a picture of the lecture notes or assignments on the board
before you leave class. Set alarms on your cell phone, and send yourself
reminder emails or texts with information you need to remember. Use
voice-to-text programs like Dragon Naturally Speaking, Evernote, and Mac
voice-to-text features to expand on concepts in your books or during lectures.
Make Good (Food) Choices
Prep your brain for learning by loading up on
foods rich in protein (to help sustain alertness), omega-3 fatty acids (to
increase brain function and memory), and complex carbohydrates (to avoid blood
sugar spikes and crashes). Even if you’re in a rush, don’t skip breakfast -- eating
breakfast has been linked to better classroom performance, increased
concentration, and improved problem-solving skills.
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