Know the truth — high school is now all about endurance; no longer can you coast by. With competition for high-demand courses and tuition fees in colleges rising, and consequently scholarships becoming more and more of a necessity, it’s time to face the facts: you’ll need to do well in high school to get the college admission you want and scholarship you need.
- Do very careful research to find out exactly which classes you should enroll for. Read the class descriptions. Talk to other students about the class. Try not to be in a class just because a friend is in there(very distracting) wont help you.Try to take a look at the textbooks of various subjects to decide which one is right for you, also keeping in mind the subjects necessary to pursue your intended career. This could be one of the most important decisions you will make in your life!
- Research the best textbooks. Ask your teachers, seniors, consult the Internet. Use several reference books that complement each other. Don’t be afraid of doing difficult problems, give them your best shot.
- Get really good tutors. A good tutor will able to help you understand concepts, make the class fun and set problems which are neither too easy nor too difficult for you. Try to find a class where the best students are just above your level, this will motivate you.
- Prioritize your after-school schedule as much as possible. Continue doing the extra-curricular activities that demonstrate your abilities and commitment, and don’t cut back on all the things you love to do, but allow yourself enough time to study. Exactly how much time depends on your class-load and goals, but strive to keep it within three to 10 hours per day. Studying beyond your abilities can be as bad as studying too little. If you are enrolled for tuition, make sure you have enough time left for self-study (studying by yourself).
- Organize everything; your backpack, your desk, everything. Organize all loose papers and notes. Place notes for every subject in separate 1″ binders. Archive completed homework for every subject in an easily retrievable manner, use topic-wise indexes for quicker access. Use database and flowchart applications to maintain a complete record of your empire of studying. Label each paper clearly with a colored pen: CW for classwork, HW for homework, N for notes. Clear out your backpack. Dump it on the floor, sort everything into piles, then place all necessary papers into the correct binders and throw out what you don’t need.
- Make and maintain a study place. If you don’t have a set study place, make one now. Is your study place organized and clean? Is it well-lit? Is it quiet and well-ventilated? Do you have necessary materials at your fingertips? If so, good! If not, work on it. Store all textbooks, notes etc within reach as well as a computer (desktop/laptop) with Internet access if possible.
- Make and maintain a high standard before moving on: promise yourself, not others, that you’ll keep an acceptable level in tests and complete all homework. Take notice if your marks start falling. Find ways to motivate yourself, convince yourself that you want to get in that elite college more than anything.
- Start studying. The night before every class, read through the material in the book that you predict or have been told will be covered that day. Use review questions at the end of the chapter to make sure you have a basic understanding of it. Write down any questions you have and ask them to the teacher.
- Take Perfect Lecture Notes. A good rule of thumb is to copy down all diagrams as completely as possible and write everything you can in the first go. Ideally you need to write as neat as possible such that you do not waste time re-writing your notes. Too many students choose re-writing their notes as an alternative to studying. Spend time reading, understanding, consolidating and memorizing your notes. Remember, what is in your brain is much more important than what is in your notes.
- Don’t wait for a test to begin studying. Constantly stay in touch with the material you have covered. Once you have finished a chapter, don’t just shelve it. Periodically review the material, do a few of the typical sums. This way you don’t get overworked before tests. When a teacher announces a test in fewer than five days, begin studying for its specifics right away no matter how easy the test is going to be.
- Avoid pulling an all-nighter to study for a test. It does not pay off. It’s OK to stay up late to write essays or complete projects however. Lack of sleep will only hurt you though if you are taking a test or giving a presentation.
- Do the homework. If you just put on some music you enjoy, set a timer and get popping, you’ll eventually finish and be a whole lot happier.
- Do some extra. After you finish your homework, do some difficult problems from good textbooks and problem books. Solve past test papers of reputed exams. Learn some advanced techniques you can apply to solve problems more easily.
- Set limits for yourself. Work as long as you can before you start procrastinating or digressing, then take a five minute break. Set the timer, and don’t break it. Gradually work your way up. If you can already work an hour at a time, go in that direction, and work 50 minutes, take a ten minute breather, and continue working. When you finish a homework subject, no matter what, you’re entitled to a treat before you move on to the next class’s homework. Read the next chapter in an engrossing book, go play some basketball outside, whatever. Just remember to get back to work in time.
- Begin working on long-term projects ASAP. The longer you have, the bigger they are, so estimate it this way: total points possible divided by days given to work on assignment = points per day (round up). 1 point is about 6 minutes of work. For example, if you have a 200 point essay with 1.5 months to work on it, 200/47= 4.25; so you should work on your essay about 25 minutes per day. If you do it this way, you’ll generally finish light years ahead of time, and have the all-important “crunch time” before the essay is due to kick back and relax because you finished early!
- Form a study group with friends. If it’s convenient, meet bi-weekly. Consider aligning classes with friends, but only if you’re sure you’ll be able to get work done, and not just chat.
- Be a creative student. Got a doctor’s appointment? Arrive early and take a small assignment with you.
- Cram as a last resort. This should not be your everyday routine, but if you just have to keep that grade up and you’ve fallen behind on a busy work assignment because you didn’t deal with your time accordingly, don’t just give up. Five minutes before class can be very rewarding. Learn the art of cramming. It helps on essays, homework, busy work, and many other note assignments. However, it does not help you learn.
- Know the syllabus set by your school or relevant board This is like a set of guidelines or outcomes that a student is to learn or be able to do after the period of learning a subject. Your teacher may sometimes provide these guidelines or outcomes, and if they haven’t, be sure to ask for them. That way you know which area (or how big an area) you will be tested on in that subject. Make sure that you follow these guidelines or outcomes when you study for your exams (You will not go wrong on this one). In fact, these guidelines will assist you in knowing “how much” you need to study for a particular test.
- Do extracurricular activities after school. Good grades are an excellent way to impress that certain college but something extra will show that you can do more while maintaining excellent grades.
- If you are athletic, consider joining a sports team that you are particularly talented in. Try out every year for the team to establish a reputation within your high school.
- If you lack certain skills required to join your high school’s sports team, then simply join a club. Join any club you are interested in or have a good background knowledge in. IE: If you are great in Spanish, then join the Spanish Club. If you’re good at music, join something music related.
- If you seem to have too little time for independent study and have to bunk school, then do it only on days when you have unimportant classes, bad teachers, off-periods, etc, and only do it to give yourself valuable time to study on your own. If you’re skipping school to play, you’ll regret it later. Call your teachers immediately after school, get your assignments, and prepare/do as much as possible.
- Remember: Work before play. Once you get into the habit of rigid study and keep at it, it will become easier to finish early, thus making your study schedule not only simpler, but more flexible!
- Play is so much sweeter when work is finished!
- Be on time, always!
- Exercise daily. Exercise brings up endorphin levels, and keeps you in overall good health.
- When you have major end-of-year tests, make sure you have a timetable for revision, which lets you revise each subject at least 3 times. This can be in 3 different ways, but your 1st revision should always take longer than your 2nd, and your 2nd longer than your 3rd. One good method is to make notes of all your subject material for your first revision (don’t just copy word for word from your classwork) and then use these to revise later on, that way, your revision will be more concise and organized.
- When doing any sort of work that will be submitted, be it homework or other, have it edited. Make sure it is both neat and correct.
- Don’t understand the material? Read through the book, do some exercises on your own, then consult the teacher, or get a tutor.
- If you’re studying a language (which you definitely should be), practice it as often as possible. Mentally review words in your head when you can zone out, like in PE, or if possible, speak your studied language at home (chances are you have a native-speaker to practice with in your friends circle).
- If you feel like saying “Nuts to this!” and going off to play, mentally recount how much work you have to do and about how long you think it will take under the worst possible circumstances. If it’s possible to actually fit in a few hours of hardcore gaming, great!–just do it after the homework.
- Get plenty of rest every night. Teens need more sleep than adults, so 9 hours are healthy and 8 is a minimum. Getting 7 hours of sleep or less has been proven to be unhealthy. Don’t destroy your health trying to get better marks; it does not pay off in the long run.
- Take a few short naps if you feel the urge. They’re incredibly refreshing. However, if you begin a REM cycle, it will just tire you even more, so keep naps to about 15 minutes.
- Don’t lose hope. If you’re having a panic attack or the like because of overwhelming amounts of pressure and work, take a 10 minute rest, and calm down by breathing deeply and switching your focus. Hysterical crying solves nothing, but it’s good to get the frustration out of your system.
- If it is financially necessary for you to work, get a job close to your home, and one that respects the fact that you are still a teenager and need to spend the majority of your time on school work. If you decide to work weeknights, get home with plenty of time to relax and finish your schoolwork before a reasonable hour. Remember that you will spend the rest of your life with a job. High school, when all the work is finished, is also time for you to have fun!
- Wear your nice set of clothes on test day, not your typical daily attire.
- Pay attention to the details. If you don’t like the pen you are writing with, it will diminish your interest in doing homework, at least subconsciously. Unless looking at your educational equipment gives you a sense of satisfaction, something must be wrong. Work to correct it.
- It really comes down to 3 basic rules:
- Keep quiet in classes except to ask questions,
- Pay attention to what is being taught,
- Do the homework and then some.
- If you feel so ill-prepared for something that you must cheat, don’t, instead, act like you are going to. Put everything you need to ace the test on paper, then memorize it. It makes the studying much easier.
- If you have an exam or a test, make sure to get plenty of sleep the night before.
- It’s best if you have an idea about your aptitudes and interests so you can choose a career. Don’t choose something you don’t like just because the jobs are good, it won’t pay.
- Don’t try to be too perfect. By setting unrealistic expectations for yourself, you’ll only hinder your own chances of achieving them.
- High school retains its traditional status as the place where kids do much of the socio-emotional experimentation required to become young adults. Neglecting this other sort of “work” to focus solely on studies will leave you alienated from your surrounding culture as you enter college.
- Before committing your life to doing perfectly in high school “to get into a great college”, consider whether this is really your goal, your parents’, or someone else’s. If it is genuinely your sole dream to go to that name brand university, then by all means, go for it. If it is not, remember that this is your life, not preparation for life: do well in your studies, but be yourself and follow your own dreams.
Things You’ll Need
- Enrollment in a High School (or Middle School)
- A study area
- Equipments of education (paper, books, pens etc)
- Amazing self-control
- How to Excel As a Student in England
- How to Pass All Your GCSE’s
- How to Ace Your Next Test
- How to Throw a Graduation Party
- How to Take Perfect Lecture Notes
- How to Study Better
- How to Create Good Study Habits for Exams
- How to Finish Your Homework
- How to Be an All Around Good Student
- How to Do Your Homework on Time if You’re a Procrastinator
Sources and Citations
- give yourself college credit -some examples of college in high school programs
- Prepping for college – a Seattle Times article on how to excel in high school and prepare for college
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