For many people being a good student is about being dedicated and focused, about spending hours hunched over some twenty-pound textbook trying to hammer information into your brain. But who has time for that, and moreover, who wants to sacrifice their personal life just to get an A? So here are a few ideas on how to make school work a bit easier…
Although, there is often little time for studying among other things, it is imperative that when you read something for the first time, that you do it right. As my father tells me, “You have to do things right the first time,” so that when you’ve finished with it, you know you are really done. By taking your time the first time around, you avoid having to revisit information, you increase your chances of remembering the information, and you also make yourself more confident in your understanding of the material, allowing you to better solidify what you’ve just learned.
A big part of understanding what you’re learning is putting your understanding into words, AKA ‘don’t think about it, talk about it’. This is not to suggest that you should merely parrot back whatever you read in a book, or something that your teacher said, but rather what you should be doing is paraphrasing the information. As nerve-wrecking as this may sound, take advantage of this opportunity! So even if your understanding of the material does not match up with that of your teacher, still say what’s on your mind. Being a good student is all about engaging, so if you are able to support your argument or your understanding with valid information, then, even if you’re wrong, you will be able to talk yourself through the process or be able to verbalize your struggles with the material to someone who can help.
More importantly, to get school work done effectively, you must divide and conquer. Whether you are doing some last minute studying, or preparing for a big test weeks in advance, it is important that you focus on the most important information, and then fill yourself in on the details later. By breaking things down for yourself, and then seeing how the details relate to the bigger themes, you can cut down study time significantly.
Okay, now here’s the part for the procrastinators, hey, I don’t judge and those of you with little time of your hands. If you plan on implementing the previous tips into your daily routine, you can couple them up with five minutes of note reviewing before tests to refresh memory, however, if you need more time for studying, don’t fret because I have one more trick up my sleeve. Simply watch a video on the topic you’re studying, and then find websites that give brief explanations of those topics to help you out.
Once you begin to take studying in steps and try to engage in your studies, understanding comes almost naturally. So good luck in your studies, and remember what you will get out of your studies is what you put in, so don’t study harder, but as my mom has just summed up for me, study smarter.