Study Tips for Teens

Many teens, like many adults, don’t understand about time management. They struggle to meet their daily obligations – time with family and friends, homework, extracurricular activities and possibly after-school jobs. They’re looking for smart ways of organizing their study time to get maximum results.

If you’re like most teens who struggle with studying effectively, chances are you have poor study skills. You may waste time instead of use it wisely. You’re also likely to have low or failing grades and are frustrated because you want to do better. Don’t lose hope; you can learn how to organize and maximize the time you study.

There’s an old saying, “He who fails to plan, plans to fail.” In other words, if you don’t have a plan of when and how long you will study, you’re not likely to study effectively. What can you do to plan to study? Develop a schedule that will suit you. Don’t try to use someone else’s schedule; it may not be a good fit.

Remember that schedules are a guide and are subject to change. Make revisions to the schedule until you have created something that you’re happy with. Be sure to include everything in your schedule – classes, lectures, labs and extracurricular activities. Part-time jobs if have one, family time, religious meetings if applicable and set doctor appointments would also be added to the schedule. Pay attention to the “free” time you have but don’t forget that you have to sleep.

When you have free time, hopefully in one-hour blocks, use that time to study. It is also helpful if you study while you’re alert and rested. If you’re caught waiting until you’re about to go into class to study, you’re not likely to remember much.

Try to find a quiet, out-of-the-way place to study. Limit distractions such as television and cell phones. You’ll also want to be comfortable (but not so comfortable you fall asleep) and have ample light.

Use the SQ3R method – survey, question, read, recite and review. Get an overall picture of what you’re studying. Ask questions about the subject. Remember the 5 Ws and an H – who, what, when, why, where and how – to help you make sense of the material. If answering the questions helps you understand a subject better, you’re more likely to remember it. Write your questions down so you’ll be able to answer them.

Read actively so you can answer the questions you’ve compiled. Pay attention to underlined or bold text while you’re reading. Don’t forget to read the tables, graphs or text under illustrations. Take notes, write legibly and keep all of your notes in one place.

Recite what you’ve read to enable you to recall what you’ve read. Rephrase the points of text and you’ll be more likely to remember. This may help you when quizzes or tests are given.

Review what you’ve read, your questions and the important points of the lesson. Reread the lesson as well as notes you’ve taken to enable you to clarify what you’re still unsure of or don’t understand. Review well before the test is given and periodically leading up to it to help you recall what you’ve learned.

When it comes time to take your test, be sure to read all directions before answering any questions. Make sure you mark the test clearly. Answer the easier questions first and then move onto the more difficult questions. You’ll also want to pay attention to key words or phrases to help you answer true and false questions. Use the process of elimination when answering multiple choice questions. When it comes to essay questions, jot down a short outline of what you want to cover and then answer the question directly.

It is possible to learn effective study habits if you’re willing to work at it. You can organize your free time and use it wisely. Once you understand how to study properly, you’ll soon see your grades increase and your frustration level decrease.

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