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11 Great Study Skills for High School Students 

Oct 01, 2019
It’s that time of the year again. Your teen is a month or so into classes. The workload is building up, homework time is taking longer, after school activities are taking up time and your teenager may be struggling with how to manage it all.  

At Sylvan Learning Center of Vacaville, we understand that turning a good student into a great student is the direct result of effective study habits. High school is a vital time for your teen to learn these great study skills that can help them not only through secondary, but into college and beyond.

So here are 11 great study skills for your high school student to have a productive school year, and ultimately, to help them succeed in college.

1. Time Management

On top of school, there are sports, extracurricular activities, family, social life, responsibilities, and a million other things that will require attention. High school is the perfect opportunity for your teenager to learn how to prioritize and properly manage their time. Plus, with the advent of technology, noting down important due dates and successfully planning a full day is a thousand times easier. Help your child learn to keep better track of their time in high school and watch the dividends pay off in college. Managing that free time is just as important as managing “busy” time.

2. Organization is Key

Tradition tells us that a planner, or even a journal, can be a valuable tool in organizing assignment due dates, appointments, and general “to do’s”. But as previously mentioned, smartphones and tablets are also a great apparatus to help get the job done in today’s tech driven world. Regardless of which system your teen decides to use, by organizing important dates, they will be better equipped to handle the pressures of high school, and won’t have any problems dealing with the heavy learning curve that secondary school can bring along. Review the planner with your high schooler at both the beginning and end of the day to make sure they are on track.

3. Develop a Study Plan

After organizing and noting down important test dates, students should have a better idea of the month’s layout. Once this information has been gathered, they should create a study plan that will provide them ample time to focus on the various subjects; especially in the area that they can use a little bit more study time. For instance, if math is their best subject, then your teen should spend about 15-20 minutes reviewing notes but if they’re struggling in chemistry, then naturally they’ll want to focus more time in this area. Also, think about utilizing a calendar that can go on the fridge where you can see it daily and help them set tasks for each day leading up to the due date or exam. Setting measurable goals is the key to success.

4. The Study Area

Sure, studying at the local coffee shop with friends while listening to music and trading funny memes might sound like a great studying time for your teenager, but at Sylvan Learning Center, we know better. The best advice we can give you is to have a study area somewhere in the house that is quiet, well lit, and has low-traffic. Your teenager will likely claim that they can only study effectively in front of a TV, listening to some tunes, while texting their friends, but these distractions won’t help them at all. A little classical music is ok, but you might want to do a “communications blackout” policy where no cell phones are allowed until school work is done.

5. Hone Those Note Taking Skills

Note taking and writing are going to be essential skills for students in high school and those transitioning into college. At this level, teachers will likely lecture a good portion of the class, which means your teen will have to be able to decipher the important points from the general information being provided. They should not write every single thing down, but rather, they need to be actively listening to gather the key points. Also, they can compare notes with other students to review and see if they missed out on anything important.

6. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions

In the world of high school, asking a question can be a bit intimidating. But let your teen know that it’s ok to not understand everything and to not be afraid of asking the teacher for help. That’s the reason the teacher is there! Whether it’s a question about the topic being discussed, or uncertainty about a specific project, asking those questions will help to clarify any misunderstandings they may have and can ultimately lead to improved grades.

7. Create a Study Group

Help your teen create a small structured group. In fact, this will not only help with schoolwork, but might even lead to some long lasting friendships. Aside from the teacher, other students in the class can be a great source of information and support. Known as peer-to-peer teaching, this form of support has been shown to help students struggling with a particular concept understand it more readily. Study groups can also enable your teen to complete assignments more quickly than working alone, which can help them with time management.

8. Identify Learning Style

Research has shown that every learner has a unique way of absorbing new information. Visual learners benefit from colorful notes and images, so make sure they’re using those highlighters and colored pencils. Audio learners can benefit from reading notes out loud or using rhymes and mnemonics. Tactile learners are hands on learners and can benefit from a bit of movement when studying. Have them act out whatever book they’re reading, or provide them with some putty while they do their math, so they can release some of that extra physical energy. Remember, everyone is a mixture of these learning styles, but helping your teen to recognize which is their preference can benefit them tremendously.

9. Know the Expectations and Think Positively

By the time your child gets into high school, most teachers will provide them with a course outlines and syllabi. These guides means students shouldn’t be surprised about what the course will cover and how they’ll be graded. If your teen needs some additional clarity have them request some additional information from the teacher, but feel free to step in if the teacher is being a bit undiplomatic.

Also, make sure your teen has the right mindset for success. Encourage them to think positively prior to studying and testing.

10. Active Reading 

Your teen is going to find that high school requires them to understand some difficult readings. Skimming over an assigned chapter is not the way for them to go. Help them practice active reading by asking them to note the main idea of each passage and mark unfamiliar words or concepts. Tell them to make an outline of the chapter, or create flowcharts and diagrams that help map out the concept at hand. After each section, have your teen write a summary in their own words and come up with possible exam questions.

11. Get Some Sleep

Teens think they’re vampires for some reason and want to stay up all night. That is a big no-no. In fact, sleep has been scientifically documented to be a significant factor in affecting a GPA, as well as how teens perform on other tasks such as driving and physical activity. Sleep is necessary and they should be getting the recommended amount.

Sylvan Learning Center of Vacaville is here with you every step of the way. Whether it’s offering essential study skill tips, or providing tutoring support for those tougher subjects, we want to help your teen succeed.

Give us a call today at (707) 450-1006!