Create A Study / Homework Environment
Creating an appropriate study environment is very important. Find a space at home that you use ONLY for school work!
Check out the tips below to make your studying easier J
· Make sure your space is QUIET – You should feel comfortable and be able to fully concentrate on your work without any distractions. That means putting your cell phone in another room while you study!
· Stock up on supplies – Make sure you have pens, pencils, paper, index cards, etc.
· Have good light – Make sure your study space is bright enough so you can stay alert while you are working.
· Daily Planner – Make sure you have your assignment pad on your desk so you can see what work you must complete.
· Large Calendar – It is a good idea to have a large calendar on the wall to keep track of long term projects and tests.
· Make a to-do list of the tasks that need to be accomplished after school. Your agenda pad should serve as your source. Try to always keep your agenda pad up to date. If you have missed writing down an assignment check teachers’ websites or check with a classmate.
· Larger projects should be broken down into smaller more manageable parts.
o Set deadlines and due dates.
o Stick to those deadlines and check in with teachers as needed.
· Begin with hardest assignment or subjects and finish with easiest.
o Do not procrastinate starting your homework.
· Set a time limit for each task. Take short breaks between tasks.
· Working in 20 to 30 minute intervals with 3 to 5 minute breaks may work best.
· On nights with little overnight homework make sure to allow time for long term projects.
· Check off tasks as they are accomplished.
· Utilize your weekends for long-term projects and to review your progress in each subject. Plan for the upcoming week (for example reading an assigned book: Monday - read chapter one, Tuesday – read chapters 2 and 3 (short chapters), etc.)
· For some students using a homework folder works well. That way as you complete each piece of homework it automatically goes into the folder and the folder is put in your backpack or binder when all tasks are completed.
1. Keep your Locker organized. Once a week spend time cleaning out old papers and keeping materials in order.
2. Organize your agenda and use it daily. When you complete your homework, remember to check off each item you complete in your agenda.
3. Organize your assignments to return to school the next day.
4. Organize and utilize a homework folder/binder system that is effective for you. Use it daily and work at keeping all school materials organized. Remember, this should be done several times a week.
Plan for Long Term Assignments
It is important to start planning for long term projects and tests as soon as they are assigned by your teacher. The following sheets will assist you in making sure you leave enough time to get all of your work completed.
· Fill in your assignment description on the sheet labeled “Long Term Task List” – This should be done at home on the same day that a project or test is announced by the teacher
· Fill in the due date on the Long Term Planning Calendar
· Block out days that you are already busy (for instance if you have a sports game or will be away with family)
· Complete the task list needed to complete your assignment – This involves breaking the project down into smaller tasks. For a test it means listing the different areas that you must study.
· Indicate how long it will take to complete each task (One day, two days, etc.)
· Fit your tasks into your calendar with enough time for each task.
Long Term Task List
ORDER To Be Completed
Days Needed to Complete
Long Term Planning Calendar
REMEMBER . . .
· Link whatever you’re trying to learn with what you already know
· Use mnemonics that work for you
· Colors, shapes, placement and pictures are important to your memory
· Make your memorizing methods organized
· Make remembering a habit
· Break up material into small units and review daily
· Review your class-notes daily to reinforce your memory
· Review each day for 10 minutes
· Continually quiz yourself
· Continue to review even after you know the information
· Use the buddy system – find another student in your class with whom to discuss the material
· Compliment yourself on working well!
MAKE REMEMBERING A HABIT . . . . PRACTICE!
Organize mental maps from known information; then fill in missing information: main ideas, details categories/parts, diagram labels.
A visual cycle of pictures and/or words; cause/effect, linking systems, sequencing
Let the first letter of each word in a sentence represent the first letter of the words/list you wish to memorize; Lists, sequencing
Use the meaning of one word to associate with another: definitions, pairs
Poems, Rhymes, Nonsense Verses, Lyrics
Using a familiar tune, substitute information to be learned: details, sequencing
Make up a sentence using the first letter of each word: sequencing, lists
Make a Tape
Make a tape recording of information to be learned: vocabulary, foreign languages, spelling lists, sequences, almost anything
Play it repeatedly over several days. Play it just before sleeping at night.
Write information repeatedly and say it aloud as you write: almost anything
Write the numbers to be remembered; sequences
Note a special sequence and associate it with some familiar date.
If you had number 21, 764
2 17 64
Mo day year
The best way to remember poetry is to break it into small, meaningful sections
Remember the story.
Practice the meter/rhythm
Visualize how you see or expect to see a total picture: diagrams
Close your eyes and visualize and X-ray view of the skeleton from the head down (skeletal labeling)
Create and Experience
Mentally and visually create/recall and experience and link information to be learned with what you do: sequences, details
Imagine yourself making cookies, building a bookshelf, etc. Step by step. Plug information to be learned into each step.
Most of us have a predominant learning style. To find out yours there are a number of assessments that are available for free. Here are a few online resources:
What’s Your Learning Style?
· Needs to see it to know it
· Strong sense of color
· May have artistic ability
· Difficulty with spoken directions
· Trouble following lectures
· Use graphics to reinforce learning; films, slides, illustrations, diagrams, doodles
· Color coding to organize notes and materials
· Written directions
· Use flow charts and diagrams when taking notes
· Visualizing spelling of words or facts to be memorized
· Prefers to get information by listening
· Difficulty following written directions
· Difficulty with reading
· Problems with writing
· Use tapes for reading and for class and lecture notes
· Learning by participating in discussions
· Read questions or directions aloud
· Prefers hand-on learning
· Can assemble parts without reading directions
· Difficulty sitting still
· Learns better when physical activity is involved
· May be very well-coordinated and have athletic ability
· Experiential learning (making models, doing lab work and role playing)
· Re-writing letters and words to learn spelling and remember facts
· Use of computer to reinforce learning
· Memorizing or drilling while walking
Suggested Aids For Learning Modalities
Use these aids to sharpen your particular dominant learning modality or to strengthen a weaker one. Try to be aware of the different activities you do daily to help with all three of your modalities.
Use guided imagery
Pace/walk as you study
Form picture in your mind
Listen to music
Make up rhymes/poems
See parts of words
Use “cue” words
Talk to yourself
Repeat things orally
Associate feelings with concept/information
Use color codes
Use rhythmic sounds
Write list repeatedly
Use charts, graphs
Use mnemonics (word links, rhymes, poems, lyrics)
Use oral directions
Sound out words
Use mnemonics (word links, rhymes, poems, lyrics)
Use mnemonics (acronyms, visual chains, mind maps, acrostics)
Strategies for Taking Tests
Multiple Choice Questions
1. Read the question carefully.
2. Make sure you know what they are looking for.
3. If you know the answer, mark it and go on to the next one.
4. Cross out answers that are wrong.
1. Usually there are more true answers than false on most tests.
2. If there is no guessing penalty, then guess. You have a 50% chance of getting the correct answer.
3. Read through each statement carefully, and pay attention to the qualifiers and keywords.
4. Qualifiers like "never, always, and every mean that the statement must be true all of the time. Usually these type of qualifiers lead to a false answer.
5. Qualifiers like "usually, sometimes, and generally" mean that if the statement can be considered true or false depending on the circumstances. Usually these type of qualifiers lead to an answer of true.
6. If any part of the question is false, then the entire statement is false but just because part of a statement is true doesn't necessarily make the entire statement true.
Fill In The Blank Questions
1. Read over your class notes and underline new terms, important dates, noteworthy phrases, and the names of key people.
2. Put parentheses around the sentence that contains your key word or phrase.
3. Copy each sentence onto a clean sheet of paper, leaving out the key word or phrase.
4. Leave a blank space where they key word or phrase should go.
5. At the bottom of the paper containing your sentence, make a list of the key words and phrases.
6. Read over your sentences and attempt to fill in the blanks with correct answers in very light pencil. Consult your notes when necessary.
7. Erase your work and continue this process until you can answer all your fill-in questions with ease.
8. For insurance, read through the relevant chapters in your text to find any words or phrases you didn't find in your notes.
9. Go through the same process of copying sentences and filling in the answers until they all come easily.
Short Answer and Essay
Read the directions carefully. Pay close attention to whether you are supposed to answer all the essays or only a specified amount (i.e. "Answer 2 out of the 3 questions).
1. Make sure that you understand what the question is asking you. If you're not, ask your instructor.
2. Make sure that you write down everything that is asked of you and more. The more details and facts that you write down, the higher your grade is going to be.
3. Budget your time, don't spend the entire test time on one essay.
4. If the question is asking for facts, don't give your personal opinion on the topic.
5. When writing your essay, try to be as neat as possible, neater papers usually receive higher marks.
6. Make an outline before writing your essay. This way your essay will be more organized and fluid. If you happen to run out of time, most instructors will give you partial credit for the ideas that you have outlined.
7. Don't write long introductions and conclusions, the bulk of your time should be spent on answering the question(s) asked.
8. Focus on one main idea per paragraph.
9. If you have time left at the end, proofread your work and correct any errors.
10. Budget your time. If you have an hour to write 3 essays, spend no more than 20 minutes on each essay, then if you have time left over at the end go back and finish any incomplete essays.
11. If you aren't sure about an exact date or number, use approximations i.e. "Approximately 5000" or "In the late 17th century."
12. If you make a mistake, simply draw a line through it, it is much neater and quicker than erasing it.
Strategies to Reduce Test Taking Anxiety
1. Being well prepared for the test is the best way to reduce test taking anxiety.
2. Space out your studying over a few days or weeks and continually review class material. Don't try to learn everything the night before.
3. Try to maintain a positive attitude while preparing for the test and during the test.
4. Exercising for a few days before the test will help reduce stress.
5. Get a good night's sleep before the test.
6. Show up to class early so you won't have to worry about being late.
7. Stay relaxed, if you begin to get nervous take a few deep breaths slowly to relax yourself and then get back to work.
8. Read the directions slowly and carefully.
9. If you don't understand the directions on the test, ask the teacher to explain it to you.
10. Skim through the test so that you have a good idea how to pace yourself.
11. Write down important formulas, facts, definitions and/or keywords in the margin first so you won't worry about forgetting them.
12. Do the simple questions first to help build up your confidence for the harder questions.
13. Don't worry about how fast other people finish their test; just concentrate on your own test.
14. If you don't know a question skip it for the time being (come back to it later if you have time), and remember that you don't have to always get every question right to do well on the test.
15. Focus on the question at hand. Don't let your mind wander on other things.
When you take notes, you will save time and energy by using abbreviations.
The following list shows some common abbreviations.
If you are in a class that uses a specific word over and over, such as Civil
War in American History, it may be helpful to make up your own
For example, you could use CW.
The most important thing is if you make up abbreviations ensure that you
remember what they mean.
Equal: = Department: dept.
With: w/ Compare: cf
Without: w/o For example: e.g.
Number: # Against: vs.
At: @ Introduction: intro.
And: + Organization: org.
And so forth: etc. Politics: pol