With the end of summer bringing the beginning of another school year, many students may find themselves still in “vacation-mode” once the new school year rolls around.
Students (and worried parents) take heed – there’s a better way to ease into a new school year! Just take a look at these 9 back-to-school study tips and tricks to help make the start of the school year a little easier.
1. Have the right supplies
The right supplies can mean the difference between starting the school year prepared, and having to borrow a piece of paper and pencil on the first day of class. Make sure you have all the right school supplies necessary for all your classes, so that you can start the school year on the right foot.
If you’re the parent of a younger child, make sure you get a copy of your child’s school supplies list and purchase them beforehand.
2. Make a routine
Tasks become much easier when we turn them into a routine. That’s why it’s important to set aside a specific time every day for studying and doing homework. Find which time of day works best for you and make a plan of really devoting that time to your studies. Establish your study routine at the beginning of the school year, and stick to it as much as you can.
3. Take notes effectively
Whether elementary school, high school, university and beyond, effective note-taking is an important part of every student’s life. Use keywords and short sentences, and write your notes in your own words – not necessarily verbatim from your teacher or professor. This will make it easier for you to remember and digest. Use shorthand when possible (like “abt.” for “about”) and use symbols when necessary (like putting an asterisk or star next to an important piece of information).
4. Get organized
When it comes time to study, all that diligent note-taking won’t be of much use if you don’t know where you’ve left your notes – because staying organized is an important part of staying on top of your studies.
Figure out what kind of organization system works for you – do you prefer to keep one big binder for each semester, with separate colour coded tabs? Or do you devote one binder to each course? Do you like to keep a folder for one-pagers and handouts? It’s up to you! No matter your style, make sure to stay organized throughout the school year, so that when test or exam-time comes around, you know exactly where to find all your course material.
5. Eliminate distractions
Creating a distraction-free zone is an important part of studying effectively – you’ll want to eliminate distractions as much as you can, like turning off (or muting) your phone, temporarily blocking social media, and turning off the TV. Your study space should be a quiet place used for studying only – so chose a place that isn’t surrounded by tempting distractions.
6. Study a little every day
Avoid stressful last-minute cramming by studying for large tests and exams a little at a time, every day. That way, you won’t be left trying to absorb a whole semester’s worth of information in just one night.
7. Make use of your agenda
If your school gives out agendas at the start of every year, make sure to put it to good use! Use your agenda as an academic planner of sorts, keeping track of all your deadlines, assignments, study groups, exams and appointments. You can also schedule study time in your agenda, and use it to prioritize tasks.
8. Take breaks
Did you know that the best way to study is to take regular breaks? It’s true! The most effective way to study is in 30-45 minute blocks of time, then taking 5 minute breaks in between study blocks. So make sure you’re taking regular breaks during your study sessions by taking a quick walk, having a healthy snack, or having a stretch.
9. Maintain a healthy diet and sleep schedule
A successful school year relies on a healthy diet and a proper sleep schedule – you simply can’t study properly without recharging your mind and body with the nutritious food, and the energizing eight or more hours of sleep that it needs. So stay healthy and rested – it makes a world of difference come exam-time.