When it comes to essential study skills for high school, what do you need to know to be successful? Here are the 5 most important skills, as outlined by tutor Matthew H.:
High school can seem like such a scary place. After all, we often hear that the choices we make in high school will ultimately shape who we become as adults. Major stressors include the pressure to do well so that you’ll get into a good college, so that you will land an even better job. These are understandably important issues to consider, but they seem much less intimidating and much more manageable when you have the right study skills for high school to guide you.
1. Identify what learning style works best for you.
This may seem like a no-brainer, yet many students (regardless of age) are not in tune with how they individually learn best. You could be one of many different types of learners: visual, auditory, reading-based, kinesthetic, and so on. Some people may even be a mix of various styles. The trick is to isolate what works best for you and not confuse it with what you like to do. In other words, you may be an excellent artist, but you retain information better by hearing someone say it first. If you aren’t sure what learning style you fall under, many guidance counselors know of quick tests you can take to determine what works best for you. Also, similar quizzes are available online, although those may not be as accurate.
2. Organize more efficiently.
Organization is super important. In most cases, high schools supply each student with a personal agenda at the beginning of the academic year. You may choose to purchase a larger planner for yourself, especially if you have a ton of extracurriculars on top of different homework assignments due, projects to turn in, presentations to give, and tests to take. Having everything written down in one central location will make it much easier for you to complete all of the necessary tasks in as stress-free a way as possible, and avoid procrastination.
3. Prioritize your time and determine what is essential.
Now that you have an easy-to-follow list of upcoming assignments, rank them in order of importance, difficulty, and due date. For instance, if you have a presentation due the same week as an exam for a different class, factor in how much of each final grade those are worth. If the presentation is 15% of your History grade and the exam is a midterm worth 20% of your Math grade, then maybe dedicate a little more time for the exam. But if you are more confident in math and need to bolster your history grade, then adjust accordingly. Flexibility is an important trait to have!
4. Incorporate your own interests into your studying habits.
Earlier I mentioned the importance of separating your interests from the way you learn in developing good study skills for high school. However, that does not mean you should never consider what you like to do. If you discover that you are a kinesthetic learner but have a passion for music, bridge the two together in some way. This can be as simple as playing your favorite band’s album while studying geography by moving around index cards, or as sophisticated as creating your own music by playing an instrument (specifically one with a lot of tactile contact) to accompany your history project. Be creative!
5. Connect what you’re learning to other subjects.
Don’t think Algebra and foreign language have anything in common? Guess again. Neurological studies have shown that math and language skills are kept relatively close to each other in the same hemisphere of the brain. This is in part due to the importance of the structure of patterns in language similar to those found in diverse math subjects (geometry, probability, etc.). The truth is virtually everything you learn can be connected in some way. Once you draw your own comparisons between different subjects, you will retain the information from both classes much easier.
Perhaps the most important study skill for high school (or for any grade level, really) is the ability to relate to what you are learning. When you can relate to the material on some level, you will be able to apply the concepts in a more effective way. Topics will make more sense and you will feel better about yourself. Use the skills not just in high school, but for the rest of your life!
Matthew H. provides tutoring in various subjects both online and in New Milford, NJ. He recently received his MA from NYU with a background in Sociolinguistics and related research. Learn more about Matthew here!
Photo by UTC Library