Now is the time to break out of your same-old homework habits. Try these study tips and get the brain boost you need for back to school.
1. You don’t need ONE study space.
A well-stocked desk in a quiet place at home is key, but sometimes you need variety. Coffee shops, libraries, parks, or even just moving to the kitchen table will give you a change of scenery which can prompt your brain to retain information better.
2. Track more than HW in your school planner.
Keeping a calendar helps you plan ahead—but you’ve got more going on than just homework assignments! Make sure you’re marking your extracurricular, work, and social commitments, too. (Tests, band practice, away games, SAT dates, half-days and holidays are just a few examples of reminders for your planner.)
3. Start small.
If you’ve got a big assignment looming, like a research paper, stay motivated by completing a piece of the project every few days. Write one paragraph each night. Or, do 5 algebra problems from your problem set at a time, and then take a break.
4. School supplies (alone) don’t make you organized.
Come up with a system and keep to it. Do you keep one big binder for all your classes with color-coded tabs? Or do you prefer to keep separate notebooks and a folder for handouts? Keep the system simple—if it’s too fancy or complicated, you are less likely to keep it up everyday.
6. Get into a routine.
When will you make the time to do your homework every day? Find the time of day that works best for you (this can change day-to-day, depending on your schedule!), and make a plan to hit the books.
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6. Learn how to create a distraction-free zone.
A study on workplace distractions found that it takes workers an average of 25 minutes to return to what they were working on pre-interruption. Try turning off your phone notifications or blocking Twitter (temporarily) on your computer so you can concentrate on the homework tasks at hand.
7. Get real.
When you’re looking at the homework you have to get done tonight, be realistic about how long things actually take. Gauging that reading a history chapter will take an hour and writing a response will take another 30 minutes will help you plan how you spend your time.
8. Use class time wisely.
Is your teacher finished lecturing, but you still have 10 minutes of class left? Get a jump on your chemistry homework while it’s still fresh in your mind. Or use the time to ask your teacher about concepts that were fuzzy the first time.
9. Look over your notes each night to make sure you’ve got it.
Fill in details, edit the parts that don’t make sense, and star or highlight the bits of information that you know are most important. Interacting with your notes will help you remember them. You can also use Homework Help to get your questions answered 24/7.
10. Study a little every day.
Cramming Spanish vocabulary for a quiz might work in the short-term, but when comes time to study for midterms, you’ll be back at square 1. You might remember the vocab list long enough to ace the quiz, but reviewing the terms later will help you store them for the long haul.
11. Don’t let a bad grade keep you down.
A rough start to the semester doesn’t have to sink your GPA. Take proactive steps by checking your grades regularly online and getting a tutor if you need one.
12. Make a friend in every class.
Find a few people you can contact from each of your classes if you have a homework question or had to miss class (and do the same for them!). Then when it comes time to study for exams, you’ll already have a study group.
This article first appeared on the blog for proud Golden Key partner The Princeton Review.
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