10 Study Tips for Middle School and High School Students
It is the beginning of a new school year and you are probably starting your first year of middle school or high school. Everything is going great, and then your teacher announces the date of your first test. Now you’re in panic mode because you have no clue how to study for a test in middle school or how to study for a test in high school! Can I use the same techniques? Are the tests harder? Well I've got good news for you girl gang! Studying for tests and developing good study habits are something that you’ll learn and continue to develop as you get older. Here are some effective study tips to help you through the school year, whether you've just started middle school or high school.
1. Create a Study Schedule
Since we’ve just started the new school year, this is a great time to take out your planner and record all your due dates and tests. If you don’t have specific dates yet, you can track your assignment and exam dates monthly or weekly. You can do this in your planner, on your phone, or using an app like myHomework planner .Tracking your due dates will make it easier to schedule your study sessions among your other responsibilities. When scheduling your study sessions, plan them across several days instead of one or two days before a test.
2. Assign a Designated Study SpaceI know it can be tempting to have all your study sessions in your room on your cozy bed. But your study space should be somewhere that is clean, comfortable, free of distractions, and has good lighting. When you're organizing your study space, try to include a comfortable seat, a clock, and a desk lamp. Adding cute decor that helps boost your mood are also great motivation for your study sessions. These items can be a scented candle, inspirational quotes, or cute stationery. If you are more of a tech lover, organize your desktop with a desktop screensaver from Pinterest or customize one from Canva.
3. Identify Your Learning Style
Before you start studying, it is important to discover your learning style to understand how you learn and remember information. Once you’re familiar with your learning style, you can include the study methods that work best for your learning style into your study sessions. There are four main types of learning styles: visual, auditory, reading/writing, and kinaesthetic. Some students learn best using one type of learning style, while other students learn using a combination of different learning styles.
- Visual learners: learn best by using colourful notes, images, diagrams, and illustrations.
- Auditory learners: learn best by reading their notes out loud and using mnemonics or rhymes.
- Reading/Writing learners: learn best by reading their notes or textbooks and rewriting their notes.
- Kinaesthetic learners: learn best by standing up, walking around, or chewing gum while they study.
4. Create Your Study Notes
When creating your study notes, it is important to write them in your own words so they are easier to understand and memorize. A great way to organize your study material is by creating a cheat sheet or summary page for each topic or chapter.
5. Choose Your Study Methods
There are many study methods that you can use when studying for a test. The study method you choose can depend on the subject you're studying for and your learning style. If you have a math test, you'll complete practice problems and revise your notes. If you are studying for a history test, you'll use flashcards to memorize dates and definitions. What’s important is finding the study method that works for you regardless of the type of test. The following study methods are some other techniques you can try when studying for your tests.
A mind map is a visual layout of topics that you can create to summarize important concepts. Mind maps are effective for visual learners because it's a visual form of note-taking that helps you understand how concepts are related. You can create mind maps by hand with a piece of paper and writing materials or you can create a digital one on Canva. When creating your mind map, write the topic in the middle and use arrows to show the connections. You can also add details to your mind map by including shapes, symbols, and colours.
Flashcards are a useful technique for kinaesthetic learners that involves memorizing concepts by using repetition. Flashcards are convenient for memorizing formulas, vocabulary words, facts, and definitions. They are also a preferred study method because you can keep them in your bag and study anywhere. You can create study decks using physical flashcards or you can create a digital deck using Quizlet. During your study session, flashcards will be grouped into cards you know and cards you don't know well. Each study session will consist of the cards you don't know well until you've learned all the cards in the deck.
Teaching your study material to someone else is a great way to test your knowledge and understanding. When you teach the material to someone else, you can determine whether you are explaining the concepts using your own words and examples. This method is effective for auditory learners because you are saying the material out loud. A great way to teach the material is by explaining it to someone who has no knowledge of the topic, such as a younger sibling or parent.
Practice tests are effective for subjects like math, science, or languages. Completing the practice problems and quizzes from your textbook are a great way to prepare for these tests. Another way you can study for a test is by creating your own practice tests. Kahoot is a fun tool to create your own quizzes on a topic and test yourself or your friends!
For the reading/writing learners, the writing method is the study technique for you. The writing method involves writing down everything you know on a topic. When you review your notes, fill in everything you're missing. Then you repeat another session of writing what you know, until you've learned all the study material. Another way you can use this method is by writing summaries of the material then highlighting or rereading the summaries.
This method will make you excited to study because it involves rewarding yourself with a treat when you meet your study goals. The treating method is completed by placing a small candy (e.g. gummy bear) at the end of each page of your notes or textbook as motivation to continue to the next page. However, for this method to be successful, you should only reward yourself with candy when you're studying. Alternatively, your reward can also be a nap or watching an episode of a Netflix series. Another way you can use this method is by reading a paragraph and trying to repeat the material you need to remember. If you recall the information correctly, you can reward yourself with a treat.
6. Eat Healthy Snacks
Staying hydrated and consuming healthy snacks are essential to a successful study session.The foods you eat when you study can affect your focus and energy levels. When studying, it is recommended to drink water and eat snacks such as almonds, dark chocolate, fruits, yogurt, and popcorn. To stay focused, you’ll want to avoid caffeine and foods high in sugar.
7. Take Timed Breaks
During your study sessions, it is important to include timed breaks to avoid burnout and remain focused. A great technique is the Pomodoro method which involves studying in shorter intervals of 25 minutes and taking a 5 - 10 minute break. After your fourth session, take a 25-minute break. There are great tools that use the Pomodoro method that you can use on your phone or computer. This method is great especially for those of you who have a short attention span. When you take your breaks, avoid using your phone or surfing the web. Try to move your body, take a walk, go to the bathroom, or practice that new TikTok dance you just learned.
8. Create a Study Playlist
Music can be a great study buddy to motivate us during our study sessions. When choosing a study playlist, you'll want to avoid music that has vocals and choose instrumentals. Youtube has tons of playlists to fuel your study sessions. If you are a Harry Potter fan you can study like a Hogwarts student with these ambient playlists. If you want a break from music, you can use the relaxing sounds from a window anywhere in the world with Window Swap.
9. Find a Study Buddy/Study Group
Inviting a friend or group of friends to your study session is a great way to test each other and discuss the material. You could divide the material among each other and create your own quizzes in Kahoot. Your study group could also use the teaching method and each take turns to teach a different concept to the group.
10. Stress Management
Studying for a test can cause a lot of stress and anxiety, especially when we have a busy schedule or have fallen behind in our study schedules. Practicing stress management and breaking your study sessions into manageable chunks are a great way to reduce your stress and catch up with your study schedule. If you’ve become tired and need to take a nap during a study session, a 15 minute nap can help you feel refreshed and energized to continue studying. Avoid cramming for a test the night before because it can increase stress and anxiety which will make it harder for you to focus and remember information.
Now that you've learned some great study tips, you can add them to your study routine. If you already have study techniques and a routine that works for you, you can always stick to your routine. If you like incorporating different study techniques, ask your teacher, parent, or an older sibling to share their best study tips and you'll be ready for that upcoming test. Good luck and happy studying girl gang!