High School Study Tips

When you’re in the midst of high school, it can be hard to look toward the future and college when you have five or so exams to study for.

But studying hard for these exams will surely pay off with a great grade point average that you’ll be able to show off to prospective colleges.

In 2010, “The New York Times” published an article titled “Forget What You Know About Good Students” by Benedict Carey. The article delves into various effective ways of learning.

According to the article, cognitive scientists have shown that what a student learns from studying can be improved based on simple techniques.

One area of the article I especially liked was the following:

“Cognitive scientists do not deny that honest-to-goodness cramming can lead to a better grade on a given exam. But hurriedly jam-packing a brain is akin to speed-packing a cheap suitcase, as most students quickly learn — it holds its new load for a while, then most everything falls out.”

In order to avoid this “falling out,” I highly recommend not saving everything you have to study for the last minute. I’m definitely guilty of procrastinating, but ultimately I know that if I plan ahead and make sure to give myself ample time to study before an exam, I’ll not only go into the test with more confidence, but I’ll also likely be leaving with a better grade.

Here are some tips that will hopefully help ace that next test.

Take good notes — and review them!

This is probably the most important of all. If you don’t have thorough notes, the amount and quality of your studying will falter. Be sure you’re taking good notes when you’re in class. Pull out a pen or pencil and write, write, write!

In college I’ve gone back and forth between typing notes in class on my laptop or writing them. While typing is faster, writing down things word for word helps it stick better in my brain. Find out what works for you and take notes you’ll be able to study from effectively!

Study in a group or with a partner

This tip (and the next one) are ultimately a personal preference depending on what works for you.

Studying in a group definitely has its perks. While it may be distracting to study with friends, they might have taken notes on something you missed during class and vice versa. You could both be helping each other out in this sense.

Also, if you guys engage in discussion on the subject matter, maybe they have an easier way of explaining a topic you were a little fuzzy on — another great reason why studying in a group can be effective.

Study alone

While I like to study in a group for the reasons above, I find that I can buckle down and get more work done if I study alone. This often means me in my room, at my desk, surrounded by a notebook full of notes and textbooks galore. Though, studying in this setting almost makes me less motivated since it’s just me trying to crank out those flashcards or study guides. But if I set my mind to what I need to get done, I know I’ll be productive.

Ultimately, studying in a group versus studying alone is up to you. Both have their pros and cons, so find which better suits you and go with that. Or, if you’re like me, change it up and do both!

Find your study spot

Everyone has their own personal preference of where to study. Some might find their bedroom a conducive place to study while others may prefer a library or coffee shop. Personally, I like to float between all of those options. I’m not the biggest fan of the library, but on the rare occasion I find myself at my campus library, I manage to get a lot done.

Coffee shops are also a great place to work on that next research paper of yours. For one, there’s coffee. For another, the atmosphere is great. It’s nice to be able to get out of your usual bedroom.

Last quarter I took a psychology class and learned that apparently, you retain more information (and therefore learn more) if you study in the environment where you originally learned the material. So if you learned something in a classroom, your best bet would be to study in that same classroom — and better yet, in the same seat all quarter long.

Whatever study spot you choose, make sure you’ll be able to get a lot of work done.

Set goals

Setting goals helps create motivation. I often find myself very unmotivated when it comes to studying — which is a bad thing. Unless, however, I set goals for myself. Whether it be going through a chapter of a book and then allowing myself to take a five-minute break or reading through half of my notes and getting on Facebook for just a quick five minutes, setting goals can really help me get work done overall.

Sleep, stay hydrated and snack

It’s important to stay energized while you study. You don’t want to end up falling asleep on top of your notes! Make sure to have some snacks or water handy when you’re studying.

A good night’s rest will also help, making you more alert when you’re studying. As most have heard, getting enough hours of sleep the night before a test will help you the next day.

Happy studying!

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Kassi Luja

Kassi Luja

Kassi Luja is a junior at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo pursuing a degree in journalism with a concentration in news-editorial. At school, she can often be found in the Mustang Daily newsroom where she works as a copy editor. Outside of school, she enjoys reading, listening to music and spending time with family and friends.
Kassi Luja

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