One of the most important things you need to do to excel in school is study. For many students, it can be a challenge to concentrate and absorb the information they are looking at. Luckily, there are some things you can do to both study better and get better grades as a result.
1. Write things down/do examples
Sometimes, your mind may wander when you find yourself looking at a textbook for a long time. A good way to keep yourself engaged is to write things down instead of just looking at them. Writing something engages your brain and keeps you focused on what you're doing. Also, writing information in your own way can make it easier to understand. You can break things down into simpler language or draw arrows to show which topics are connected to others. When it comes to math, sit down and do some examples. This lets you practice while training your mind to remember every step of a problem when test day comes.
2. Take great notes in class
Writing notes helps you study later and remember what was said in class. The notes you take can be a valuable study tool if you take advantage of them. The key is to write the things you're learning in your own words. If you don't understand a part of the lesson, ask a question, and write down the answer in a way you know you'll understand later. Write down observations your teacher or a fellow student makes. Write in the margins, break things into sections, connect a topic to a TV show you like, or draw arrows connecting one topic to another. Anything you can do to make sure that you remember everything later is a good idea.
3. Start early
Waiting until the night before a big test to start studying is the worst thing you can do. Your brain isn't going to remember all of that information. It's important to start studying as early as you can. If your teacher says you have a test on Friday, start Monday or even the weekend before. Set aside an hour or two every day to go over everything, or start right after you finish your homework. By the time you hit test day, you will have a much easier time remembering things. If the subject is a particularly hard one for you, don't be afraid to start two or more weeks in advance. Everyone learns at a different pace, so find yours and stick to it.
4. Test yourself
Holding your own test is a great way to find out what you know by heart and what you need to focus on. You can do this in a number of ways. Give a family member your notes and have them write out questions for you. Study with your friend and take turns asking each other questions. Find a test online, preferably one that tells you the correct answer if you answer incorrectly. Afterwards, study the things that you didn't know twice as hard. Remember not to get frustrated if the results are lower than you thought. The point is to help you see where your weaknesses are, not to be an indicator of whether you'll pass the real test or not. Keep in mind that studying early means you can have more than one test and track your progress as time goes on.
5. Work first, play later/rewarding yourself
As much as you want to relax when you leave school, it is actually a better idea to keep working, whether it's doing homework or studying. The sooner you finish everything you need to do, the sooner you don't have to worry about it anymore. You'll retain more information while your brain is still in 'work mode' than you will after two hours of TV. At the same time, overdoing it isn't good either. To get the best of both worlds, set up a reward system. For example, let's say you've studied for two or three hours. How about an hour of browsing the internet or playing a game? Be careful not to lose track of time. If you know you're bad at keeping yourself to a schedule when you're doing something you enjoy, set an alarm on your phone, or tell a family member to come and get you when time is up. Try to do things that don't require a big time investment, so you can put it down and get back to work when the times comes.