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High School Study Skills


Excited about starting high school? You should be! High school is one of the most fantastic experiences of your life! But when it comes to academics, high school sets the stage for college and adulthood. This is the time in your educational experience when you begin to develop and improve upon the skills that you will use in college and in the working world. As you go forward in these important years, you should change your study habits and sharpen your reading and writing skills.

1. Improve Note Taking Skills

To some extent, high school will bring a new challenge for students who learned to rely on handouts and textbooks during middle school. In high school, teachers begin to offer information in the form of lectures. Teachers will introduce ideas, information, and concepts that students won't necessarily find in writing. This means students must learn to take meticulous notes -- or the information will be lost! This skill will become even more critical in college.

2. Prepare for Class Discussions

As you progress into more challenging educational settings, you will notice that your lecturer or teachers will pause upon occasion to ask an open question. This question is answered by a few students, and those students will often come up with very different views. This is the beginning of an important classroom discussion.

Classroom discussions are teacher tools -- discussions are prompted by teachers who want students to acknowledge that there can be very serious opposing views on a particular subject. As you are reading your text and preparing for the next day, write down anything that seems controversial or anything that might deserve a good discussion. Be prepared to discuss further.

When classroom discussions do arise, you should not take a break from taking notes! You should record important points on opposing views. This is the sort of thing that will pay off on your test essay!

3. Learn How to Listen!

One critical skill that doesn't get so much attention is the ability to really listen! You can't take good class notes if you don't know how to pick up on the important concepts and details that will appear on your exams.

There are a few tricks to picking up clues as you listen to your teacher, or you watch an important video, or you participate in class discussions. Once you learn to become an active listener, you will be able to study the right material and process new concepts with ease.

4. Extend Your Test Prep Time

As you enter high school, you should expect to increase the amount of time you spend preparing for a test. This does not mean you should study more hours the night before a test; it means you should begin studying long before the week of the test.

The most effective way to study is to study in a repeating pattern. The act of reading -- going away -- and reading again is the best practice when it comes to retaining information. To do this you must start early!

5. Get Used to Writing Essays!

Write, write, write! That's the best advice for any student who approaches high school as a foundation for a great future. Writing skills are so critical for academic success!

Writing skills are important for several reasons. First you will find that you will be required to write many types of essays for homework assignments. Secondly, you'll discover more essay questions on your major exams. Third, you will find that strong communication skills (writing good letters and emails) will make you stand out from the crowd.

One good way to improve your writing skills is to keep a journal. Journal writing can also be great therapy!

6. Get More Organized!

In middle school you learned to juggle multiple books and multiple folders, and you encountered multiple teaching styles as you switched from classroom to classroom. This trend continues in high school; you will have to become more organized and take on much more responsibility when it comes to keeping track of assignments.

It's very important to use a planner and maintain checklists for completing all of your tasks in a responsible and timely manner.

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