How to Be Successful in High School
- Get right amount of sleep each night (8 hours)
- Shut off electronics 1 hour before bed
- Attend every class, every day, on time
- Pay attention, put away electronics in class
- Do assigned work, fully and completely
- Hand in all assignments
- Ask questions if you don’t understand
- Access your accommodations if you are eligible
- Review lessons each night (20 minutes should be enough)
- Say it out loud or read it to someone else
- Study at same place and time each night
- Stay organized
Students with better study methods and strategies score higher on their
Everyone is different. Different methods work for different people; the following are only suggestions on improving upon your current studying techniques.
- It is best to review the material right after class when it's still fresh in
- Don't try to do all your studying the night before the test. Instead space
out your studying, review class materials at least several times a week,
focusing on one topic at a time.
- Have all of your study material in front of you: lecture notes, course
textbooks, study guides and any other relevant material.
- Find a comfortable and quiet place to study with good lighting and little
distractions (try avoiding your own bed; it is very tempting to just lie down
and take a nap).
- Start out by studying the most important information.
- Learn the general concepts first, don't worry about learning the details
until you have learned the main ideas.
- Take notes and write down a summary of the important ideas as you read
through your study material.
- Take short breaks frequently. Your memory retains the information that you
study at the beginning and the end better than what you study in the middle.
- Space out your studying, you'll learn more by studying a little every day
instead of waiting to cram at the last minute. By studying every day, the
material will stay in your long-term memory but if you try to study at the last
moment, the material will only reside in your short-term memory that you'll
- Make sure that you understand the material well, don't just read through the
material and try to memorize everything.
- If you choose to study in a group, only study with others who are serious
about the test.
- Test yourself or have someone test you on the material to find out what your
weak and strong areas are. You can use the review questions at the end of each
chapter, practice tests that the teacher may give out or other pertinent
- Listening to relaxing music such as classical or jazz on a low volume can
relieve some of the boredom of studying.
- Don't study later than the time you usually go to sleep, you may fall asleep
or be tempted to go to sleep, instead try studying in the afternoon or early
evening. If you are a morning person try studying in the morning.
Test Preparation Tips
- Preparation for your first test should begin on the first day of class; this
- paying attention during class
- taking good notes
- completing homework assignments
- reviewing study materials on a regular basis
- Budget your time, make sure you have sufficient time to study so that you
are well prepared for the test.
- Go to review sessions, pay attention to hints that the instructor may give
about the test. Take notes and ask questions about items you may be confused
- Ask the instructor to specify the areas that will be emphasized on the test.
- Make sure you go to the class right before the test; it's another prime time
for the instructor to give out more hints or the format of the test.
- Go over any material from practice tests, HW's, sample problems, review
material, the textbook, class notes...
- Eat before a test. Having food in your stomach will give you energy and help
you focus but avoid heavy foods which can make you groggy.
- Don't try to pull an all nighter. Get at least 3 hours of sleep before the
test (normally 8 hours of sleep a night is recommended but if you are short on
time, get at least 3 hours so that you'll be well rested enough to focus during
- Put the main ideas/information/formulas onto a sheet that can be quickly
reviewed many times, this makes it easier to retain the key concepts that will
be on the test.
- Show up at least 5 minutes before the test start time.
- Set your alarm and have a backup alarm set as well.
- Go to the bathroom before walking into the exam room. You don't want to
waste anytime worrying about your bodily needs during the test.
Test Taking Tips
- Bring at least two pens/pencils with good erasers, a calculator with enough
batteries and any other resources that your instructor allows you to.
- Bring a watch to the test so that you can better pace yourself.
- Keep a positive attitude throughout the whole test and try to stay relaxed.
If you start to feel nervous take a few deep breaths to relax.
- Keep your eyes on your own paper, you don't want to appear to be cheating
and cause unnecessary trouble for yourself.
- When you first receive your test, do a quick survey of the entire test so
that you know how to efficiently budget your time.
- Do the easiest problems first. Don't stay on a problem that you are stuck
on, especially when time is a factor.
- Do the problems that have the greatest point values first.
- Pace yourself, don't rush . Read the entire question and pay attention to
- Ask the instructor for clarification if you don't understand what they are
asking for on the test.
- Write legibly. If the grader can't read what you wrote, they'll most likely
mark it wrong.
- Always read the whole question carefully. Don't make assumptions about what
the question might be.
- If you don't know an answer, skip it. Go on with the rest of the test and
come back to it later. Other parts of the test may have some information that
will help you out with that question.
- Don't worry if others finish before you. Focus on the test in front of you.
- If you have time left when you are finished, look over your test. Make sure
that you have answered all the questions. Only change an answer if you misread
or misinterpreted the question because the first answer that you put is usually
the correct one. Watch out for careless mistakes and proofread your essay and/or
short answer questions.
- Double check to make sure that you put your first and last name on the
Reducing Test Taking Anxiety
Test anxiety is when a student excessively worries about doing well on a
This can become a major hindrance on test performance and cause extreme nervousness and memory lapses among other symptoms. The following are tips on reducing test taking anxiety:
- Being well prepared for the test is the best way to reduce test taking
- Space out your studying over a few days or weeks and continually review
class material. Don't try to learn everything the night before.
- Try to maintain a positive attitude while preparing for the test and during
- Exercising for a few days before the test will help reduce stress.
- Get a good night's sleep before the test.
- Show up to class early so you won't have to worry about being late.
- Chew gum (if allowed) during the test to help relieve test anxiety.
- Stay relaxed, if you begin to get nervous take a few deep breaths slowly to
relax yourself and then get back to work.
- Read the directions slowly and carefully.
- If you don't understand the directions on the test, ask the teacher to
explain it to you.
- Skim through the test so that you have a good idea how to pace yourself.
- Write down important formulas, facts, definitions and/or keywords in the
margin first so you won't worry about forgetting them.
- Do the simple questions first to help build up your confidence for the
- Don't worry about how fast other people finish their test; just concentrate
on your own test.
- If you don't know an answer to a question skip it for the time being (come
back to it later if you have time), and remember that you don't have to always
get every question right to do well on the test.
- Focus on the question at hand. Don't let your mind wander on other things.
- If you're still experiencing extreme test anxiety after following these
tips, seek help from your school counselor.
- Test Taking Tips
Procrastination is putting off or avoiding doing something that you must do.
It is natural to procrastinate occasionally. However, excessive procrastination
can result in guilt feelings about not doing a task when it should be done. It
can also cause anxiety since the task still needs to be done. Further, excessive
procrastination can cause poor performance if you try to complete a task with
little time remaining. In short, excessive procrastination can interfere with
your school and personal success.
Twenty things you can do to control procrastination.
- Reward yourself when you complete a task on time. You can surf the Internet,
have some ice cream, or do anything else that is a positive reinforcer for you.
- Prioritize the tasks you have to do. Putting tasks in priority order will
avoid the problem of trying to decide where to begin.
- Work on tasks at the times you work best. Some students can get things going
in the morning, while other students may be more comfortable working in the
- Don’t try to finish everything at once. Break tasks into smaller, more
- Work with a study group. The momentum of the other group members will carry
you with them.
- Carefully schedule what you have to do. Stick to your schedule.
- Establish reasonable standards for completing a task. Striving for
perfection can stop you from completing the task.
- Set specific goals and track your progress toward their accomplishment. This
will help you avoid the feeling that the work before you is endless.
- Establish a comfortable place in which to do your work. You will be more
inclined to do your work if your workspace is peaceful and inviting.
- Work for short periods of time. Set a timer for 15 minutes and take a short
break when it goes off.
- Create a “to do” list at the start of each day. Keep the list to a
reasonable length. Cross off each thing to do as you accomplish it.
- Don’t sit around thinking about what you have to do. Stop thinking and start
- If there is a particular task that you dread doing, force yourself to face
it. Once you complete this task, your other tasks will seem like “a walk in the
- Think about all of the benefits of completing a task. Use these thoughts as
- Use visual reminders of what you have to do. Post-it notes placed in
prominent places (e.g., refrigerator door, computer screen, and mirror) will
remind you that something needs to be done.
- Organize your workspace. Spending a lot of time “looking” for what you need
to do a task is a classic form of procrastination.
- Use peer pressure. This works for Weight Watchers and can work for you.
Identify a friend to whom you are accountable for getting your work done.
- Focus on starting a task rather than finishing it. Bring your focus from the
future to the right now.
- Don’t make too much of a task. Overvaluing a task can make you highly
anxious. Anxiety can block your performance.
- Identify the ways in which you procrastinate. Take direct steps to eliminate