Study Skills and Organization Tips to Help Your Student

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We are assembling a list of study tips.  Here are a few to start off (please add your favorites in the comments , and we will update the list as new ones are added!):

Planning Ahead:

  • Buy an agenda with a calendar to keep track of due dates, upcoming tests, after school activities. Some web sites like Google offer online calendars where you can keep track of your events from any computer.
  • Assignments, assignments…don’t procrastinate, they do and will add up. Use your agenda and check off each assignment as it is completed.

Goal Setting:

  • Set goals for yourself. They can be little goals…for instance, if you have a lot of homework one night, you might say “I will write three paragraphs in the next ½ hour as a start.” Reward yourself after completing each goal.


  • Organize your binder and your computer.  Separate files by subject, create folders. When the school year is over, move all online documents into a zip folder or separate hard drive.

Study Tips:

  • Read assigned material ahead of test time.  It is no secret…familiarity with the material will help you decide what is important to study.
  • Studying in groups can be a helpful way to prepare for an exam. You’ll have access to additional notes and your classmates may recall details from class which you may have forgotten. (Three heads are better than one!)
  • Most teachers hold review sessions a couple of days before important tests. Be sure to attend! Sometimes the questions they go over will resemble questions on the test.

Taking good notes:

  • The important thing to remember is to not write down EVERY WORD the teacher says. Use abbreviations and symbols to speed up the process. Here are some examples: @ = at, w/ = with  (do you have any to add?)
  • When taking notes, use only one side of the paper, this makes notes easier to read and to re-organize.
  • Always date your notes. Keep math notes in one place, history notes in one place, etc. Give each day’s note a header. Take good care of your notes, for later use at midterms and finals.


  • If you have a very important equation, formula, or definition to remember for a test, write it down on the test paper as soon as you receive it. Find a corner or edge to jot it down as a reminder to yourself.
  • Sometimes you have to guess an answer but the trick is knowing how. First, eliminate answers you KNOW are wrong and then make your guess from the remaining answers. Your first choice is usually correct, so go with your gut.


  • Always write-out complete solutions for math homework;  no shortcuts… pretend your homework is like a test!

Important Skills:  Vocabulary

  • When you encounter a new word, look it up in the dictionary and write it down. Keep a running list or pile of flash cards for future use. Increasing your vocabulary is important for writing well, for speaking well…not to mention, you will need to learn those words for the SAT’s!

Important Habits:

  • A healthy diet leads to an alert mind. Eat breakfast every morning to maximize alertness for your morning classes, and avoid a heavy lunch that will slow you down and make you sleepy in the afternoon.
  • Adolescents need nine hours and fifteen minutes of sleep.  Lack of sleep can cause irritability and an inability to focus, so whether you’re up late studying or chatting online with friends, enough sleep is important for any student.

What are your best organization tips, and how do you like to study?  (P.S.  If you have a student who needs one-on-one help with study skills and organization, give us a call!)

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