Admin

Tips for a Better Semester

Tips for a Better Semester
Posted on 02/14/2019
studyingWritten by Christine Stornelli, Student Journalist at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Secondary School

It’s officially a new semester which means starting fresh with new teachers and new classes. Now is the time to make a plan and a promise to study, hand in all homework on time, and get the best grades possible. It’s a plan that might be hard to stick to, so here are some helpful tips: 

1. Try teaching someone else the material you are trying to learn. If the subject you are teaching is unfamiliar, they will ask questions. This makes you think harder about the material and helps you memorize it because you are explaining it in more depth. Similarly, try teaching the material to a pretend audience. If you explain your material out loud the way a teacher would explain it to their class, you may retain the information better.

2. If you are easily distracted, avoid taking a lot of breaks while studying. Have food and supplies readily available, so that you don’t procrastinate with a snack break. You can also use food to reward yourself when studying. Try putting a piece of candy in between the pages of your notebook so every time you finish a page, you get a candy reward.

3. Set a timer on your phone as a reminder about homework that needs to be done. If you procrastinate a lot, set multiple timers around five to ten minutes apart.

4. Munch on your favourite food while studying to prevent boredom. If eating a bowl of ice cream helps you stay in one place and study, then eat a bowl of ice cream. Dark chocolate, blueberries, and green tea are some food and drinks that are thought to help improve focus.

5. Make a checklist of the things you need to study. Seeing progress encourages you to finish your studying or study guides. You can make a checklist for each class and have the checkboxes sorted by unit so your list seems shorter and easier to complete.

6. If you’re really motivated, the best time to study is thought to be from 4 a.m. to 6 a.m. These hours are when your brain is apparently functioning at its best.

7. To memorize your notes, read them 10 times, say them out loud 10 times, and write them down 2 times. You are 50% more likely to remember material that you say out loud. Re-writing your teacher’s notes in your own words also makes them easier to remember.

8. Use sticky notes, highlighters, and coloured pens to keep track of the most important points. Highlighting or colour coding your notes makes them easier to find and saves time when you are making your study guides.

9. Type out notes and study guides so they look neater and are easier to read. Trying to study from messy notes, can be frustrating and de-motivating.

10. Avoid looking at the time when studying because you will begin to get bored and loose interest in studying quicker, especially if you have been studying for a while. Also avoid looking at your phone. It only makes you want to finish your work quicker and you may rush it or even not finish it at all.

11. Record yourself when you read your notes out loud. You can listen to the recording over and over again, to help you retain information better. 

12. Keep an agenda or calendar and write down all of your tests, assignments, and homework so you can prioritize.

13. Try to sit at the front of the class so your full attention is on the board. You can see the board more easily for taking notes, and there are fewer distractions.

14. Good attendance is important - try not to miss too much school. When you do miss school, ask for the work so you aren’t behind when you get back. Email your teachers with any questions instead of not doing your work at all because you didn’t understand it.

15. Lastly, always ask for help. If you’re anything like me, you will never ask your teacher to re-explain a lesson or tell you if what you did is right. You NEED to ask your teachers for help if you don’t understand something. When you’re doing an assignment, you should also always ask what students have done in the past to get an A, especially if your teacher didn’t provide a rubric.

Hopefully these tips will help you do your best in the new semester. It can be very difficult to stay motivated, especially after the overwhelming pressure of exams and CCT’s. The best thing to do when you are feeling that kind of pressure at school is to sit back and make a plan and, most importantly, do everything you can to follow it!