21 March 2013

Keep Your Eye on the Prize

I am this close to losing all sense of motivation!!

Okay maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration... but seriously. Eight weeks from today I'll be walking across the stage accepting my diploma and finally getting out of jail high school! Having that knowledge, and the fact that tomorrow is my last day before a two week intercession, I am finding it incredibly challenging to get any studying for my 3 tests or preparation for my presentation tomorrow done (seriously, I've always wondered why teachers do this to kids). 

With giving up imminent, I decided to take a study break to write about... what else?! My study habits!

Let me preface this with telling you that I am ranked in the top 5% of my graduating class and have a 3.9 GPA.
I have almost an entire additional year of high school than what's required to graduate (credit-wise) and have taken almost every advanced placement possible since 7th grade. While I understand that I am only a senior in high school, I believe that my AP teachers have prepped me in every way possible for success in college. I understand that studying and succeeding in college is a completely different process, but this is what I have for now. 

1. Your first key to success is to do what your prof or teacher tells you to do! Yes, it is easy to show up to class and listen to lectures, but there's so much more that you can be doing. Always read the material being covered before you go to the class! Always do the homework, even if it isn't to be collected. But, most importantly, look at the outlines, notes, and book that you are covering before class. This not only helps you get knowledge that you may not get in class, but gives you an idea of what's going on and what you should know. This way, if you have anything that you still aren't understanding after the lecture, you can ask questions and clarify any rough spots. 

2. Make a to-do list! Okay, so i know this sounds very 30-year-old-housewife-ish of me, but I seriously make lists of everything. If I can organize what it is I need to be doing and physically cross tasks off my list, I feel so much more calm. Plus, I love the feeling of accomplishment as I see my list get smaller and smaller! 

3. Limit your studying time. And don't crunch material! I like to spread out my studying over the week before the test. Even if it's just reading through my notes at the very beginning of my "studying", it's a proven fact that your mind will subconsciously process material. The more you can get it into your head, your mind will be thinking about it and locking away the ideas without much effort on your part. It makes your real studying in the few days up to the test much less stressful! When it comes to my hard studying, I like to set a timer for 45 min on my phone. I work hard for that time, and take a 15 min break once it goes off. I might watch a few youtube videos, send a few texts/ emails, or online shop. I'm pretty good about getting back to studying, but if you tend to get distracted easily, I'd recommend setting a timer for your break, too. 

4. When it comes to the actual process of my studying, here's what I do:
quiz - throughly read notes - skim notes - make a condensed study guide - skim notes - quiz
I do this for each section or chapter and it's amazing to see how my quiz scores improve just with that simple process. I just added the step of making the condensed "notes of my notes". I try to fit everything for an entire unit or test on one sheet front and back. It's perfect for in between classes or at lunch glancing at and being able to jog my memory on a few major points or questions that I keep missing on the quiz. Repetition helps!

Studying and preparing is such a vital part of a student's life and I'm so glad that I kindof have a system down. While I'm sure it'll be tweaked this time next year, a foundation is all I need right now! 

I'm pretty sure this break has been longer than my typical 15-minute break... but I deserved an extended one!

Happy Friday!