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TROUBLESHOOTING TIPS TO TRY FIRST
FOR MAKING SCHOOL EASIER
The most important thing is to be and ACTIVE learner. This means that when you are in a learning environment, you have to actively involve your brain. Ask yourself questions about the material being covered. Ask the teacher about the material. Think about how the new information fits with things you already know about the subject. It doesn't matter how you do it, but you have to THINK! If you are actively involved when you learn, you will drastically reduce the amount of time needed to learn the material.
READINGReading complicated books for class is difficult because often times the material is new, there is a lot of it, and you may not find it incredibly interesting. In other words, it can be BORING. There are ways to make learning from reading more efficient, however.
Here are some reading strategies:
1. In general, do not start on page 1 and read to the end. If the material is boring to you, you just wasted a lot of your time. Again, you have to be an active learner.
2. First, look at all of the pictures and read the captions. Many textbooks will try to cram an entire paragraph worth of information in the captions of the pictures.
3. Next, read the titles to the sections and think about what will be in each section. The key word here is THINK.
4. Then, read the first paragraph in each of those major sections. The first paragraph is usually a summary of the material to come.
5. Next, read any bolded vocabulary words and see if you understand how they fit in with what you now know about the material.
6. Then, if there is a summary page at the end of the chapter, read it carefully.
7. Finally, read the rest of the material. But remember, reading it without thinking is a waste of time.
If you only do steps 1-6, you already know more than both people who don't read at all and people who read without thinking. It also only takes about 20 minutes if you do it properly.
Another excellent technique to use when reading difficult material is thinking aloud. Simply by hearing ourselves talk, we are often able to better focus on the task at hand. This works in all aspects of learning.
LEARNING IN THE CLASSROOM
Truly paying attention in the classroom and being an active learner can drastically decrease the time needed to master material. Your teacher is there to help you understand the material, but YOU must make the effort and ultimately be responsible for your own learning. It is not the teacher's job to be entertaining, so you must try to engage yourself to learn effectively. Here are some tips to maximize your learning in the classroom:
1. DO YOUR HOMEWORK! Most teachers don't give you homework because they want to waste your time. They assign the homework because it will increase your understanding of the material.
2. Form your own opinions about the material and be ready to discuss them in class.
3. Avoid distractions. If you know that sitting next to your friend will be distracting, don't sit there. If you like to look out the windows, sit away from them. You are in school to learn, not to daydream.
4. During lectures, evaluate what you hear. Constantly ask yourself if you understand the new information and how it relates to what you already know.
5. If you don't understand something, ASK! That is what teachers get paid for. If you don't want to ask in class, see the teacher before or after class, during his/her prep time, or set up an appointment.
6. Show outward interest during lectures. This will help you focus and lets your teacher know that you are paying attention.
It is natural to get a little nervous before a test, but getting too nervous negatively affects your performance. If you have studied, worrying about what you don't know won't help you. When you take a test you must...
1. Be confident.
2. Remain calm.
3. Be comfortable, but remain alert.
4. Read all questions CAREFULLY! Missing a question because you misread it is an unnecessary error.
There are also some strategies for performing well on different types of tests:
1. Unless you are 110% sure, never change an answer on a test. Many times you know the answer. Second-guessing yourself often leads to wrong answers.
2. Multiple Choice Tests: The nice thing about multiple choice tests is that the answer is there. You just have to pick the right one. If you don't know the answer, know if you should guess. Some tests punish you for wrong answers. If you should guess, narrow down as much as possible, and then make a best guess.
3. True/False Questions: Words like "never, none, always, every, entirely, only" usually indicate a FALSE statement. Words like "sometimes, often, frequently, ordinarily, generally" usually indicate TRUE statements. If you have no idea, guess FALSE. Read the question carefully. For a true statement to be true, every part of the question must be true.
4. Essay Tests: When answering an essay question, it is important that you are actually answering the question! You should answer the question thoroughly, but do not include false statements. This is usually a red flag to the teacher that you have some misconceptions. No detail is too small. Include everything you know about that subject
TIME MANAGEMENT TIPS
Do you find yourself stressed with all that you have to do?
Are you frequently finishing tasks at the last minute, right before they are due?
Do you find you have a difficult time concentrating on one job at a time,
because there are too many things to do?
1. Develop a to-do list.
Keep current and use the list to set priorities. Use your agenda book or keep a list on your phone.
2. Set priorities according to the following:
(1) Critical, must be done today
(2) Important, must be done soon but not necessarily today
(3) Can wait, no significant time pressure; quick/easy to complete
3. Cooperate with your energy levels.
When are your most productive times? Complete critical tasks at this time.
4. Set deadlines for important work.
Break large items/assignments into smaller tasks and do a little each day.
5. Handle/Prevent interruptions:
(1) Your cell phone:
Turn it completely off, set on "do not disturb," or leave it in another room.
Messages and notifications will be there when you're done.
(2) Family | Friends:
Let them know that you have something important to finish and need some time to get it done.
6. Organize your work area.
(1) Organize your book bag first. Get rid of anything you don't need.
(2) Find a way to organize important papers. Do folders work best? A binder?
(3) Do you have a space to do your homework?
Claim a space: A desk in your room? The kitchen table?
Let others know you need this area to work.
7. Procrastination solutions:
(1) All tasks won't be interesting or fun. Know that it's ok to feel frustrated and overwhelmed sometimes.
(2) Sometimes just getting started is the hardest part. Pick a place to begin and go for it.
(3) Set small rewards. Example: I will study for 30 minutes, followed by 30 minutes of TV.
(4) Don't be your own worst enemy. If you are negative and pessimistic, it's only going to make things worse.
Do the best that you can.
8. Utilize time savers:
(1) Learn to say NO to distractions or activities that aren't going to help you get things done.
(2) Plan what you want to do and set small goals.
(3) Learn to practice self-discipline. Set a schedule that is equal parts fun and equal parts work.
(4) Learn to listen effectively.
If you aren't making good use of class time, it's going to be more work for you later.
(5) Ask for help when you need it. If you don't know an answer, star that question for later and keep moving.
Don't get overly frustrated and give up. Take a 15 minute break and come back to it.
(6) Learn from any mistakes or failures and then move on.
No one expects you to know everything all the time.
You are there to LEARN.
(7) Have a place for everything. Keep or return everything to its place.
C/O INDIANA UNIVERSITY NORTHWEST DIVISION OF CONTINUING STUDIES
SPEED READING, COMPREHENSION, AND STUDY SKILLS
COURSES ARE TAUGHT BY PROFESSIONAL INSTRUCTORS
AVAILABLE FOR GRADES 6 - 12
FEEL FREE TO CONTACT THE NUMBER BELOW FOR INFORMATION AND REGISTRATION
Ultimately, your education is YOUR responsibility. It WILL directly affect the rest of your life. Hopefully, some of these strategies will help you succeed in school. Remember that you can do it, and that your success is UP TO YOU!