Study Skills

A wise old gentleman once offered the following advice. He said, “The difference between a successful man and an unsuccessful man is that the successful man did all the things which the unsuccessful man thought were not necessary to do.”

In other words, the path to be being successful is not always easy. Taking time to develop skills will help you achieve success in school, in your chosen career, and in life.

Time Management
There are just 24 hours in each day. What you do with that time makes all the difference. Getting your “free” time under control is essential to any successful student. If you don’t already, start using a daily planner. This could be a datebook you keep in your bag, an online version you maintain at home, or both. It’s easy to over-schedule or “double-book” if we aren’t careful. Manage your time wisely and you’ll get the maximum out of each day.

The Ability to Set Attainable Goals
It’s important to set goals, as long as they’re attainable. Setting goals that are unreasonably high is a set-up — you’ll be doomed to frustration and disappointment.

Concentration
Listen to your teacher and stay focused. Be sure that you understand the lesson. If you don’t understand something, ask questions! You’ve heard it before, but “the only dumb question is the one you don’t ask.” This is absolutely true. If you’ve been paying attention, it definitely won’t be a dumb question.

Good Note-Taking
You can’t possibly write down everything the teacher says since they talk at a rate of about 225 words per minute. But you do need to write down the important material. Be sure to validate yourself after a test by going back over your notes to see if your notes contained the answers to questions asked on the test. If not, you need to ask to see a classmate’s notes or check with the teacher for help on improving your note-taking. Studying with a partner is also a good idea, provided that you study and don’t turn it into a talk-fest (there’s time for that later). Note-taking should be in a form that’s most helpful to you. If you’re more of a visual person, try writing notes on different colored index cards. Music can also be a good memory aid as long as you don’t find it distracting. Re-writing your notes daily is another strategy. If you really have a problem with note-taking, you might ask your teacher if you can tape-record daily lessons.

Completion of Assignments
Teachers assign homework for a reason. While it may seem like “busywork” at times, it definitely has a purpose. Put your homework to good use. Remember, you’ll only get out of it what you put into it!

Review of Daily Notes
Don’t wait until the night before the test to review your notes. Go over your notes each day while the lecture is still fresh in your mind. Add any missing pieces. Compare your notes with a classmate’s notes. This isn’t cheating — it may even be mutually beneficial. Review your notes each day to reinforce your learning and build towards your ultimate goal: MASTERY of the subject or skill.

Organizational Skills
Keeping yourself organized will save you valuable time and allow you to do everything you need to do. Remember: “A place for everything and everything in its place.” Keep all your study materials (calculator, planner, books, notebooks, laptop, etc.) in one convenient location.

Motivation
You need to be motivated to learn and work hard, whether or not you like a specific subject or teacher. Self-motivation can be extremely important when you aren’t particularly excited about a class. If you must, view it as an obstacle you must overcome. Then set your mind to it and do it — no excuses. Success is up to you!

Commitment
You’ve started the course, now you need to complete it. Do the best — and get the most out of it that you can! Your commitment will pay off in the end.