www.whyville.net Aug 24, 2014 Weekly Issue

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Back to School Study Tips

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School is just around the corner for many Whyvillians, perhaps some have even started already. Everyone will have to get back into a routine in order to be productive this school year. The year generally picks up it's pace quite quickly, and sometimes it may be hard to remember how you studied last year that helped you. Or maybe you don't have very good study habits in the first place. One of the trickiest things is focusing enough to get you're work done and study. I've learned a few key things that help me out when I'm trying to focus for upcoming tests. I've got some tips and tricks that may help you out this year when you decide it's time to settle down and study.

Study Environment

You want to make sure the area you're working in has no distractions that may take you away from your studying. Try going to a quiet room in your house where there are no major distractions like your phone or the TV, or even try going to the library so that you have all the necessary items you need without the distractions. Make sure you have all the materials you need beforehand such as calculators, extra pencils, notes before you start so that you need to get up to go get them in the middle of working. Make sure that you have access to a computer in case you need to look up information, and a calculator nearby in case you need to do some calculations.

Stay Organized and Plan Ahead

Organization is key when it comes to school. Try using a planner to write down your homework assignments, and write down test dates ahead of time so that you have plenty of time to study. Write down what you plan on studying on which nights, so that if you have multiple tests you won't have to try and memorize large amounts of information at one time. It is easier to spread out a few minutes of studying a day, than a few hours on one night. Keep your materials in different folders for different classes, so when you look for a certain classes homework, notes, or study guides you won't have to scramble.

Take Notes

Notes are crucial to helping you study. Taking notes in class helps you actually retain the information rather than just listening, because you're actually absorbing what you hear. While taking notes try to abbreviate in a way that you understand it, that way you will be able to look at it later and comprehend it. Keeping things short will help you capture only what is really important (i.e what might be on a test) rather than filling your brain with minor details. A popular way of taking notes is Cornell Notes. It splits your paper into three sections: questions, notes, and a summary. Take notes as you normally would on the right side, but ask questions on the left. That way when you go home and study them, you can cover the notes side and quiz yourself over the questions you wrote. A summary at the end helps sum up what you wrote, and repeating things in your mind helps you remember them. Highlight important information so that it sticks out to you, underline key terms that you want to memorize.

Eliminate Distractions

Although you may feel the need to use your phone as a calculator, try using the real thing so you don't feel the need to open up other apps. Use of your computer is definitely okay, as long as you use it for online textbooks, looking up questions/methods, or anything helpful. You can go online and block any website for a certain period of time(the time you are using to study) so that you can't get on and procrastinate. A common myth is that music helps you study, but studies show that it is hard for the brain to multi-task the two items.

Methods of Studying

One way to study is to make flashcards. This is helpful to quickly memorize definitions, or to answer main questions you may need to know. Make sure to write your thoughts out completely when making the cards so you understand fully by the time it comes to studying. Make sure to mix up the order of the cards each time, so that you memorize the information rather than just memorizing the order of things. A second method is to go over your textbooks and notes. Generally textbooks have a side bar with questions, small extra pieces of information, etc. Take a look at those and try to answer the questions along the way, and skim the text. Bolded words you will most likely need to know, so it's good to take a second look at them. Re-read your notes, I cannot emphasize this enough! Going over information helps press it into your brain, and it is in your own words so it is easier to process than the textbook might be. Typically your notes is just the most important information, so it is key to make sure you know the basis of your units. Didn't listen in class? Go online and watch a crash course video on what you're learning to get a brief summary, or if its a book you didn't finish. Sparknotes or cliffnotes will give you a summary and analysis of each chapter.

Brain Foods

Certain foods have been known to help your brain study and function better. A few foods are: blueberries, nuts and seeds, avocados, granola bars or trail mix, bananas, broccoli. So next time you sit down to study, pick up some fruit or nuts to help your brain think.

That's all the tips I have for today. Keep calm and study on!


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