Back After the Break, Seven Study Tips to get your Student Back on Track

Winter break is long over. Classes are in session. And for many students this means a wake up call to get back into good study habits. Well, they’re not on their own. Help is here, “help,” in the way of seven savvy tips for your student to maximize study time and make that knowledge stick.

1. A Room for Every Thought

According to an article published in the New York Times, new scientific research suggests some traditional study habits may be scientifically unsound. One of those, for instance, is the traditional theory that hiding away for long hours in a library – or other quiet place – is the best method to lock in information. New studies by cognitive scientists say that alternating study locations increases the mind’s ability to memorize. Alternate locations act as guideposts, so to speak, to catalogue new concepts and ideas.

2. Test to Study, Study to Test

It might leave a disagreeable taste in theirs mouths, but love it or hate it, testing has shown to be one of the best forms of study. Cognitive scientists say that testing allows the brain to more easily label and catalog information for recall later on. Flash cards, online practice tests, and practice tests with friends can help.

3. Slow and Steady Wins the Race

Cramming can be great for a quick fix, but long term, it will leave students wondering where all their late nights went. Like a come-and-go sugar rush, experts say cramming only creates short mental sprints, allowing the brain just enough ability to memorize information for a short time. Gradual and consistent repetition has always been the ideal way to retain complex material. Applying this study skill is crucial for subjects, like math and science, that build upon themselves year after year. While cramming may win a battle, in the end, it will lose the war.

4. Good Notes, Good Grades  

It might be hard for your student to study, especially, if they don’t know what they’re studying. While it may seem like a no brainer, it’s always good for your student to take detailed notes. According to the 2011 National Survey of Student Engagement, which surveyed more than 22,000 students, taking careful notes during class was one of the most frequently used strategies for studying. As a parent, offering a friendly reminder – and perhaps a gift of pencils and a notebook – may be what your student needs to get the right grade.

5. Proactive Success Vs. Reactive Failure

“If you’re proactive, you don’t have to wait for circumstances or other people to create perspective expanding experiences. You can consciously create your own,” said Stephen R. Covey in his best-selling book, Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. The words are more than just motivational mumbo jumbo, according to an article by Psychology Today research shows that the most successful students schedule study time for classes far before their exams hit.

6. When in Doubt Get Help

With constant due dates looming and test times approaching, sometimes the only way for a student to meet demands is to ask for help. If your student is struggling, is stressed out, and doesn’t know where to turn, suggest they visit a tutor or join study group. Many universities offer free tutors and tutoring workshops touching a variety of subjects. Encourage your student to draw on the free expertise. Also, creating a study group with their peers is another good way to get study time while also being with friends.

7. Bad Grades = Good Lessons

When your student calls perhaps distraught or in shock about a bad grade make sure to keep the conversation positive and aimed toward actionable steps your student can take. Help them to identify why they received the grade, specific tasks they can do to improve the grade, and to focus on the big picture. Ultimately, you’re student should understand that good grades are about great learning, learning that’s important to them personally. Stress to them that earning good grades and gaining knowledge is about their future and personal goals – not just about receiving parental approval.

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