1) get time tabled – calendars, diaries, year planner
– whole year with exam dates
– semesters/terms with test dates
– weekly classes
– teacher availability outside class time
– all assignment due dates
For you to be organised requires your school and your teachers to be organised and to be able to provide you with all this information at the beginning of the year. Keep asking until you get it
2) get to classes – all classes – no excuses, you must keep up.
3) take good notes in class:
a) divide each page up vertically into two columns 1/3, 2/3, write all class notes only in the 2/3 column, leave the 1/3 column blank
b) listen for ideas and write each new idea in a different colour
4) every night – review (read over) all the notes taken that day and pull out the key points and write them in the 1/3 column, draw diagrams, pictures, flow charts to summarise the main ideas
5) if you do miss any classes, make sure you photocopy someone else’s notes for that class as soon as possible and review them to make sure you understand
6) if you have any questions, any things you don’t understand, think carefully about what exactly it is you don’t understand, formulate good questions, track down your teachers outside of class time and ask them
7) if you still don’t understand something, go to the net, there are a huge number of websites for every school subject and often they will present the same information to you as you are doing in class but in a way that suits you better. Check out the “Study Tips for Students” page on my website http://www.taolearn.com/students.php – it has a big list of free and useful websites for students studying every subject
8) always notice your own self-motivation strategies – how do you get yourself to do things that you know are going to be hard or difficult? What is your strategy for courage? Practice using those same strategies to get you to keep concentrating and keep focused in the classes you find difficult or boring. Remember success means doing things that other people find hard.
9) organise your study area at home – desk, chair, light, instrumental music, water, fruit, take oxygenation breaks every 45 minutes when you are studying
10) learn some memory techniques – for all the information that you just have to memorise, use the best memory techniques available – search them out in libraries, on the net
11) doing assignments
a) as soon as you get an assignment mark the due date in your diary (on your phone) and later transfer that date to your wall calendar
b) in the lesson when you get told about the assignment, find out what is the word length, aim, objectives, deadline, marking criteria, and most importantly – can you submit a draft?
What are the stages of completing an assignment?
i) Finding the information – research (25% of the time?)
ii) Processing the information – reading (25%?)
iii) Planning the piece of work – sequencing ideas (5%?)
iv) Doing the writing (40%?)
v) Proof reading, making corrections and handing it in (5%?)
c) timeline every assignment – when will you need to have it 25% done by? 50% done? 75% done? Mark the dates on your calendar/year planner, aim always to finish all assignments with one day to spare
The solution to procrastination is organisation
d) decide what mark are you aiming for A++ à C, Achieve à Excellence
e) identify topic, question to be answered and decide on your point of view – this is what teachers (and examiners) are looking for – a thoughtful point of view
f) research – get familiar with the library – where are the books, journals, reference section, videos, audio tapes for your subjects?
g) find the best web sites for all your subjects
Remember – information is king – the first to find the best sources of information wins!
h) reading – learn to skim read through textbooks, web pages just looking for key points, ideas that support your point of view
i) make summaries of key points using mindmaps, THOrTmaps
j) plan out a sequence of points to make which lead to your conclusion and find one quote to back up each point
k) prepare a draft and (if possible) take it to your teacher for appraisal
l) write the final copy
m) proof read, make corrections, hand in.
12) Each week make summaries of all the key points covered in each subject
13) Once a month put all your weekly summaries together into a one month summary
14) When you have a test or exam then just work through all your summaries and do some old exam questions on the topics
15) If you get de-motivated or stressed out by schoolwork, focus back on your purpose – what is school for? Why is it useful to do well at school? What can you get out of it? Make both short and long term goals to support your achievement
16) Use relaxation techniques to overcome exam nerves