I want to be a successful student but this seems very time-consuming and tiring, and then I start to lose my motivation. Please help me!
ANSWER: Easy as 1, 2, 3
No matter what you’re trying to do, there are three important steps you need to take:
- Get organized.
- Stay focused.
- Get it done!
The trouble for children is that each of these steps is actually a lot of little steps. But figuring out how to do them is a skill that will help you a lot in school and in life. Kids have many things to do each day, and each one of them follows this 1-2-3 process.
Take brushing your teeth, for example:
- Getting organizedmeans getting where you need to be and gathering your supplies. To brush your teeth, you go to the bathroom, get out your toothbrush and toothpaste, get your toothbrush wet, and then put toothpaste on it.
- Staying focusedmeans sticking with the task. Dentists say to brush for three minutes, so that means keep brushing, even if you hear a really good song on the radio or you remember that you wanted to call your friend. Concentrate and remember what the dentist told you about brushing away from your gums.
- Getting it done!If you do steps 1 and 2, step 3 almost takes care of itself. Hurray, your three minutes are up and your teeth are clean! Getting it done means finishing up and putting on the finishing touches. With teeth brushing, that would be stuff like rinsing off your toothbrush and putting it away, putting the cap back on the toothpaste, and making sure there’s no toothpaste foam on your face!
Maybe you’re thinking, “I can brush my teeth just fine.” If so, that’s great because it means that you can apply those same skills to school or any project you need to get done, like homework or cleaning your room.
Here are some further suggestions:
SIX STEPS TO SMARTER STUDYING
How did you learn how to ride your bike? Someone probably gave you a few lessons and then you practiced a lot. You can learn how to study in much the same way. No one is born knowing how to study. You need to learn a few study skills and then practice them.
Why work on your study skills? It will make it easier for you to learn and do well in class.
Here are six steps to smarter studying:
- Pay attention in class.
- Take good notes.
- Plan ahead.
- Break it down. (If you have a bunch of stuff to learn, break it into smaller chunks.)
- Ask for help if you get stuck.
- Get a good night’s sleep!
- Pay Attention: Good Studying Starts in Class
Here’s a riddle for you: Did you know that before you even begin studying, you’ve already started? Huh? Here’s what we mean. When you pay attention in class (and take good notes), you are starting the process of learning and studying.
Do you have trouble paying attention in class? Are you sitting next to a loud person? Is it hard to see the board? Make sure you’re sitting in a good seat that lets you pay attention. Tell your teacher or parents about any problems that are preventing you from paying attention and taking good notes.
- Good Notes = Easier Studying
Not sure how to take notes? Start by writing down facts that your teacher mentions or writes on the board during class. Try your best to use good handwriting so you can read your notes later. It’s also a good idea to keep your notes and papers organized by subject.
- Plan Ahead and You’ll Be Glad You Did
We’re all guilty of putting things off sometimes. One of the best ways to make sure that doesn’t happen is to plan ahead.
Ask for a cool calendar (something you like and can keep by your desk or study area) and write down your own planned dates. You can then plan how much to do after school each day, and how much time to spend on each topic. Are lessons or extracurricular activities making it hard to find time to study? Ask your mom or dad how to make a schedule of what to do when. Waiting until it makes it hard to do your best.
- Break It Up!
When there’s a lot to study, it can help to break things into chunks.
Don’t worry if you can’t remember something on the first try. That’s where practice comes in. The more days you spend reviewing something, the more likely it is to stick in your brain. There are also tricks called mnemonic (say: new-MON-ik) devices that can help you remember stuff. When you’re trying to memorize a list of things, make up a phrase that uses the first letter of each. For example, are you trying to learn the eight planets and their order from the sun? Think: My Very Excellent Mother Just Served Us Nachos to remember Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. Your teacher can give you ideas, too.
Another way to break it up is to study regularly instead of just the night before. You can always review your notes and read over the chapters you’re working on. Or, if you’re studying math or science, do some practice problems.
How much studying should you do each night? Your teacher can help you figure it out. Most brains can only pay attention for about 45 minutes. So if you’ve been working for a while and find it hard to pay attention, try taking a break for some water or a walk around the house. Just fight the temptation to turn on the TV or stop working!
- Lose the Confusion — Ask for Help
You can’t study effectively if you don’t understand the material. Be sure to ask your teacher for help if you’re confused about something. You can check yourself by reading through your notes. Does it all make sense? If not, ask your teacher to go over it with you. If you’re at home when the confusion occurs, your mom or dad might be able to help.
- Sleep Tight!
You’ve followed your study plan — but suddenly you can’t remember anything, not even 2+2! Don’t panic. Your brain needs time to digest all the information you’ve given it. Try to get a good night’s sleep and you’ll be surprised by what comes back to you in the morning.