If you or your child are having difficulties in school, follow these tips for success!

A good education is the best thing individuals can have – whether they are high school graduates going off to college or single parents wishing to get online degrees to further their education and find higher-paying jobs. These tips will help anyone succeed in the classroom, whether in a grade school classroom, a prestigious university lecture hall, or an online program.

Have a set Area for Learning and doing homework

Choose a place in your home where it is quiet, clean, and well organized. Can’t study at home? Go to the public library or outside. Make sure before you sit down to work you have all the necessary supplies – paper, pens, pencils, a list of your assignments, textbooks, erasers, highlighters, etc. This way, you won’t get distracted by having to run around looking for a new pencil mid-essay. By being prepared, you can more work done efficiently.


Study in chunks

Do you have an exam tomorrow in biology that you didn’t start studying for until now? Well, good luck acing that test. In her June 2007 article, “Cramming May Not Be Best Practice,” in The Washington Post, Andrea Bruce says, “anyone interested in retaining information shouldn’t expect much from cramming. 

Because humans learn best when they study for tests over an extended period, allowing new knowledge to be ingrained into their memory through the spacing effect.

Bruce also interviewed psychologist Gary Gilland, who added that we learn in multiple contexts when we study over a few days or weeks by relating the new information we’ve learned to previous knowledge on the content. By making these connections, we are more likely to remember the news because of our study material’s various thoughts and memories. When you cram, you only remember essential parts of the content, and it’s harder to recall information later on because you have fewer context clues to draw from. Cramming also involves, for the most part, many sleepless nights, and if your body isn’t sleeping, then your brain can’t rest and retain the information efficiently. And if you can’t remember the material, how can you pass the test?

My suggestion is to study 20-30 minutes a day, one week before the test – that way you reinforce old material and learn the new material better, without staying up all night and being tired of the test. Study in groups with other people in your classes as well, so you can “teach” each other and get different perspectives on the test material.

Go to extra help

Yes, even if you’re in college. GO! My psychology teacher, Professor Keith Shafritz of Hofstra University, put it best in his lecture on the first day of classes this September – “Get over your fear of asking for extra help in college. You’re here to learn, and sometimes we all need a little extra help. No professor will deny you office hours, so please speak up and ask for an appointment if you need it!”

Ask questions

If you’re in class and have no clue what a teacher or professor is saying, ask questions. Asking questions shows them that you take an interest in that class and care about your grades and comprehension of the material. If you don’t care about your grades, why should your professors?



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