I am so excited to share this post!  Please welcome Adrianne Meldrum, a private tutor and author.  Today she shares her study tips with us!  Please leave her a note in the comments section if you have a question or want to leave her a message. -Angela

Studying.  The dreaded word. My younger middle school students are at a loss for words other than, “It stinks.”  A lot of students despise the idea of studying because it can be so hard and their efforts at times doesn’t warrant results.

As a private tutor, I am a big FAN of learning how to study.  Why?  When things get hard, you have to learn how to push through something uncomfortable and you become a whole new level of amazing!  Yes, studying is a form of adversity and all humans need to experience some adversity.  The image below from The Sketch Effect illustrates it well.

Study Habbits

When you aim for the easier path or the path of least resistance, you prevent yourself from growing and developing character.  Learning study skills will help you grow to new heights and levels you hadn’t imagined possible!  So you may be wondering, what study skills will take me to new heights?

1.  Being Engaged

Even though it may be like chasing a loose balloon in the sky to get you to pay attention in algebra, being engaged in your class is a terrific way to begin your studying skills journey.  Try sitting closer to the front of the class. Doodle a little in your notebook as you listen to your teacher talk. Movement has been proven to help improve listening and doodling is a form of movement!  In your doodles, include formulas your teacher mentions or important dates for quizzes. If the teacher said something that went right over your head, don’t be shy…raise your hand and ask them to repeat it.

2.  Get Organized

Is your binder overflowing with papers?  If you slip one more piece in there, is it going to explode?  It’s time to get organized!  Asking for help is a great place to start.  We are not born understanding how to organize and keep things tidy. They are taught skills!  Ask a parent or tutor to show you how to put things in your binder so you can find them.

After they teach you, don’t just give it a go for a day or two.  Stick with it! Each week go through your binder and attempt to follow the system you have put in place.

3.  Distractions Have Got to Go

Multi-tasking may sound like a great idea, but your brain doesn’t effectively store information if you are doing too many things at once.  If your cell phone or tablet is too big of a temptation while you are studying, give it to a parent or turn it off before you begin.

Friends can be a distraction too!  Maybe studying in a group isn’t a good idea for you because it turns into gossip hour or a You Tube video black hole.  Let your friends know you need to study and set the example for them!

4.  Setting Aside Time for Sleep and Study

When you get home from school, do you avoid your homework until the wee hours of the night?  Sleep is a vital part of you keeping the knowledge you’ve acquired in your head!  Teenagers need 10-12 hours of sleep a night!  Are you setting aside time to sleep?

Choose a time to study each day and set a timer.  Try not to spend too much time on one topic.  Allow yourself to get up and move around every thirty minutes.  This gives your brain a much needed break.  Keep it short, however because a break can also become a major distraction.

5.  Set Realistic Expectations

The pressure that students are up against these days is unreal!  Not only are a lot of teenagers expected to be involved in extracurricular activities, but to do volunteer work and honors classes.  If you are getting a C+ in a class, don’t expect your grades to turn around over night.  It may take you an entire semester or more to get where you want to be academically. Don’t be hard on yourself!  You are learning how to study more effectively and what works for your friends may not work for you.  It’s a trial and error experience that is valuable to know and understand as you grow into adulthood.

If you find that even after your best efforts with studying that you are still struggling.  Consider finding a tutor to guide you in discovering your learning style.

All of these study skills will benefit you as you grow into adulthood.  These skills or values are needed in the world more than ever!  The world needs young adults that know how to delay the things they want to do to take care of things that are not so pleasant.  The world needs those who can set realistic expectations and keep moving forward, even when things get difficult.  We need people to be organized in thought and actions so that we can move forward.  Most of all we need those who know how to be engaged with others even when it isn’t the most interesting experience or topic they’ve ever encountered.  Study skills are in essence, life skills!  Just as much as you need to learn how to cook or drive, you need to learn how to study.

About the Author:

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Adrianne Meldrum

Adrianne Meldrum is a private tutor and author of The Tutor House blog where she shares tutor business tips and resources.  When she isn’t tutoring or creating, you’ll find Adrianne with her husband and three boys playing down by the river.

Angela Culley

Angela Culley

Owner & Tutor at Math Ninja, LLC
As the founder of Math Ninja, Angela provides online and in person math tutoring for all ages including those studying for the GRE, GMAT, SAT, ACT, PPST, and other math specific subject assessments. Prior to launching her business, Angela coached K-12 educators on effective teaching strategies, curriculum writing, and assessment development.As a classroom teacher, she taught math to students ranging from grade 5 - 12. She has also taught both undergraduate and graduate math courses as an adjunct professor at the University of Virginia and Mountain State University.
Angela Culley
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3 thoughts on “Studying. The dreaded word.

  • December 18, 2013 at 8:51 am
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    Lee Ann,
    It is great to hear that you are sharing these strategies with your daughter! It sounds like school is difficult for your daughter. With ADHD, the distractions in a typical classroom can be overwhelming and the frustration combined with a lack of success can lead to shutting down. It is very common for children to act out, say they hate school, and shut down when they feel like they can’t be successful. It is sometimes easier to say they don’t care than to deal with being unsuccessful or admitting the need for help.

    A tutor that can provide instruction, encouragment, and quick opportunities for success may help your daughter. Although I am confident that you are able to do this, help from family is not often well received.

    Feel free to contact me at 843-732-0612 if you have any follow up questions or would like to set up an appointment.

  • December 17, 2013 at 7:17 pm
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    All great tips, and I teach my 15 year old daughter these often. However, she has a bad attitude towards school and doesn’t care about her grades. She also has ADHD and paying attention in class is difficult that she totally shuts down. The student has to want the help to study.

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