There’s a lot more to studying than reviewing your notes – especially at a cyber school. Learn how to make your next study session more effective.
Everyone knows what it means to study, right? You sit in front of a book or computer and stuff your brain with facts.
Actually, studying is much more complex than that. Good study habits are essential to academic success, but not everybody knows how to get the most from every study session. For some students, studying becomes a chore and an exercise in wasting time, with no measurable return in better grades or comprehension.
A few study tips for students help kids turn study time into productive sessions that deliver rewards when report cards come.
Benefits of Successful Studying
Parents and teachers know every child learns differently. Doesn’t it make sense that children study differently, too? Just doing what everyone else does isn’t the answer. Neither is spending more time with the books, because, after all, just doing more of something that doesn’t work in the first place isn’t going to help.
Poor study habits can have consequences.
- Lack of preparation for the next level: From elementary to middle school, and from middle school to high school, children learn in a stairstep approach. Each level of learning prepares them for the next. If good study habits aren’t instilled early, children won’t be ready to tackle more complex subjects as they move up the academic stairway.
- Poor grades: Tests are meant to show the student’s mastery of a subject. If study habits aren’t up to par, children sit down for tests without that knowledge base to answer questions and show critical thinking skills.
A solid study strategy helps prevent these consequences. Children know that effective studying works for them when they experience these benefits.
- Information retention: We all remember cramming for tests, but do we remember all the information we jammed into our brains? Good study habits encourage us to learn by nibbling instead of gobbling, so we retain the information for tests and for life.
- Self-confidence: The successful student approaches every assignment knowing even difficult subjects can be mastered. Effective studying habits provide a boost that gets children through every challenge.
- Time management: Study habits become ingrained in the day as something that will be done. When study becomes a priority, sudden demands don’t create distractions that veer your child off course academically.
Studying Workspace Tips
Where your child studies can be just as important as how. Learners in online schools, especially, have to draw a line between home and school. Simply opening a book or laptop on the kitchen island isn’t always going to create the circumstances conducive to good studying.
Consider these tips when creating a learning workspace in the home.
- Set up the right desk: A desk serves an important purpose, corralling supplies while establishing a place to set computers and books. Make sure the desk — even if it is the kitchen table — is the right size for your child, so it’s comfortable and welcoming.
- Get organized: Nothing distracts faster than clutter. Searching for the highlighter or sticky notes takes the mind off the important work of absorbing information. Keep all the right supplies handy in crates or drawers, and organize assignments by topic in binders or folders.
- Minimize distractions: Ringing phones. Barking dogs. Whirring lawnmowers. Siblings at play. How is your child supposed to concentrate on studying when household business is going on as usual? Eliminating distractions includes keeping electronic devices silent and out of sight.
Study Plan Tips
It might take time to figure out, but once your child has developed good study habits that suit their learning style, you’ll see a difference in better grades and a more peaceful home. Try these tips to find a study routine that works.
- Give yourself enough time: You can’t learn a complex subject in a day or two. Consider what your child needs to learn and start studying well before that test or big assignment.
- Figure out a time to study: Everyone peaks at different times of the day. Is your child more alert in the morning or afternoon? Maybe there’s a lot going on during the day, so right after dinner offers a window of opportunity. If you’re not sure, sample different times until you find the one that works.
- Take breaks: When the body moves, the brain performs better. Taking breaks to walk and eat healthy snacks as your child needs them — anywhere from every 10 minutes for elementary students to every 90 minutes for high schoolers — recharges the brain and improves focus and memory.
- Study every day: Children who study every day are learning instead of just memorizing. They absorb information and have time to let it stew, contributing to their critical thinking skills. Use the art of taking notes as a way to track — and return to with each session — the key points of each lesson.
- Set goals: Children who set goals and develop the habits to pursue them find themselves accomplishing short-term tasks and long-term dreams. Goals apply to studying, too. They determine what each study session is meant to accomplish and help answer questions about how much time to spend on each subject.
- Preview chapters: Before reading difficult texts, it helps to survey the whole chapter. Students should scan headings to see what subtopics a text covers and look ahead at text features like illustrations and charts or tables. The practice of previewing can take just 1-3 minutes, so it’s a great investment of time.
- Build on existing knowledge: Use what you already know and understand as a foundation on which to build. If you’re helping your child read a difficult text that feels overwhelming, help them connect new concepts to ones they already understand.
- Write notes in simple language: Taking notes can help you process and retain what you’re learning. Use simple language, rather than transcribing something word-for-word right from a textbook or slide deck.
Positive Mindset Tips
As researchers have found, how you approach a task is almost as important as what you do. To study smarter, students need to approach the job with the right mindset.
Naturally, that’s easier said than done. Distractions always beckon. Still, your child can take control and cultivate a positive mindset that sets up each study session to be productive. Try these tips.
- Aim to think positively: Kids can remind themselves about their strengths and abilities, and how much progress they’ve made.
- Avoid catastrophic thinking: Even when your child is in a jam, it’s not the time to think, “I can never get all this done.” Flip that mindset to the positive side, saying something like, “I didn’t give myself as much time as I should have, but I’m doing it now and can still get most of it done.”
- Avoid absolute thinking: The child who believes they will always mess things up is likelier to keep messing things up. Instead, help your child learn from mistakes and think of ways to improve next time.
- Avoid comparisons with other people: How your child’s friends and siblings do in school is their business. Each child has unique talents and skills that can be lassoed into making them a good studier and a better student.
- Track learning goals: By creating specific, realistic goals, you can break up what you need to learn into manageable chunks and maintain motivation. As your child knocks out each goal, celebrate the accomplishment. Write goals down so they can check them off individually and see the progress they’re making.
Study Resource Tips
Learning how to study can be hard work, but the good news is that families don’t have to do it alone. Students and parents can cultivate their own networks of resources to simplify studying.
- Use online resources such as quizlet.com: Quizlet is a popular site for test preparation, helping students ingest the vocabulary, concepts, names and dates they need to know for tests. Students can take a practice test or deploy a variety of study materials, including flashcards, games and quizzes, that fit best with their learning styles. Websites such as Khan Academy can illuminate topics and clarify lessons when kids get stuck on a new concept.
- Study with friends: Kids know how best to support each other, challenge each other and think through problems together. In groups, children can tackle bigger questions and learn to collaborate on solutions. They can study together at each other’s homes, in libraries or via online meeting platforms.
CCA families always have a place to turn when the day’s subject matter becomes a speed bump. CCA’s resources to help students succeed include state-certified teachers who are always available to answer questions. CCA’s Family Service Centers at over a dozen convenient locations statewide offer in-person help and academic support. CCA’s success coaches help students achieve their academic goals.
CCA Learning Brings Purpose to Studying
CCA personalizes learning to the unique learning styles, strengths, interests and goals of each student. In your child’s mind, that gives learning a real purpose and direction. They understand what they’re studying and why. They approach studying with the positive mindset needed to turn study into a tool for academic gain and achievement. Learn more about how CCA helps your child learn to study, for success at school and in life. Enroll today!