High School Study Tips

I spend a lot of time focusing on college study tips, and that is really important that we take the time to remember our OC babies! 

Homework, study hall, drivers ed, curfews, and the potential to get grounded. 

That’s right, this post is all about studying in high school!


Plan Ahead.
First and foremost, I’ll start this post like I start every post: Have a planner and use it religiously! (I just happen to know of a great one). But for me, high school was always a little harder to plan for because there was no full course syllabus at the beginning of the year. 
Dates for quizzes, tests, assignments, homework, (and substitute teachers) can sneak up on you… especially with 6+ classes a day! Don’t forget all the extracurricular stuff, plus bringing money for fundraisers, field trips, etc. So keep your planner with you at all times and write down EVERYTHING as soon as you hear about it!
Use a mechanical pencil just in case things change (which they will). Also, use a highlighter system to keep you on track:
Yellow = In Progress
Pink = Complete


Set a Timer.

When you get home from school every day, set a timer and work high priority to low priority! So…either start with the thing that’s due the soonest or the thing that’s worth the most points.
I played competitive sports in high school, so sometimes I didn’t even get home until 10:00. There was no way I was getting ALL the homework done EVERY night, so I just went with the top priority items.
So, if I didn’t make it to that 5 point worksheet by the next day, it wasn’t really that big of a deal.
(I also knew which teachers would give me extra credit for bringing in extra boxes of tissues. God bless you, Ms. Parker)
Perfect Your Time Management.

Manage your time as wisely as possible. High school is full of important schoolwork and every day feels like it’s the most stressful one ever (or at least, that was my experience). At the end of the day, make sure that you’ve also allowed yourself the balance to actually enjoy your friends, football games, dances, etc.
Work for 30 minutes at a time then give yourself a 5 minute break. Also, work smarter, not harder. A lot of teachers assign similar assignments, so don’t be afraid to “piggyback” off of your prior projects and just make it a little better each time!



Even though it’s been (ahem) a while since I’ve been in high school, I definitely remember it was a high stress time… Having 3 lockers (one in each building), literally running to class carrying 30 books to make it before my teacher locked the door, and (most importantly), trying to catch up on the details of every little daily drama between classes.
If it feels a little overwhelming right now, just remind yourself that college will be here before you know it and things get SO. MUCH. BETTER. 😀

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How to Highlight Books & Notes in College

Have you ever seen that picture of a textbook completely covered in yellow highlighter that just says, “Highlighting. You’re doing it wrong.”?
I literally laughed so hard at that the first time I saw it because I have definitely gotten those textbooks before! 

(And in all honesty, I’ve also been that highlighting offender.)
Sometimes, it’s just hard to know what to and what not to highlight. Like, what if you need to know this in the future? Clearly, that neon yellow will lead the information right into your brain and let it stay there forever!


Here is my system for highlighting (and reading) textbooks:


First of all, go into your textbook with a purpose. Just reading a chapter start to finish without a purpose is like walking into Target without a purpose (dangerous and costly).
When you know what you’re looking for (either by using a study guide, looking at class notes, or reading the guiding questions that the end of the chapter), you’re more likely to pull out the importantinformation.
Scan the pictures and headings to get an idea of what you’re SUPPOSED to learn from the chapter. Then really focus on learning that thing! You and I both know every chapter doesn’t need to be 30+ pages. Don’t waste your time reading every word.


Create a routine, just like everything else. You may want to use one color for vocabulary terms and a different color for important ideas. I always, ALWAYS write my notes right in the margins using a mechanical pencil. It just makes it so much easier to have all of the info right there together!
If you use a consistent system, you’ll automatically look for vocabulary words to be pink, or learning theories to be yellow, which would make it a little more memorable!


Also, don’t forget about the wide variety of office supplies that can make your textbook reading more interactive! Use Post-It flags/tabs to save pages where important theories/concepts/charts, etc. are. You can highlight away, but what good does it do if you can’t find the page again?
If you’re not totally comfortable with writing straight into your book, you can use medium-sized sticky notes and stick those in the margins of important pages instead! Plus, sometimes a little extra color makes textbooks a little more bearable.


Don’t forget to bring the information “out” of your textbook.By that, I mean pull out those important terms/concepts/ideas that you highlighted and put them on index cards. Hang them up on your fridge, the wall above your computer, or on your mirror. This brings the information to you instead of you having to do work to get to the information.
Also, Target and school supply stores have that giant paper that you could use to create diagrams, etc. and literally hang them on your wall (provided your husband/roommates wouldn’t mind too much).


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Good Habits for College Classes



Class. To go or not to go? 

That usually seems to be the question. 

I mean, we know that  it’s probably best to go… but the freedom of not having to be there is just so tempting sometimes.  

Plus, there is always so much to do. Occasionally, we’re just positive that we could be more productive if we skipped class and spent that hour by ___ (insert biggest stressor of the day) instead. 

If going to class feels “unproductive” to you, here are some ways to change that and get the most out of your time spent on campus!



Here are my top “good” habits for college classes:
Bring Your Planner
Not only would I never in my life have come to class without my planner. I kept it open in front of me at all times. This just kept  dates in my mind (next class, we’ll be talking about this chapterthat assignment is due a week from today… etc.). I definitely, definitely suggest doing this!

Listen Proactively

For my new teaching job, we’re reading the book Teach Like a Champion. There is a technique in the book called SLANT, which provides an easy for students (or “scholars) to know how they’re expected to sit. Our brains usually take their cues from our bodies, and if your body is saying “Hey, this is interesting and I’m excited to hear it! Then your brain will pay attention, too (probably).
S: Sit up
L: Listen attentively
A: Ask and answer questions like a scholar
N: Not your head
T: Track the speaker


Stay Active

Unfortunately, most college courses are still lecture-style. As in, you’re sitting passively, listening (or looking like you’re listening) for nearly the entire class period. If you struggle with staying focused the whole time, I would definitely suggest writing the whole time. Just start taking notes at the beginning of class, and keep on until the end of class. This does two things: First of all, it keeps you engaged, actively doing something throughout the lecture! And secondly, you leave with some pretty awesome and thorough notes that your classmates will totally envy.
Build Class Time into Your Schedule

Remember at the beginning of this post where I talked about to go or not to go to class? The answer is always the same: GO TO CLASS! Even if you have the study guide, Even if your professor puts the Power Points online, Even if you have a friend who promised to take notes for you. Build class time into your schedule and stick to it!
Keep Your Class Stuff Organized

If you’re going to math class (bless your heart), keep your pencils, calculator, book, graph paper, altogether in the same place every time! The worst thing is showing up unprepared! Try getting some of those $10 canvas bins from Target and making them your “class bins”. This will make it easy for you to grab your stuff and go (and hopefully keep you on time)!
College classes can be annoying, boring, and feel like time wasters BUT they’re also the reason you’re there!

Just show up, take notes, and try to learn something (of course)! 😀 

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