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Studying 101


Many students want to excel in school but don’t make the effort needed to get the required grades. Very soon a new session will begin. This might be the opportunity you need to review what you have been doing and make a new plan.

Improve your attitude towards school and studying

  • Many students have a negative attitude toward school and studying with many of you believing that one particular subject is boring or that you will never need a particular subject
  • Realize that there is a practical application for almost every subject. Do you realize that margarine which many of us eat regularly is just plain chemistry (hydrogenation of fat). Also do you realize that most top designer brands use the theory of scarcity and demand to increase customers interest in their products ( what did you think limited edition meant?) . Some of you want to be businessmen in future maybe a little economics might not be so bad after all.
  •  View school as helping you achieve your future goals. It sounds nice to say you want to become a doctor or lawyer but did you realize that many topics you are doing now will be expanded upon in university? Also, while French may not be your cup of tea it might be useful to know a few French phrases in case a job offer requires that you speak some French.

studying 101

Set your goals and priorities for the term

  • Decide what you are trying to do in school. What do you want to achieve in school. Do you want to come first in a particular subject or do you want to improve your grades in Math or English?
  • Set a time limit- By the first test I will———–
  • Read your goals regularly to remind yourself about what you want to achieve.

    Develop an action plan for achieving your goal

    for example This term I will:

  • Submit homework and projects on time
  • Study two hours a day and three hours on the weekend
  • Attend all classes

    Be specific and get organized

What do you need to achieve this week? What do you want to achieve this month? Which topics do you plan to read?  How many times a week do you plan to read your key subjects or how many extra hours do you want to dedicate to subjects you are weak in? Which assignment s do you plan to complete this week?

Prepare the environment

Do you have a dedicated area for studying? Is it free of distractions? Like a loud TV, ringing cellphone or people talking loudly. Sometimes your good intentions can be foiled by these distractions.

Learn to manage your time effectively and prioritize

Make a daily to do list and divide activities into categories: High priority, medium priority and low priority activities. High priority activities are non-negotiable and need to be done as soon as possible these may include assignments, projects and attending classes. Medium priority activities are negotiable activities that can be postponed by a few hours or days like the English essay which is due in 3 weeks. Low priority activities are activities that do not need to be achieved immediately like watching the new episode of arrow or Telemundo.

Strengthen your resolve (Reinforce your plan)

  • Encourage yourself through rational thinking:

There will be times when you do not feel like studying; times you just want to watch the new episode of KUWTK so that you can gist about it with your friends on Monday morning even though you know you have an assignment due.  Sometimes you will have to recognize that some of the conversations you have with yourself are holding you back and need to be replaced by ideas that help you. For example feeling bad because you missed the latest episode of the voice may lead to statements like there is not enough time for studying and fun. This can be replaced with there is enough time for both work and play when I use my time well

  • Reward yourself: Sometimes the only thing that might work is giving yourself a reward. This simply means trading with yourself. Perhaps you can say if I finish my project/ assignment or this topic by Saturday, on Sunday I will watch a KUWTK marathon or play video games with friends etc.

Get an accountability partner

This is just someone who will remind you of what you said you want to achieve and may sometimes kick your butt into drive when you are lagging behind. This can be a parent, sibling, a friend, a youth pastor or a teacher you respect.

Ask for help

Many students are afraid to ask for help. Unfortunately, your parents, teachers or friends are not mind readers. If you need a more quiet space to do your studying or the television lowered a bit have you spoken up? If you did not understand your teacher’s explanation why did you say you did? If your friend the physics genius wants to play soulcalibur perhaps you can say before we play can you quickly explain Newton’s law of motion?

Be flexible

Recognize that sometimes life happens and you may need to find out what is working for you and what isn’t. For example if your house is not as quiet as you like you may need to get earplugs or change your reading time .Perhaps you may even have to do some of your reading in the school library. Flexibility is important because it helps you to change tactics and eliminate roadblocks. If your parents pick you late from school perhaps you can do your assignments in school or revise your notes. This might help you do some work as you might be tired when you get home an excuse many students give.


Try out some of these suggestions and see how well they work. PS: How many new words did you learn?


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