The Best Study Tips, Straight from Super Smart Teen Tutors
When it comes to making studying suck less, we went directly to the experts. No, not teachers. (Sorry, teachers.) No one gets the whole learning thing quite like actual student tutors who make bank by helping fellow students do better in school. Here's what five teen girls—all of whom spend their after-hours helping other teens bump up their grades—recommend doing next time you hit the books (so...later today):
Invest in school supplies you actually like.
“Keep a highlighter on hand while taking notes and studying. If you don't have one, try underlining and circling key terms/formulas as you go! Purchase a course corresponding review book or borrow a library copy at the start of the year. The practice questions are so helpful for studying for tests/quizzes throughout the year. As a peer tutor, I've noticed using a detailed example problem for reference eases the rest of the assigned problems.”—Autumn, 17
Make it fun. Or as fun as you possibly can.
“Use color in your notes! It is proven that adding a bit of color makes notes more unique and memorable, which means that they are more likely to stick in your brain.” —Allison, 15
Experiment with different study methods.
“Try watching YouTube videos. There's a ton of fun songs to help you remember anything from chemical compounds to literary devices. Save the song or record yourself reading/singing the lyrics and play it during your commute to school.” —Autumn, 17
“Find what learning devices work best for you. Whether it be acronyms like PEMDAS, or visual drawings to go along with vocabulary, everybody learns differently and it will help you learn in class and study if you know what works for you. I love using apps like Duolingo for foreign languages and Quizlet. I also love Crash Course and Khan Academy videos.” —Allison, 15
Ask for help. Obvious, but true!
“As a writing tutor, I think the most important thing for students to remember when seeking out any help is not to be nervous! Tutors are here to help you, and we're definitely not judging. We've been trained to help, and we want you to do well. Also, if there's anything we're saying that you don't feel comfortable with, please say something. Our job is to help you improve and do your best, and the last thing we want is to make you uncomfortable or take away ownership of your work. One more thing: Keep an open mind. At least in the Writing Center, every tutoring session is a conversation. Please don't come in completely closed off to the idea of getting help, because then we won't be able to help you at all.”—Angela, 21
“Don't be afraid to ask your teacher during or after class for help. This will not only benefit you in the lesson, but your teacher will see that you are trying to improve in his/her class and will possibly try to provide you opportunities to bump up your grade or be more aware when you are having trouble.”—Allison, 15
Take breaks. You deserve it.
“In the same way I try to keep bad moods away, I try to keep my lessons fun and light. For my student, learning English in school is an unloved obligation. Because of his learning disability, he’s not the best in class and his teacher doesn’t have the time to take care of him and to explain topics to him the way he needs. It’s my personal concern to show my student that learning English can be fun and doesn’t have to be connoted with failure. That’s why I often start with talking about trivial stuff and then slowly slip into English. It’s a casual learning atmosphere without pressure.
Sometimes it happens that halfway through, his concentration drifts away. When I realize that that happens, we will take a little break, talk about trivial things and then try to get into the topic again. I realized that taking little breaks will help you regain concentration, instead of trying to force him to keep on learning and knowing that with this, nothing would stay in his memory.” —Saskia, 18
Make sure to allocate time for extracurricular activities to help get your mind off of the stress. Homework and other difficult tasks are best performed with breaks in between. Lots of people like to play sports as a way to relax. I prefer to get involved in school clubs/councils. It really helps me enjoy the school day and keep busy!—Claire, 17