Tips for academic success

High school students have a lot going on — especially as they start preparing to apply to colleges — so here are some practical tips to combat typical study and organizational problems.

YOU HAVE TROUBLE WAKING UP ON TIME

Set two alarms, about 5-8 minutes apart, and put one out of reach from your bed. If you have to get out of bed to turn it off, you’ll likely stay awake.  

DEALING WITH DISTRACTIONS

If you know you get distracted by checking email or Facebook, it can be helpful to turn off the phone entirely. You will be less inclined to succumb to these distractions if it’s less easy to indulge.

If noises, conversations or other mammals distract you, close the door.  You could even try wearing some headphones with soft, instrumental music.

LEAVE NOTHING BEHIND

Create a “launch pad” by your exit door. Every night place everything you’ll need the next morning (your backpack, keys, phone, homework, books) on the launch pad.  Don’t try to remember everything in the morning when you’re tired.

Also consider leaving yourself a note or schedule at the launch pad so in the morning you can remember what’s important for that day.

WORK WITH, NOT AGAINST, PROCRASTINATION

Sometimes it’s okay to procrastinate – the pressure of an approaching deadline can highly motivate some people to do their best work. That being said, give yourself little mini-deadlines along the way to make the final push more doable.  Lay the groundwork early, do the legwork late.

SCHEDULE YOUR BREAKS – TREAT YOURSELF

Apply the principal of exercise intervals to studying. Instead of alternating sprinting and walking, alternate study and play. Set a timer and work hard for 30 or 60 minutes then play for the next 5 minutes. Then do it again. Just be sure you quit playing as readily as you quit working!

MAKE A MAP, THEN FOLLOW IT.

Plan out your week on Sunday night.
Plan out your weekend on Friday afternoon.

Every morning, decide 3 priorities you want to accomplish and write them down.  Check yourself on it before bed each night. This is called self-monitoring.