With the winter holidays over and summer far in the future, school can seem endless at this time of year and it’s easy to get down in the dumps. It may seem tempting to not pay attention in class or to skimp on studying, but your test and quiz grades will reflect these bad habits. Although there may be six of weeks of winter, some handy studying tips and tricks will make the second half of the year feel like a breeze.

1. Taking notes in class is key.

The real test preparation begins well before the test is even announced. If you don’t take good notes in class, you won’t have anything to study from. Some teachers upload their notes online, in which case a quick trip to their website to print them out can save you lots of time and trouble. If you’re somebody who types faster than they write, ask a teacher if you can use your laptop to take notes on. Pens, highlighters, and pencils are must haves for neat, readable notes,and although it may be hard to focus, your future self will thank you.

2. Study guides are your best friends.

Most teachers will hand out a study guide or at the very least an outline before a big test. First things first, don’t lose this piece of paper. Keep it in a safe, organized place and you’ll be saved chunks of time rifling through your backpack to find it. Begin reading through the study guide a week before the test and make sure to highlight the most important things. If you have multiple highlighters, color coordinating your highlighting to different topics can help to organize your thoughts.

3. Divide and conquer.

Make a list of what you need to accomplish whilst studying. Break every main idea into several smaller topics and study them one at a time. Breaking things down like this will help you to see what you have left to do. Assign an amount of time to each topic and make sure to stick to that time. It’s better to have a general overview of everything than to know some information thoroughly and the rest not at all. When you finish a task, cross it off and give yourself a short break. Studying for too long at a time can wear you out and you’re less likely to remember the information.

4. Quiz yourself.

Study apps like Quizlet can provide you with mini games and quizzes which will help you to prepare for the real deal. If technology isn’t your thing, write the information down and test yourself with index card flashcards. You can also ask a friend or a relative to quiz you, or look up online tutorials with apps like Khan Academy. Science proves that the harder it is to remember a piece of information while quizzing ourselves, the easier it will be to remember in the future.

5. Review days are always a good thing.

Some teachers will provide a review day before a big test, so take advantage of that time. Instead of daydreaming or chatting with your friends, pay attention to what the teacher is saying and make sure to take notes because chances are these will be the most important things to remember for the future. Remember that review days are for asking questions, so if you know one’s coming up, make a list of topics and ideas that you still don’t fully understand and make sure to concentrate and take notes on whatever the teacher tells the class.

Summer sure seems far in the distance and for now academics are here to stay. The better prepared you are for upcoming tests, the happier, healthier, and smarter you’ll be. These tips can help but the most important thing is just to make sure you understand the information. Once you do that, the days will fly by and summer will be right around the corner.

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