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Honing study skills

Green Shoot Media
Honing study skills
Photo: Green Shoot Media

Even the brightest student can struggle in school without a crucial set of study skills to help develop good studying habits, cope with stress and anxiety and demonstrate what he knows.

These skills start in elementary school, with tasks as simple as writing down each and every assignment in a planner and making a checklist of materials to take home at the end of the day. As students get older, their study skills will need to evolve to meet new demands, all the way into their college years. Be mindful of the importance of study skills to help your students do their best.

Types of study skills

There are many different types of study skills. Three main categories include time management skills, organizational skills and test taking skills.

Time management. Managing one’s time is a skill that will become more important each year, as the load of homework and projects gets larger. Students need to learn to make decisions about how they spend their time, whether it’s chatting with friends, spending time with family and getting schoolwork done. Each use of time, of course, is worthwhile, but deciding how to prioritize each one can be challenging.

Organizational skills. Organizing oneself and materials is a skill that will be useful for a lifetime. Help students understand that having their materials and assignments in the right place at the right time is crucial to success. One strategy is to write down assignments in a daily planner through the day, make a note of which materials will be needed, and set aside time at the end of the day to gather those materials and check them off the list. This takes practice and repetition. Another strategy is to write due dates on each assignment and put all the materials into a certain folder and into the backpack throughout the day.

Test-taking skills. Testing can be nerve-wracking to say the least. There are many ways for students to feel more at ease, from being sufficiently prepared to arriving early and having all the required materials to pacing oneself and knowing what to do when an problem is challenging. For each type of test (multiple choice, matching, fill in the blank, etc.), there are specific strategies students can learn to help increase their scores.

Stress and anxiety

It’s important to reassure students that it is OK to feel stressed or anxious while studying and talk openly with children about the fact that many students face the same challenges they are facing. Share stories from your own life about similar challenges you have faced or others’ stories about successfully overcoming similar challenges. You might consider having your student read a book about overcoming adversity or seeking outside help from a therapist. Sometimes anxiety about studying can be a symptom of a larger mental health problem.

From the “Parent & Teacher Resource Guide No. 2,” Green Shoot Media

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