Your daughter’s college acceptance letter has just arrived and you couldn’t be more proud. You know better than anyone how hard your child has worked to get into college. Hundreds of math assignments, plenty of essays and science projects, and of course, lots of tests and exams.
But what about hours of studying?
A Difficult Lesson for Quick Learners
For some students, studying isn’t a common practice in high school. With the same classes five days a week, it’s possible for some students to pay attention during lessons and retain the information until test time. No studying required.
While your child’s memory and attention span are admirable, they probably won’t be enough to get her an A in college courses. She’s going to have to crack open the books outside of classes, too. That can actually be a pretty difficult lesson to learn for students who generally learn lessons with ease.
Instead of sending your child off to college without any study skills, help her get in the habit of studying before her college grades — and maybe her scholarships — depend on them.
Practical Study Skills
There are many ways to absorb and retain information, and many practical study skills to learn. They key is figuring out which work best for your child. This may vary depending on the subject, too. Help your child become familiar with the different techniques so studying isn’t one more thing she has to learn during her first semester of college (along with how to live away from home, how to find her classes, and how to adjust to the brand-new college environment).
Before each of her high school tests, have her pick a technique to try:
- Rote learning. Memorize topics by using repetition, such as re-writing or re-reading notes taken during class. You can rewrite notes on flash cards to review and test your memorization before test time.
- PQRST method. This is a great way to study a chapter in your textbook and prepare for both coursework and exams.
- Preview: Look over the chapter quickly, reading headings and looking up unfamiliar terms.
- Question: Turn the headings and terms into questions you expect to be answered during the chapter.
- Read: Read the chapter as you normally would.
- Self-recitation: Close the book and write down a summary of what you read. Check what you’ve written to see what you forgot or summarized incorrectly.
- Test: Assess what you’ve learned by answering the questions you originally came up with. Check your answers and focus in on sections you missed or misunderstood.
- Summary. Summarize the lesson into a clear, organized outline where you list key ideas and important terms covered. If you’re more of a visual learner, you can create a spider diagram that begins with a central, broad idea and branches out with the finer points. This is a great way to help you organize your thoughts on a subject that you’ll be required to write an essay on, as well.
- Mnemonics and acronyms. Organize information in a way that you’ll remember more easily with the first letter of each word. This practice is also helpful for memorizing the correct spelling of words or a long list of terms. For example:
- Roy G. Biv: This name helps you to recall the colors of the rainbow. Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet.
- My Very Easy Method: Just Set Up Nine Planets: Recall the correct order of the planets from the sun with this phrase. Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto.
Studying is a personal process and not every technique will be effective for every student. The point is for your child to become familiar with studying and pick out which study skills help her learn and retain information best. By figuring this out in high school — even if she can get by with just paying attention in class — she’ll be much better prepared for the demanding coursework and tough exams that go hand-in-hand with the college experience.
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