#MondayMotivation-10 tips to motivate you to study

If senioritis (or junioritis, sophmoritis, or freshmanitis for that matter) is kicking in here are some great tips to help you get motivated to study.

  1. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing.  So often, we set ourselves up to fail by telling ourselves that we must do everything we can to get a perfect on the test or we may as well not even try.  Procrastination is sometimes a defense mechanism against the possibility of failure. If you put things off, you’ll at least have an excuse as to why you didn’t succeed, whereas if you try and fail, you have no one to blame but yourself.  Don’t fall into this mindset.  Classes in school are very rarely pass or fail.  If you can put in 30 minutes and it can earn you a B but it would take you two hours to earn an A, at least put insometime so that you can have a decent, if not perfect, result.
  2. Studying doesn’t have to be miserable.  Ask yourself what you can do to make your studying experience more pleasant.  Do you like having music on in the background?  Is there a favorite food or beverage that you can reserve for study times?  Is there a relaxing place that you can go?  Figure out what is within your control to make the studying experience more tolerable.
  3. Schedule a clear beginning and end to your studying.  If you have a giant chunk of time when you will be “studying” but you know you will spend most of your time being distracted, you won’t get much done at all.  Start with a clear beginning and a clear end to your studying and even though it seems like you won’t have enough time to finish things, you will be far more efficient and focused this way.
  4. Ask for structure if you can’t get it from within.  If you know that you are unable to create a structured study plan for yourself, enlist the help of others to make it happen.  It’s just like having a personal trainer to help you get in shape!  Here are some ideas:
    • Ask a teacher if you can come into his or her room to study so you won’t be distracted by other students in study hall.
    • Ask a friend or parent to hold your cell phone or video games for you until you get what you need done.
    • Go to your parent’s place of work to get things done after school and then come home when you are ready to have fun.
  5. Get the studying over with so you can enjoy uninterrupted fun.  Realize that you will enjoy watching TV, hanging out with your friends and playing video games much, much moreif you do not have any homework or tests hanging over your head.  Don’t try to multitask by studying a little and having fun a little.  Focus 100% on studying and you will be much more efficient and effective.  Then you can focus 100% on enjoying yourself.
  6. Get big picture perspective from others on how studying affects things long term. If you talk to your classmates about studying, they will probably just enable you by telling you how little they care about studying as well.  Instead, gain valuable perspective and motivation by talking to those who are older than you.  Ask them what knowledge and skills they wish they had later in life.  What you will probably find is that they wish they had learned the stuff that is much more difficult to learn later on:  math and science concepts, foreign languages, better writing and communication skills, etc.  If you chat with people who are further along life’s journey, they may help you see the path you should take.
  7.  Remember that you are learning SKILLS.  The actual content of what you learn will not be nearly as important as your ability to learn.  Will you have to compute the area of a circle every day of your professional life?  No, but you willhave to do analytical problem solving.  Will you need to know the cultures and histories of different countries to make more money?  Probably not, but you willbenefit from being able to put yourself in the shoes of others.  Does it really matter whether you have a good essay on a novel you read in English?  Long term, it probably won’t, but it will be extremely valuable to know how to communicate effectively.  Whenever you feel that what you are learning is pointless, remember that as long as you are learning how to think, read, write, and problem solve, you are indeed preparing yourself for the future.
  8. Surround yourself with good people.  If your friends keep you from achieving your goals and want to bring you down to their level, maybe it’s time to find some new friends.  It is very hardto overcome the influence of friends who pressure you into not caring about things – they will make you feel like a nerd and an outcast if you care too much.  Keep your focus on your long-term goals and surround yourself with people who will help you become the best person you can be.   
  9. Use your boredom to find more efficient methods! Look at being bored as a good thing!  Use your laziness as motivation to find the most efficient method you can to learn what you need in the shortest time possible.  For example, if you can’t stand filling out a review sheet, make a study group with your friends and divide up the review sheet among yourselves and share the answers with one another.  If you hate learning flashcards, use a site like quizlet.com to make your own.  If you hate taking notes while you read, use a site like course-notes.org to supplement your understanding of the text.  Learning what works best for you will help you as you go on to college and professional life, because you will have much greater control over how you structure your studying.
  10. Learn GRIT. No matter what you do in life, there will be times when you need to do something that is not all that enjoyable to do.  The better that you can become mentally tough by having a great deal of personal grit,  the more likely you can overcome obstacles that stand in your way.  Grit is arguably one of the most important life skills that doing homework can teach you.

I hope you found these ideas helpful.  If so, please share it with your friends!  Thanks, Brian Stewart

Ten Resources to Help you Ace your School Tests

  1. Online Textbook Resources.  Virtually every major textbook has a companion website, complete with practice quizzes, chapter summaries, and multimedia learning tools.  Strangely, most teachers never have their students use these resources.  Use them yourself!   Try to find the exact companion website for your textbook through Google.  If that fails, try to find a textbook that covers the same topic as your class but which actually has a good companion website that you can use. Here are a couple of great examples:

https://www.mheonline.com/

http://www.thinkcentral.com/index.htm

  1. Khan Academy.  Khan is a wonderful website that has inspired much of what I have created and written.  Especially with Math and Science, Khan can give you in-depth instruction on topics that are giving you difficulty:

http://www.khanacademy.org/

  1. Youtube.   You will find tutorials on virtually any subject – when I taught high school, some of the “philosophy in 30 seconds” videos were remarkable in helping students quickly grasp a difficult concept.  Search for yourself:

http://www.youtube.com/

  1. School Resources.  Your library may have access to fantastic subscription databases and study tools that you can use.  They probably paid hundreds or thousands of dollars for these, so put them to use!  If your school library doesn’t have them, check with your public library.  For an article detailing some of the changes that school libraries have made, please see here:

http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2012/04/01/high_school_libraries_more_than_just_a_place_to_study_these_days_1333162611/

  1. Past Tests.  Talk to your teacher about using past tests for practice, or try to borrow them from other students (without cheating of course!).  Using these will help you see how the teacher generally asks questions so that you will know how to focus your studying.
  2. Course-notes.org.  They have a great collection of subject notes, particularly for AP exams.  Great to use as a supplement to your textbook:

http://www.course-notes.org/

  1. Powerpoint Search.  There is no need for you to learn from a terrible powerpoint in class – there are PLENTY of powerpoints out there that you can use free of charge.  Simply go to google, type in the term for which you want a powerpoint, and then type in “ filetype:ppt ”.  When I taught high school, I often used this to save time in making lecture notes for my classes.
  2. College Help Sites for their students, (especially with writing).  Many top-notch colleges have compiled outstanding resources for their struggling students, and you can access them for yourself!  Here are two of my favorites:

http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/

http://www.dartmouth.edu/~writing/materials/student/toc.shtml

  1. Ask students in same class at other schools to share what their teacher has done.  If you are in an Advanced Placement or Honors Course, reach out to your friends in other schools. Those schools may have teachers of the same course you are in is doing a much better job than your teacher.  See what resources, notes, and old tests you can check out from them.
  2. Purchase the teacher editions and AP resources yourself.  As long as you are not cheating by looking at a test bank that you know a teacher is using to generate test questions, I see nothing wrong with supplementing your learning by acquiring the textbook teacher editions and resources for yourself.  If several of your peers are in a similar situation, pool your money and purchase the book together.  You can find the teacher editions for most textbooks on amazon.com.  If you would like access to teacher resources for AP courses, here is where you can find them:

https://store.collegeboard.com/sto/enter.do

I hope you found this article helpful.  If so, please share it with your friends!  Thanks, Brian Stewart

5 Steps to Your DREAM High School Experience, by Intern Olivia Turk

  1. Decide

Determine how you want to craft your high school experience by taking various classes and participating in different extracurriculars. Some may want to attend an Ivy League school, while others may want to attend their parent’s alma mater. For example, if you want to attend college on an athletic scholarship, begin thinking as early as freshman year about how to accomplish that goal. It could mean playing on the varsity athletic team for all four years or participating in both school and traveling state teams. Everyone’s path is different, but be sure to plan out the steps early so that you can reach your goals by the end of your high school experience.

 

  1. Reach

Expand your academic and extracurricular activities to be the best that you can be. Whether that means taking more than one math course during the school year or adding Advance Placement classes into your schedule, take the most rigorous course schedule that YOU can handle and be successful in. Just because your friends are taking AP US History, does not mean that that is the class that you have to excel in as well. Of course, if you have the academic ability or want to stretch yourself by taking higher level courses, intermediate and advanced courses are great, but always be prepared for the work load.

 

  1. Excitement

Be excited about what you are learning in your classes. By being excited, studying for tests and preparing class projects becomes so much easier. The simplest way to have enthusiasm is to pick a class schedule with courses that have curriculum topics that excite your personal interests. Two of the biggest mistakes that students make when choosing their course schedule are choosing classes that their friends have picked and choosing classes that they think look impressive to colleges. Instead, pick classes because you are excited to immerse yourself in the curriculum.

 

  1. Achieve

This is where students will spend most of their time: studying for tests, completing homework assignments and preparing for standardized tests, like the ACT and SAT. The most important part of being successful in high school, and even other areas of life, is to put in the time and effort to receive results. Of course, students need to remember to spend free time doing other activities, like going to football games or hanging out with friends, rather than studying all of the time, but the primary focus of high school is the educational component and how to make the most of the opportunities offered to you at your high school.

 

  1. Making a plan of action

The overall consensus that I’ve gained from students is to plan ahead. As early as eighth grade, map out a high school curriculum that interests you. Take basic courses during your freshman or sophomore years in order to take the rigorous courses that colleges look for when you become an upperclassman. By taking prerequisite courses, you will be prepared to take the step into the Honors, AP or IB world. Also, creating a plan for your “dream college” should be completed early so that when the time comes for applying to schools, you are not stressed out with deciding where you want to spend another four years of your education.

 

With these five simple steps, you will be on the road to a successful high school experience!

–Olivia Turk is currently a High School Senior at Dublin Jerome High School.

Post-Secondary Options for High School Students

Many ambitious students find that the courses they would like to take are simply not offered in their high schools. Fortunately, many states allows high school students to do post-secondary enrollment at a variety of institutions. Why is this beneficial?

1. Post-secondary coursework will easily transfer to college. You will have minimal worries about whether a school will accept a certain AP or IB score. If a school sees that you have completed a rigorous college course in a subject, such as calculus, physics or chemistry, they will likely give you credit for it.

2. It saves money. Post-secondary coursework is just like high school coursework in that it is free! If you can complete a year or two of college when it is free to do so, why not make it happen?

3. It will look good on your college applications. Taking rigorous college courses will demonstrate to universities that you are absolutely prepared for college work. You might also be able to get a letter of recommendation from a well-known professor.

4. It can be a great opportunity for home-schooled students to demonstrate college competency. Check with your local schools to ask about funding for home-schooled students.

With college costs rising higher than the rate of inflation, please take advantage of this program!