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Home > Preparing for College > Prepare at School > How to Succeed in School


How to Succeed in School

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Not only should you take the recommended classes, you should do your best in them. Here are a few tips to help you make the grade:

Take notes even if your teachers don't require it. Think you'll look silly if you're the only one taking notes? You won't look too cool if you don't pass high school.

  • Try to pick out the main ideas, but don't write down everything your teacher says.
  • Ask questions and then write down the answer.
  • Copy any formulas and examples your teacher writes down for the class.
  • Make the important points stand out using colored hi-liters or by underlining.
  • Ask your teacher what will be on the test if you're having trouble knowing what to write down.

Listen and ask questions. Still afraid of looking stupid? Don't worry about it. If you've got a question about something, chances are your classmates do too.

  • Review your notes and assignments before class.
  • Give your teacher your full attention and concentrate on what is being said.
  • Relate the topic to what you already know and listen for main ideas.
  • Make eye contact with your teacher and take notes.
  • Ask questions if you don't understand, but try not to interrupt your teacher. Raise your hand or wait until your teacher pauses or asks for questions.

Study. Yeah, that's right. Study. Read, review and analyze class material so you know it. This takes time, effort and a quiet place. If you learn how to study now, you'll be way ahead before you even start college.

  • Ask for help if you're having trouble. You may need to ask more than one person.
  • Have a special area for studying where you won't be distracted.
  • Study in small "chunks" and take regular breaks. Try not to cram.
  • Have a regular study routine to make studying a habit.
  • Study with a friend or group and share information.

Read. You can read whatever you want: Sports Illustrated, Jet, The New York Times, comic books, Harry Potter, your Cheerios box, online blogs or web articles...whatever! Reading increases your brainpower.

  • Look up words you don't understand in the dictionary.
  • Read assignment questions first to help you identify key points.
  • Take breaks from reading to write down what you learn.
  • Read outside of class to improve your reading skills.
  • Read out loud with your friends, classmates or parents.

Write. Writing is a way to express yourself: your ideas, opinions and knowledge. And you may do a lot of it in college and on the job.

  • Write a little every day. Try keeping a daily journal to make a habit of writing.
  • Read outside class to increase your vocabulary and understanding of grammar.
  • Break up long writing sessions into shorter periods with regular breaks.
  • Let your writing sit for a while and then come back to it.
  • Read your writing out loud or have someone read it to you.
  • Edit someone else's writing and let that person edit yours.

Do the math. Even if you're struggling in math, stay with it. Knowing math gives you options. It opens doors to good jobs in computers, engineering and business. And it helps your mind get organized.

  • Take math problems one step at a time.
  • Do your math homework every day. Falling behind will make it that much harder.
  • Ask for help and study with friends if you are having problems understanding a concept.

Sit in the front row. Or close to the front. Pretend you want to be there, like you do at a concert or movie. Don't be worried about looking like a geek. Imagine how geeky you'll look when you're 35 and watching game shows for a living. The front row doesn't seem so bad now, does it?


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