Study Guides and Strategies
First Thing You Must Do To Become An Outstanding Student – GET ORGANIZED!!
What do you need to do to become organized? Be sure that you have what you need at hand, whether it’s
studying at home or taking notes in the classroom. Here are some suggestions of what you will need to
At Home At School
___ Agenda ___ Agenda
___ Binder/Notebooks ___ Binder/Notebooks
___ Calculator ___Calculator
___ Dictionary ___ Small Dictionary
___ Paper ___ Paper
___ Pens/Pencils ___ Pens/Pencils
___ Pencil Sharpener ___ Gym Clothes
___ Ruler ___ School Books
___ School Books ___ Watch or clock
___ Telephone Numbers &/or optional
e-mails of study buddies ___ Folder (for loose papers)
___ Watch or clock
___ Folder (for loose papers)
___ Hole punch
NOW GET ORGANIZED!
1. Make sure that you use your agenda.
2. Use the binder to organize your papers. Date all papers.
3. Create a homework folder within your binder. Place your handouts, assignments and completed tests
in the homework folder, to add to your binder sections later.
4. Set aside time to become organized. Clean out your backpack, locker and desk sorting everything by
subject. Once papers have been sorted by subject file them into the appropriate section in your binder.
5. Create a place where you can keep all your home school supplies in one place, so you won’t waste
time looking for a pen, pencil or paper!
6. Decide on a regular location to do homework. Try for a quiet and orderly place. Noise and clutter can
7. Set up a daily homework schedule. Set aside a specific block of time each day to complete homework
– AND STICK TO IT! If you know that you have an activity that will interrupt your schedule, plan
8. Make sure that you have everything you need together at the end of the school day to study and do
homework. When homework is complete pack your bag so it is ready for the following day.
9. Make sure that you keep your binder in order daily.
Study Guides and Strategies
Effective Study Habits
You can be successful in your studies if you develop and practice the following habits:
Take responsibility for yourself – Recognize that in order to succeed you must make decisions about
your priorities, your time, and your resources.
Center yourself around your values and principles – Don’t let friends and acquaintances dictate what
you consider important.
Put first things first – Follow up on the priorities you have set for yourself, and don’t let others, or
other interests, distract you from your goals.
Discover your key productivity periods and places – Study in places where you can be the most
focused and productive. Prioritize these for you’re most difficult study challenges. (Try most
challenging subjects first, before you are tired).
Consider yourself in a win-win situation – You win by doing your best and contributing your best to a
class, whether for yourself, your fellow students, or your teachers. If you are content with your
performance, a grade becomes an external check on your performance. If your grade is not what you
would like then you need to re-evaluate your performance.
First understand others, and then attempt to be understood – When you have an issue with a teacher,
for example a questionable grade, an assignment deadline extension, put yourself in the teacher’s
place. Now ask yourself how you can best make your argument given his/her situation.
Look for better solutions to problems – For example, if you don’t understand the course material,
don’t just reread the material. Try something else! Consult with the teacher, a tutor, a classmate, a
study group or a math, science, social studies lab.
Look to continually challenge yourself – Honors and Advanced Placement courses are designed to
Getting the Most Out of Your Study Time
Develop blocks of study time – select a time of the day that is most productive for you. Minimize
distractions. If the material is difficult or you have trouble staying focused, study in small blocks of time
more frequently. (Read for 15 to 20 minutes, and then take a 10 minute break, read, break, etc.)
Prioritize your assignments: begin with the most difficult subject/project first. If you happen to love math
but it is the most difficult, put it off to last, do the subject you are most challenged in or have difficulty
staying focused on.
Study in a place free from distractions. Lunch may not be the best place to study for a test. Select a spot
that is productive, where you are able to read or study without interruptions. Turn off the radio, TV, and
Use time spent riding the bus or walking to class to study “bits” of information. You can use items you
have developed using the SQ3R, to review. (SQ3R explained later).
Schedule time for important class projects. If you are aware that a project is due in two weeks do not wait
until the night before it is due to start working on the project. Your teacher has given you this length of
time for a reason. The first part of completing a project is planning the project.
Study Guides and Strategies
Do you procrastinate? To remedy procrastination:
Begin with one small project and answer these basic questions. Keep the answers as you record your
What do you want to do?
What is the final objective, the end result?
What are the major steps to get there? (Don’t get too detailed: think big).
What have you done so far? (Acknowledge that you are already part of the way there, even if it is
thinking through planning the project).
Why do you want to do this?
What is your biggest motivation? Do not concern yourself if your motivation is negative! This is
honest and a good beginning. However, if your motivation is negative re-phrase and re-work it until it
is phrased positively.
What other positive results will flow from achieving your goal? Identifying these will help you
uncover benefits that your may be avoiding. Dare to dream!
List out what stands in your way
What is in your power to change? (Examples such as managing your time, avoiding distractions
such as phone, TV, video games, etc).
What resources outside yourself do you need? Resources are not all physical. (Ex. Help from
teachers, parents, classmates, even attitude is a resource!)
What will happen if you don’t progress? It won’t hurt to scare yourself a little…
Develop your plan, list
Major, realistic steps – a project is easier when it is built in stages; Start small; add detail and
complexity as you achieve and grow.
How much time each will take – a schedule helps you keep a progress chart and reinforce that there
are way-stations on your path.
What time of day, week, etc. you dedicate yourself to work. This helps you develop a new habit of
working, build a good work environment, and distance distractions.
Rewards you will have at each goal – you should set up a reward system for yourself as you reach
each goal (ex. 10 extra minutes doing something you enjoy) and also think of what you will deny
yourself until you arrive at each goal.
Build in time for review – find a trusted friend, parent, relative or teacher to help you motivate
yourself or monitor progress.
False starts and mistakes as learning experiences. They can be more important than successes.
You know what you have a weakness for and you can work to avoid the mistake again.
Distractions and escapes – do not deny they exist (ex. I can study with the TV on…) but deny their
Emotion – admit to frustration when things don’t seem to be going right. Admit you have had a
problem, but also that you are doing something about it. (Ask for help, try something different, etc.)
Fantasy – see yourself succeeding at your goal. (It is much harder to achieve your goal if you picture
Study Guides and Strategies
Preparing for Class
Do your homework – homework is designed to strengthen the skills you have learned in class or even
to cover some material that was not discussed in class. It is to your benefit to complete homework; it
does not help your teacher.
Arrive on time for class. Walking a friend to class is not more important that arriving to class on time.
You shouldn’t expect your teacher to repeat information that you’ve missed because you were tardy or
absent from class. If you are absent you are responsible for getting the work from your teacher and
asking classmates for notes.
Avoid Distractions. Daydreaming, looking around the room, talking to a friend, passing notes and
dozing in class are not helping you pass your class. It is your job to learn in class!
Evaluate. Decide what is important and should be placed in your notes; ask questions to clarify your
Taking Notes in Class
There are many different ways to take notes in class. Here are two different ways in which you can take
notes. Ultimately you need to do what works for you.
FOLDING THE PAGE IN HALF.
If you fold your paper in half only write your class notes on half of the paper. The other half of the page
is used for notes from your book or notes once you’ve reread your class notes and you’ve omitted an item.
SKIP A LINE OR TWO, CHOOSE EITHER A PEN OR PENCIL FOR EACH METHOD.
This method of note taking isn’t as easy but some people prefer it. You would write your class notes on
every other line (or two). You can then use the blank lines for textbook notes or writing in omitted
information, remember to use a pencil or different color pen.. If you do choose to use this method you
will probably need to rewrite your notes.
Taking Notes from a Textbook
First: read a section of your textbook chapter.
Read just enough to keep an understanding of the material. Do not take notes, but rather focus on
understanding the material. It is tempting to take notes as you are reading the first time, but this is not
an efficient technique: you are likely to take down too much information and simply copy without
Second: Review the material.
Locate the main ideas, as well as important sub-points. Set the book aside. Paraphrase the
information: putting the textbook information in your own words forces you to become actively
involved with the material.
Third: Write the paraphrased ideas as your notes.
Do not copy information directly from the textbook. Add only enough detail to understand the
Finally: Review and compare your notes with the text, and ask yourself if you truly understand.
Study Guides and Strategies
Ask yourself the following questions as you read:
What is the topic of the book or reading? What issues are addressed?
What conclusion does the author reach about the issue(s)?
What are the author’s reasons for his or her statements or beliefs?
Is the author using facts, theory or faith?
Remember: Facts can be proven; theory is to be proved and should not be confused with fact.
Opinions may or may not be based on sound reasoning. Faith is not subject to
proof by its nature.
Has the author used neutral words or emotional words? Critical readers look beyond the language to
see if the reasons are clear.
Be aware of why you do, or do not, accept arguments of the author.
Another Method for taking notes from a textbook.
Fold a piece of paper in thirds long-ways and title each of the sections as follows:
What I Know* What I want to find out What I learned
*If you prefer use the first column for class notes.
Being Prepared for Your High School Careers
You are responsible for your success and failures during high school.
There is a simple way to decide how to get what you need from your high school experience.
W – What is it you want? Good grades, college, trade, etc.
D – What are you doing to get what you want? Are you studying to make good grades?
Are the courses you taking going to get you into college?
E – Evaluate what you are doing. Is what you have done to succeed in school working?
Do you have the grades that you would need for college?
P – Plan. Once you have evaluated what you’ve done, you need to plan to either make changes or
continue with what you are doing.
WDEP is an ongoing process. It is not something you use once but that you continue to use to improve
yourself and your goals.
Study Guides and Strategies
The SQ3R Reading Method (Survey, Question, Read, Recite, Review)
Survey – Before you read survey the chapter.
The title, headings and subheadings
Captions under pictures, charts, graphs or maps
Review questions or teacher-made study guides
Introductory and concluding paragraphs
Question – Question while you are surveying.
Turn the title, heading and/or subheading into questions;
Read questions at the end of the chapters or after each subheading;
Ask yourself, “What did my teacher say about his chapter or subject when it was assigned or talked
about in class”;
Ask yourself, “What do I already know about this subject?”
Read – When you begin to read.
Look for answers to the questions you first raised:
Answer questions at the beginning or end of chapters or study guides
Reread captions under pictures, graphs, etc.
Note all the underlined, italicized, bold printed words or phrases.
Study graphic aids.
Reduce your speed for difficult passages/material.
Stop and reread parts that are not clear.
Read only a section at a time and recite after each section.
Recite – Recite after you’ve read a section.
Orally ask yourself questions about what you have just read and/or summarize, in your own words,
what you read.
Take notes from the text but write the information in your own words.
Underline/highlight important points in your notes that you’ve just read.
Use the method of recitation which best suits your particular learning style but remember, the more
senses you use the more likely you are to remember what you read
Triple Strength Learning: Seeing, Saying, Hearing
Quadruple Strength Learning: Seeing, Saying, Hearing, Writing!
Review – Review is an ongoing process.
Day One: After you have read and recited the entire chapter, write questions for those points you have
highlighted/underlined in your notes.
Day Two: Page through the text and your notebook to reacquaint yourself with the important points.
Make flash cards for those questions that give you difficulty. Develop devices for material that needs
to be memorized (dates, names, etc.)
Day Three, Four, and Five: Alternate between your flash cards and notes and test yourself (orally or in
writing) on questions you formulated. Make additional flash cards if necessary.
Weekend: Using the textbook and notebook make a Table of Contents – list all the topics and sub-
topics you need to know from the chapter. From the Table of Contents, make a Study Sheet. Recite
the information orally and in your own words as you put the study sheet together.
Now that you’ve collected all the information you need for the chapter, periodically review the Study
Sheet so that at test time you will not have to cram, you will be familiar with the information.