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Tips for Teens and Studying

Updated on September 5, 2012

Setting good study habits is the first step to success, because whether you know it or not, these are the things that will stay with you and help you throughout the rest of your life no matter what your future endeavors are.

Here are some tips for teens that will help them in high school and beyond.

BE STRICT ABOUT YOUR TIME

One of the first things you should do is set a certain time aside strictly for studying and try your best to stick to it. That means don’t blow off your study time to hang out with friends or watch something on TV. Discipline is one of the key ingredients in establishing a good routine for studying, but the only way to cultivate any amount of discipline is practicing. What does practicing require? Time. Give yourself about a month before you really get into the swing of things where you actually feel odd if you’re not spending your designated time cracking the books. Starting with an hour the first week shouldn’t be hard even if you’re not used to studying much at all, but you should graduate to 2 hours by the following week so that you’re used to a good haul just in case a more intense study session is needed in the future for midterms or finals.

SHUT OUT THE NOISE

Shut off the TV, radio, don’t text or hold conversations over the phone, and unless it’s incorporated into what you’re studying, don’t even consider turning browsing through the internet. First you’re going to tell yourself that you’re only going to see how many followers you have on Twitter; then you’re going to go from there to Tumblr, then on to Weheartit, then to youtube, then a game or message on Facebook, then to Amazon, and the next thing you know you’ve spent the time you’ve set aside to study updating pictures and ordering a trampoline for a birthday party for your little brother. Same thing goes for fiddling with your phone. Replying to one or two messages is going to turn into a conversation and then you’re going to either want to go out, or you’re going to end up forgetting to study at all and you’re going to spend most of that time replying to people who are already done with their studying. Don’t fool yourself into thinking you concentrate better with the TV on either because the next thing you know you’re going to turn around and watch scene after scene of some show or movie until you’ve spent the entire time watching something you can wait and see later. Maybe you can study with the radio on low, but a lot of people get distracted easily, especially when they’re not used to having the discipline to sit there and pour over school issued books and hand scribbled notes (or the ones you printed off). The best thing you can do is shut it all off and try to concentrate on the task at hand. It’s the only way you’re going to get into the habit of studying.

STUDY YOUR FAVORITE SUBJECT FIRST

It’s very easy to get caught up on a difficult subject and lose track of time trying to figure out something that was hard for you to grasp even in class when the teacher was going over it. It’s also very easy to get bored when you know it’s your time and you can be doing anything else and there’s not an authority figure in front of you telling you to pay attention. It’s usually true what they say when people tell you time flies when you’re having fun. I know that for the most part any lessons that are taught to you in school aren’t really “fun”, but there must be some subject that you thoroughly enjoy. My advice to you is to work on the subject that you enjoy most, first. By the time you get to the heavy stuff I doubt you’ll be so tired your eyes would be crossing and at least you would have gotten some of your work out of the way by tackling something you like more.

TRY TO EAT HEALTHY (CAFFEINE IS NOT NUTRITIONAL)

I’m not stupid, I realize that caffeine gives you that little extra boost that you probably need to get over the hump, and I’m not saying to stay away from it completely because that would be totally hypocritical of me (I’m hopped up on the stuff right now), but learn to eat healthy. With one good habit follows more and you’ll be surprised that when you keep up with bad habits how they follow you later on in life and have a tendency to multiply. Eating healthy is one of those things that you can start practicing along with studying. I’m not saying change up your entire lifestyle, but it does help to incorporate fresh fruits and vegetables into your diet, cut out the fried fatty stuff (that’s actually something I can tell you without remorse; I don’t care how skinny you are, if I can stop eating fried foods, anybody can because I was a big fan of it), reduce your artificial food colorings by about half (you’d be surprised to know how many of your foods have artificial colors in them that could be harmful to you; read the labels on what you or your parents buy regularly and try not to eat so much of it), and lay off on all the sodas. You’ve heard all your life that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but what they should tell you is that ALL your meals are the most important ones of the day. We all want that caffeine boost every now and again, and it most definitely can be addictive, but at least try and balance that with some healthy snacks and meals. You’ll be thankful you did in the future.

GET A TUTOR

Don’t be ashamed to say that you need help with your studies. What’s the point of spending all that time going over math problems or reading things that you don’t even understand? Going over something for 4 hours is absolutely pointless if you don’t get it or aren’t able to retain the information because it’s either too much or too complex (or you think it is). Sometimes a tutor not only explains things better than your instructor, but they can also show you tricks on how they can remember things when they have a lot to study. Just because time has gone by doesn’t mean that kids don’t still get teased for not being as smart or seemingly “quick” as their peers. And you’re not “slow” just because you need a little help every now and again, or someone to explain something more carefully. And parents, pay attention to your kids no matter how old they are. Just because they’re old enough to cook their own meals and maybe drive doesn’t mean that they still don’t need you as parents anymore. If you see that they need help, get it for them. They may be upset today, but they’ll be grateful you did it later.

CHOOSE YOUR STUDY BUDDY (OR BUDDIES) WISELY

There’s really no point in having your close friends that goof around with you in class or after school as study buddies because you’re not going to get anything done. You may be serious for half an hour, but trust me, time will be ticking by and before you know it it’ll be time for all of you to get to bed so you’ll be up for school the next day. Choose people who are serious about their studies if you’re the type that wants company or help when you study. And don’t choose someone who you know is going to just hand over all the answers to you. If you’re serious about studying and not just getting a passing grade, that won’t be on your mind anyway. Sometimes we do the wrong things when we’re young thinking that we’ll have enough time later to make corrections or the right choices and by then it’s too later.

Any advice I’ve given here, I give from personal experience and personal mistakes. These are magazine copied tips or something I’m ripping off someone else. Trust me when I say that adopting good habits when you’re young is really preparing you for your future. When people say that, it’s not just a bunch of bull. This is stuff you’re going to have to live by later on. So live wisely now, so you won’t have to pay for it dearly later.

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