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Author Topic: High School -- Grades  (Read 13040 times)
Jenett
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« Reply #2: February 19, 2008, 10:49:55 am »

I can't seem to really master the topics, and I want some tips on how to study. How do you guys study, prepare for tests, and overall do your best in classes. Have any tips in memorization?

This is not uncommon in high school - especially about half way through.

There's a combination of reasons why:

* Some people with previously high grades didn't necessarily develop really good study skills. The skills they had may not be suitable for more advanced or challenging material - or for topics which are not as intuitive for them.

* In later high school, you often start taking more classes that really are challenging, and that encourage different ways of thinking. Some people do really well at swapping between modes. Other people either have trouble swapping, or have one or two courses that just are always going to be harder for them.

(I spent my 11th grade year with a high C+ in physics, because of a combination of previous math experience - I had less than most of my class - and because some of the approaches to the topic just weren't the way I learned best. I worked *really* hard on that class, far harder than my English and historiy classes where I had As. I did fine on the achievement test, and I can still discuss the theory behind it intelligently, but I had a horrible time with problem sets and labs.)

* Teachers sometimes have different standards later in high school than earlier in your education - they often want you to start going beyond simply giving back what they've told you, and want further analysis or your own thoughts to be included in new ways. It takes time and practice to learn how to do this (but it's a really useful and necessary skill for all sorts of reasons.)

* Every so often, you hit teachers who either you don't mesh with (for example, they use a teaching style that is very different from your preferred learning style), or who grade unusually harshly for your school. Chances are, you'd know if this were true for you - but working on the previous things in this list will help if this one is also true.

So how do you deal with it? Having some idea which of these it is will help you get started. For example, if you're getting lots of comments back on your assignments that say "Give me more analysis", that'd be a sign that your teachers are looking for something more than you're giving them.

A good place to start is to ask your teachers for help - they can give you the best idea of where to focus on improving your grades. They may also have suggestions for resources.

If your problem is in remembering material (like for tests), ask if they can suggest study skills resources or see if there are other people in your class (who are interested in doing well and have compatible study approaches) you could study with. The school I work at has someone who helps teach study skills, as well as peer tutors for some subjects.

If it's a learning style issue, see what you can do to put material in a learning style that's most compatible for you. For example, if you have a teacher who uses a very visual style (lots of diagrams, for example), and you have a more kinesthetic one (feeling and space), you might try 'acting out' the diagram and seeing how it works, or moving pieces (stones, pieces of candy, whatever) around that represent the numbers you're working with. If you learn things related to music easily, you might try coming up with chants or tunes that help remind you of what you're learning. (Think the ABC song!)

(Former teenager, but I work in a high school library: I see a lot of people figuring out how they learn.)
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