In middle school, it becomes more important than ever for students to know how to study. The foundation for this is laid in elementary school, but in middle school, expectations are higher, and teachers want students to be independent learners.
What are some of the study skills students should be cultivating as they move toward high school? Here are five of the most essential:
1. Time management/creating a study schedule – Time management is a skill that new middle school students have not always mastered. Encourage your child to use a planner or homework app to keep track of work and assignments.
When it comes to upcoming quizzes and tests, students always should prepare. That means developing a study plan well in advance. Remind your child that spaced-out study sessions have proven to be much more effective than fewer, longer study sessions. Encourage your child during middle school to develop a consistent study schedule.
- Work backward from tests/quizzes when creating a schedule. • Prioritize hardest and soonest tests/quizzes.
- Incorporate study time every day leading up to tests/quizzes around other responsibilities and school hours.
2. Visual aids – Even students who learn effectively by reading and listening can benefit from visual aids like charts, flashcards, lists, visual memory devices and diagrams. When opportunities arise for your child to incorporate visual study tools, do so.
3. Practice tests – Not all teachers will use practice tests to prepare students for the real thing. However, if your student has access to mock exams or can request them, these are useful.
Another idea: have your child create his or her own practice tests, using notes and textbooks to create questions. Some texts even include summary questions at the end of chapters.
4. Taking quality notes – Note-taking is new for most middle- school students. However, writing down what a teacher says isn’t enough. Your child must learn how to take useful notes that will help him or her prepare well for quizzes and tests. Help your child develop this skill. Talk with your child’s teachers about effective methods and any tips they may have.
Your child’s notes should:
- Summarize important concepts.
- Call out key terms and information that jogs the memory for more details.
- Record essential concepts he or she should study more deeply.
5. Organization – For many new middle school students, organization is a big challenge. These students have never had to manage so many materials for separate classes before. Help your middle schooler devise an organizational system that keeps track of all physical items like handouts and syllabi, as well as any electronic files.
While organization is not exactly a study skill, being organized helps students minimize wasted time and stress so when they do sit down to study, they easily can access what they need and get focused.
Lastly, it is wise to get your child help in middle school when he or she struggles with studying or homework. If your child seems to lack discipline or tools to study effectively, you must address these issues sooner than later. Middle school is a big transition period for students and a time to help them become more independent. Honing study skills is an important part of that.
The Huntington Learning Center Gulfport is located at 8950 Lorraine Road, Unit E, Gulfport. Contact the center at (228) 206-2353.