By: Mandi D.
Welcome back to the school year, GCA! It’s already November, so we’re already almost done with the first semester! While you’re all probably mostly settled back, it’s nice to get some tips on how to better improve your school performance for this year and the remainder of your education. Here are some strategies and tips for students of all ages for the following school year!
We’ve all been there. It’s the day before EOCs and you’re desperately cramming everything you can to make sure that you don’t flunk. This… is a really, really bad plan, guys. It’s more liable that you’ll burn yourself out and not remember a thing. Instead, make sure that you study everything throughout the entire year instead of all at once.
The specifics of how you study will vary depending on your learning style, schedule, and personality type. Ultimately, that’s what you have to figure out for yourself and no article can really help you. However, I can give you some ideas for the different learning styles. There are considered to be four different learning styles: visual, auditory, read-write, and kinesthetic.
Visual learners mostly learn new information from, as you’ve likely guessed, visuals. Some characteristics of visual learners are remembering information that has been read over heard information, diagrams and charts helping you understand, taking notes during class and presentations, using colors to organize information, preferring to work alone over group-work, asking a lot of questions, and preferring to see the teacher. Studying for visual learners may be better by taking notes directly off the board, attending Class Connect sessions, using flash cards, and color coding information.
Auditory learners learn new information from audio. Some characteristics of auditory learners include remembering information easily, enjoying active discussion participation, recalling information from hearing it, possibly taking notes, and typically having a good memory. Studying for auditory learners may be better by reading out loud when studying, joining a study group, attending Class Connect sessions, and utilizing videos.
Kinesthetic learners learn new information by doing physical activities. Some characteristics of kinesthetic learners include excelling at sports, drama, or art, having trouble sitting still, enjoying building, making, or creating things, and they learn best by doing. Studying for kinesthetic learners may be better by playing a study game, taking breaks after certain amounts of time, walking around while reviewing notes, or tracing notes with your finger.
Read-write learners learn new information the traditional way. Some characteristics of read-write learners are doing well in a conventional classroom, preferring written directions, enjoying reading and writing, taking thorough notes in class, preferring studying by themselves, and working best in quiet areas. Studying for read-write learners may be better by taking and rewriting notes, keeping handouts, using bullet points, reviewing notes after class, and turning visual information into statements.
Whether you love or hate school, focusing on coursework, Class Connects, and assignments can be difficult at times. That’s why it is really important to have a plan on how you’re going to conquer every challenge today. You’ll need to really understand where you end up going off topic and find the way to curtail it. Some major challenges in focusing can be: physical environment, virtual environment, motivation, and planning.
First off is your physical environment. This is where you’re doing coursework, Class Connects, studying, etc. You should have a designated area where you work on school stuff that is not your bed. The best place is either a table or a desk where you can keep your laptop, especially if you hook the mouse into it. Any supplies you need should be close by, whether it be a physical notebook, textbooks, or a mouse. Make sure that the area is brightly lit (like with a lamp) and quiet. If you personally need some kind of noise, there are plenty of websites online that generate background noise. Try to avoid actual songs, though, because those can deter you from your concentration.
Next is your virtual environment. This is basically your entire laptop. Try to have everything organized so that you aren’t easily distracted. Put files away to specific folders, bookmark your favorites accordingly, and personalize your computer so that it best fits your needs. To take it a step forward, have a browser or Google Chrome profile set up just for classwork! Another tip is to install some kind of website blocker program or extension onto your computer. You can use them to block certain websites for a designated amount of time. The one I use is called ColdTurkey, but you can find the one that works best for you!
After that, it’s your motivation. Again, school can be boring. However, you need to be motivated enough to get through it. This can be done by having a punishment if you don’t get everything done on time, or having a reward if you do! You can also give yourself timed breaks for a certain amount of time worked so that you can relax for a few minutes.
Finally, you need to plan to focus. This can be schedules, to-do lists, not-to-do lists, goals, etc. List out what you need to get done first. If you think that you’ll have the time and the discipline, you can even list out what you want to get done after everything required is done. For example: a Forensic Science exam takes precedence over that club meeting.
Part of being an online student is that we have less physical objects to keep up with, but more files and folders. Depending on extra-curriculars, classes, and any other activities in your life, this can get even more extensive. That’s why it’s just as important to have an organized system for virtual schooling as brick-and-mortar schooling. One popular way is to create folders on your computer for each class so that you can store them documents for easy keeping. Separate class information to each class, club information to each club, etc. This makes it a lot easier to find things faster and more efficiently.
As you probably noticed, GCA’s deadlines are much more relaxed about deadlines than some brick-and-mortar schools. However, that doesn’t change the fact that you need to work on meeting them in a timely and efficient fashion. Take care to note when deadlines are and for what. Mark it on a calendar or an app on your phone. Make plans to work on the project for several days before the deadline. It’s best to be early with an assignment than late.
Focus on your individual needs and requirements for school. The stuff that works for you may not work for me and vice versa. Don’t subscribe to some study belief just because it’s popular or works for other people. As long as it works for you, then it’s right. Take care and nail this school year!