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Homework and Study Suggestions

Many bright students enter middle and high school with poor study habits. They have earned good grades in the past by doing only some of the written assignments and little or no study. This works for less demanding subjects. Students often apply the same casual study habits to more challenging subjects as well. Unfortunately, challenging subjects require careful attention to assigned homework as well as extra study. The student flounders, not understanding the need for extra study and uncertain how to accomplish this new task.

Here are some hints to help you study more efficiently.

  • Middle school students should spend one to two hours daily on homework and study.
  • College-bound high school students should spend one to four hours daily. This is the norm. This is necessary to do your best and to prepare for the SAT.
  • Get enough sleep. Your brain needs sleep to function. Caffeine and sugar do not make up for lack of sleep.
  • Avoid alcohol and drugs. They will cloud your brain and impair concentration.
  • Bring books home daily. Students often feel that leaving school without books is a sign of status and arrogance. Unfortunately, this does not work.
  • Study in a bedroom, sitting at a table or desk. Do not study at the kitchen table, as the kitchen is too busy and noisy for serious study.
  • Keep your study area neat and clean. Clutter will distract you from the task at hand.
  • Keep the room a bit cool. You will fall asleep if the room is too warm.
  • Keep the TV off and keep music off or low while doing homework. Most of us can only do one thing at a time. Loud music gives your mind an excuse to drift from the task of homework.
  • Do not let an after-school job interfere with homework and study. Your number one job at this time is being a student.
  • Start your homework at a reasonable time. Remember that this will take several hours. Starting at 10:00 p.m. will not work.
  • Do your most difficult subjects first, while you are still fresh. Save your easier and more enjoyable subjects for last.
  • Take a five-minute break every 30 to 60 minutes. Your brain becomes tired after serious study and needs a brief rest.
  • Do not talk on the telephone or hang out with friends until all homework and studying are complete. Ask your family to take messages and return calls later.
  • Do assigned homework carefully. Don't just blow through it.
  • If necessary, parents can check homework nightly for completion and understanding.
  • Textbooks cannot be read like a novel. Sit at a desk with the textbook, a pencil, and a piece of paper. Read slowly and carefully, jotting down important points as you read. Memorize these important points. Pay special attention to charts and diagrams.
  • Do the study questions at the end of the chapter. Look up the answers to be sure you are correct.
  • Go over the chapter a second time, reading the words in bold face type.
  • Take notes in class and reread them at home. Memorize important points.
  • Study challenging subjects nightly. Cramming the night before the test will not work for challenging subjects.

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This information is provided by the Cleveland Clinic and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition. This document was last reviewed on: 8/10/2012...9432