A month of school is now under your belts: new teachers, new subjects, and new study habits! With this comes learning how to adapt to each teacher’s individual teaching and assessment style. Some teachers care about the small specific details; others focus on the more general, overarching concepts. Though it can be a challenge to adapt to all these different styles, it’s also a great way to develop your study skills across disciplines and identify your own learning strengths and weaknesses.
By this time, you have probably taken a quiz or test in every class. Use these, along with homework scores, in order to see what each teacher finds the most important, and then modify your study habits for the best fit. The table below offers some examples of how to separate subjects, teacher “type,” and some ways to study best for that individual class.
|Type of Class||Style of Assessment||Studying Tips|
|Math and Economics||No Partial Credit||-Pay attention to details
-Small mistakes matter
-Do things in the exact steps the teacher does in the notes
-Learn exact definitions
-Do lots of practice problems
|Long, complicated word problems (much like ACT/SAT math problems)||-Breaking down word problems into simpler steps and annotating important pieces
-Understanding the different vocabulary: ‘less than’ means subtract, ‘more than’ means add, ‘of’ means divide, etc.
-Start simple and work your way to more complex problems
|Harder tests than homework||-Find problems in the book that the teacher didn’t assign
-Fully understand the easier questions and recognize how to use those steps to solve longer/harder questions
|English||Grammar and Vocabulary Based Tests||-Learn the specific rules and definitions
-Ask questions about concepts you may not remember from prior classes
-Proofread your essays for the concepts you’re learning in class (if you’re working on semicolons in class, use them in your writing!)
-Try to use your vocabulary words in your speech and writing
-Make vocabulary flashcards and find a creative way to remember a definition (associate it with an image, another word, etc.)
|Literature Focus||-Work on your annotation skills, and make sure you’re “actively reading” at home:
-Pay attention to theme and, in your books, note the evidence of the themes you discuss in class
-Note the development and changes of characters as they evolve over the course of a work
-Note repetition of specific words, symbols, etc.
-Consider using an audiobook to follow along if you’re more of an auditory learner than a visual processor
|Writing At-Home Essays||-Outline: brainstorm possible ideas, and come up with a central idea or thesis that works with the prompt + all details you plan to address in the essay.
-Write: getting words on the paper is essential–don’t focus on perfection for the first draft.
-Revise: delete any unnecessary words or sentences, and save space for the important analysis; make sure your paragraphs relate back to your central idea.
-Feedback: Have a peer and/or your teacher read through your work to make sure it’s cohesive and organized.
|Writing In-Class Essays||-Always make time to outline and plan out your paragraphs + their content in advance
-Manage your time: your introduction and your conclusion are not as important as the body of your essay, so make sure you’re not spending 50% of your allotted time on the perfect intro!
|History and Government||Concept Based||-Explain overarching ideas and understand how wider concepts apply to different events
-Know some specifics (dates, people, locations, etc.) to back your ideas of these concepts
-Answers are subjective: as multiple responses could be correct, make sure your answers are well-evidenced.
|Date/Event Based||-Employ your favorite memorization techniques, but this usually means repetition and daily practice. Take 15-30 minutes each day leading up to an exam to reinforce your content.
-Focus on dates, names, and order of events
-Answers are objective!
-Make flashcards or use a quizlet for the class to help you stay organized.
-Make and understand drawings of the different cycles, i.e. Photosynthesis, Kreb’s, nitrogen, etc.
-Make your own flashcards and USE them
|Physics||-Memorizing and applying formulas (know what each formula is used for and what it is not used for)
-Understanding new math topics(vectors)
-Understand that the same math rules used in math class apply to physics formulas
-Each chapter builds on previous chapters, so make sure you’re clear on all prior concepts and work hard to not fall behind.
-Draw it out and use diagrams all the time! This will help you visualize challenging concepts.
|Chemistry||-Based in the concepts and basic math
-Most important math topic is ratios, so make sure you understand this fundamental idea
-Memorize the common elements (i.e. H, C, N, O, F, etc)
-Make your own flashcards and use them (make flashcards for elements, polyatomic ions, chemical names)