Monday, December 17, 2007

Test Anxiety: Part 2

Yesterday's post discussed the strategies to help with test anxiety as you prepare for a test. It is normal to expect some anxiety. This anxiety is a reminder that you want to do your best, but you are in control and need to stay relaxed enough to focus on the test. Here are some strategies to help with test anxiety during the test:

  • Read the directions carefully and always ask for help if something is unclear.

  • Pay attention to your test taking time and don't spend too long on one area.

  • Change positions to help you relax.

  • If you go blank, skip the question and go on. You can always come back later.

  • Don't panic when other students start handing in their papers. Being the first one done does not necessarily mean doing well.

  • If you find yourself tensing up and getting anxious during the test, relax and take slow deep breaths. You are in control.

  • After the test, review the strategies you used:
    List what worked and use it again. List what did not work and try to improve it later.

Try these strategies out on your next test and post a comment about they helped with test anxiety!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Test Anxiety: Part 1

Most of you probably experience some nervousness about taking tests, but for some of you just the thought of taking a test can be overwhelming. There are certain things you can do before and during the test to help relieve some of this test anxiety. This post will be Test Anxiety:Part 1. It will discuss strategies to help with test anxiety as you prepare for the test. Tomorrow's post will be Test Anxiety:Part 2, which will discuss helping with test anxiety during the test.

Try these strategies as you prepare for the test:
  • Approach the test with confidence. Picture yourself doing well.
  • Be prepared! Organize and learn the necessary material. Don't wait to study the night before.
  • Allow yourself plenty of time to do things you need to do before the test (get a drink, sharpen pencils, turn in study guide, etc.)
  • Try to relax.
  • Don't talk to students who have not prepared and are being negative.
  • Get a good night's sleep the night before the exam.
  • Eat a healthy snack before the test and avoid sugary foods.

Try these strategies as you prepare for your next test and post a comment about how they work for you!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Make a list! (and check it twice)

With all you have going between school, sports, friends, club meetings, family events, and all your other responsibilities it can be difficult to know how you can possibly get everything done. Making a list of all your school responsibilities can help keep you on track. Start by listing out all the tasks you need to do within the day, week, or whatever time period works best for you. Start numbering each task 1 to however many tasks you have, 1 being the most important. Consider these things as you place your tasks in order:
  • length of time required to complete task
  • the difficulty of the task
  • the due date
  • does it require preparation
  • will help from others be required
  • will additional materials be needed

Keep working on the list until you have a good feel for the order you have placed each task in. You are prioritizing tasks by putting the most important ones first. This is a skill you will need throughout life, so it's a great time to get started practicing it.

Try making a list of all your tasks and post a comment about how it works for you!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Highlighting help!

Highlighting can be a very useful study tool if used properly! Any highlighter color will work from the traditional yellow to the fancier pinks and greens. Don't spend too much time worry about what color to pick. Spend more time deciding what to highlight. Knowing what to highlight can come from:
  • the items listed on a study guide
  • hints from the teacher about specific pieces of information being important
  • bold titles in your reading
  • information that has been discussed and reviewed more than one time
  • any information that you feel is a main point or of high importance

Try to only highlight the main points so when you are trying to recall the information later it will be easier to visualize in your mind. If you highlight the whole page, it will harder to remember the main point. You may attempt to highlight during note taking or reading, but it will be more effective if you review later and highlight at that time. Doing this at a later time, will allow you to more organized and really think through what should be highlighted. These highlighted areas can then be used as a review or to make your own flashcards.(see post from December 1, 2007).

Try these highlighting tips and post a comment about how they work for you!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Create your own flashcards!

Creating your own flash cards can be a very effective study skill. Although there are many flash cards that you can purchase, making your own will likely pay off in the end. When you are creating your own flash cards you are doing three things. The first is reviewing the information you are studying. The second is putting the information in your own words, which will allow you to gain a deeper understanding. The last thing you are doing by creating your own flash cards is deciding what things you feel are the most important and focusing on them. You can use index cards or paper to make the flashcards. Write a word, a statement or a question on one side and the matching information or answer on the other side. Then look at one side of the card and try to recall the information on the other side. Quizzing yourself with flashcards can be done on the bus, in the car, sitting in your room or waiting for your next class to begin. Flash cards can also be reviewed with study partners as you prepare for your next test.

Try making your own flash cards and post a comment about how it worked for you!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

It's all about TIME!!!

This study tip is all about the importance of TIME!! It seems like there is never enough time in the day to do all of the things we want or need to do. Take a look at these four time tips and see if they can help you make better use of what time you do have!

1. Make the most of your time by multi-tasking when possible. Carry your review sheet , flash cards or book with you. Sitting in the doctor's waiting room or waiting in traffic can be a great time for quick studying and will allow extra time for basketball practice or just hanging out with friends.

2. Know when your best study time is. People are productive at different times of the day. Some people can focus better in the morning, while others do better in the evening. Experiment to figure out which time works the best for you and take advantage of it.

3. Allow time for long assignments to be completed. Break down a big project into smaller parts. This will make it less overwhelming and less likely to be left until the last minute.

4. Keep track of the time you spend studying each subject. If too much time is spent on one subject, it could mean you might need to ask for extra help or think about tutoring.

Try out these time tips and post a comment about how they worked for you!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Set a reward!

That's right you can set up a reward for yourself to help you study more effectively. This may be as simple as studying for 45 minutes and then getting to make a 10 minute phone call. Or you could go for something bigger after completing a long essay, passing a final exam, or finishing a big science project. A reward isn't needed everyday or for every project, but sometimes all you need is a little incentive to get you going. This is a great way to involve mom and dad. Decide on your reward and what you must complete to earn it. Get their okay and you are ready to study and earn that reward!!

Here are some ideas for rewards:

  • Snack break
  • Phone call to friend
  • Extra time on the computer
  • Play a video game
  • Watch a favorite program on TV
  • Have a friend over
  • Pick what to eat for dinner
  • Rent a movie
  • Any other rewards you and your parents agree to!

Try setting a reward for yourself and post a comment about how it helped you study!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Note Card Bookmark!

Unless you have the time and patience to sit and read a book from cover to cover, you will have to put a bookmark in and come back to your book later. In school you read text books, essays, and sometimes more than one book at a time. This can make it difficult to remember what you were reading about last. A great trick to try is the Note Card Bookmark.

A Note Card Bookmark is exactly what it sounds like. When starting a new book, take a blank note card and have it ready to use as your bookmark. Put the date and then just a few statements about the main idea of what you read. Place the bookmark in your book and leave it. Next time you pick up this book to read, take just a minute to read the statements on your note card. These statements will remind you of what is happening in the story and will also be a great summary of the book when you are all finished.

Try using a Note Card Bookmark with your next book and let us know how it worked out for you!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Study Buddy!

Many of you probably have someone you count on to know when the next test is, to have the correct homework page number, or to help with that tough word problem. That is a person that I would call your "Study Buddy." A Study Buddy is someone you can ask for help outside of class. If you don't have one or if the one you have is not as helpful as you might like them to be, it is time to find a new Study Buddy.

Think about these things as you pick a Study Buddy:
  1. They do not have to be your best friend. You just need to know their name.
  2. Make sure they are responsible and appear to be organized.
  3. Try to pick someone who is in more than one of the same classes with you.
  4. Once you have picked someone out, ask them if they would be willing to exchange phone numbers so you can help each other outside of class.
Call on your Study Buddy when you are confused about an assignment, can't remember a test date, need help with a tough problem, or just to clear up any question about school.

Try finding a good Study Buddy and post a comment about how it works for you!

Friday, November 23, 2007

How to take good notes!

Note taking can be a little tricky as you try to decide how you can possibly write down all the information that your teacher is sharing. Try these note taking tips and see if they make you more successful:

  1. Start a new page for each new class each day. Date it. Leave space between topics or ideas so you can scan the page more easily later.
  2. Take down key words and concepts, not sentences. Use abbreviations (even if they only make sense to you) Find helpful abbreviations at
  3. Listen for word clues from the teacher. Word clues signal what is important in your notes. Phrases such as "The major developments were...." or "The three main reasons for..." are examples of phrases that are important. Find more word clues at
  4. Review notes and make sure they are accurate and complete. Reviewing notes just before starting homework in that subject area can help you focus on that topic.

Give these tips a try and post a comment about whether they helped make your note taking experience more successful!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Easy way to remember information!

Many of you have probably used this study skill, but may not know the fancy name that it acronym is an easy way to remember information in any order. You can form an acronym with many types of information you need to remember. You still have to learn and understand the information, but this will help you organize it in your mind and recall it later! (for a test, a discussion, or just future use)

To form an acronym:
ake the first letter of each fact to be remembered amd make it into a "word."
It can be a real word or just a nonsense word you are able to pronounce.

  • Write the facts you need to remember.
  • Underline the first letter of each fact.
  • If there is more than one word in a fact, underline the first letter of only the first word in the fact.
  • Arrange the underlined letters to form an acronym that is a real word or a nonsense word you can pronounce.

Example #1: an acronym to remember the 5 great lakes is HOMES


O- Ontairo




Example #2: an acronym for remembering 4 basic math operations: MADS (nonsense word)





Use the acronym strategy as a way to remember information and then post a comment on how it worked out for you!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Test Taking Help-RETER strategy

The best way to do well on a test is to know the information you are being tested on. But, you also need a strategy for taking the test that allows you to show what you know. There is a little trick that can help you do your best on any test. It is called the RETER strategy. Each letter in RETER reminds you what to do.

R= Read

Read the directions carefully.Read each test question carefully.Read your answer and double check it.

E = Explore
Explore the entire test to see how much you have to do sto you can divide it up into manageable parts.

T = Time
Decide how much time you will spend on each part of the test and don't spend too much time on one part.

E = Easiest
Answer the easy questions first. Don't get stuck early in the test and run out of time.

R = Review
Review your answers and check that they are completed correctly.

Try using the RETER strategy on your next test and post a review for how it worked out for you!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Set up a Homework Space

It seems simple, but it is very important to have a space to do your homework. If you find yourself doing your homework on the bus, in front of the tv, or at a cluttered table where you can barely find your book bag then you need to set up a homework space. If most of your homework time is spent searching for a sharpened pencil or a clean piece of notebook paper than you need to set up a homework space. Setting up a homework space is easy to do.
  • You will need a comfortable writing surface, such as a desk or table, and a comfortable chair. The surface of the desk should be kept clear of everything but needed homework supplies.
  • Ideally, the desk would be located in a room without access to a tv, computer, or other distractions.
  • Stock the homework area with pencils, pens, erasers, rulers, paper, dictionary, calculator and anything else you may need to complete your homework. This will save you from searching for these items when you could be completing work.
  • Not every home has space for a separate homework desk and not all students like to work at a desk. If you need to work at the kitchen table or the living room floor just use a plastic container and fill it with the necessary supplies. Just pull out this container when you are ready to work on homework and you have an instant, but portable homework space!

Give this a try and post a comment about how it works for you!