I asked a number of teens and young adults to pick one thing that was on their mind which was a source of concern to them. The response from the majority of those was “How Will I Do in School” hence the topic.

The classes you will take can be broken down into two categories. The first category is classes you want to take and will find interesting. The second category are those classes you do not want to take and do not find interesting. Unfortunately, there are always some core courses that you must take that fall into this category. Harkening back to my time at the Naval Academy Electrical Engineering and Differential Equations most definitely fall into the second category.

Rest assured that if you develop good study habits and follow some simple, time tested techniques you absolutely have the potential to do well, but that is up to you. Here are some suggestions.

  • Go to class – While this may sound like a marvelous statement of the obvious you need to show up at every class. In addition to showing up and being seen you will not miss out on classroom lectures, discussions, and key points your instructor makes which may very likely end up on a test. Also, be seen and be heard.
  • Learn how you learn best – Everyone has a style of learning that best suits them. Some people are more auditory, some are more visual, and some learn best through being actively engaged in a project, such as a study group. They all have their place and you will learn through a combination of these methods. Hone in on what works best for you.
  • Leverage technology – Advances in technology give you an array of choices to help facilitate your learning. Sonocent note taker and SMART pens are just two examples. Later you can type up your notes which presents the information again and provides further reinforcement and retention.
  • Develop good study habits – Rather than cramming, set aside a time every day, that works best for you and study some of the material. You have to be disciplined about this and ditch the excuses for not studying. Studying spread out over time combined with repetition helps convert the information from your short-term to long-term memory and is more effective than cramming. Pick a place that is conducive to studying, devoid of distractions.
  • Ask for help – Do not be afraid to ask for help – either other students, a study group, or the instructor. Talk to your instructor to let him or her know you are struggling. Your instructor is there to teach and will work with you. Anytime I was struggling with a class I got actively involved with the instructor and in each instance things worked out.

Also, don’t forget to take care of yourself. Ensure you exercise, which helps stimulate learning; and get adequate amounts of sleep since you will learn and test better if you are rested versus being sleep deprived.