Being organised is key to scoring better

Educators agree that top students don’t necessarily have more brain power than their academically less-than-stellar peers. High achievers often are more organised and more diligent, two key ingredients to earning good grades.

If your child struggles in school, the answer might be helping him/her learn how to learn. Older children in middle and high school particularly need to develop organised study skills.

Here are some tips from study skills experts at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, that can help any student improve grades. They can help your child become a better student simply by organising his/her approach to homework and review.

Student can consider the following —

• Students need to learn the art of deciding what to study and for how long (a reasonable time) and how much (chapters, pages, problems). Set goals and reach the goals you have set for yourself.

• To combat procrastination, start off with an easy, interesting aspect of the project or task.

• Find special places where the atmosphere will be conducive to studying. Take into consideration aspects such as lighting, noise and temperature. Insure that your study area has good lighting, a comfortable chair and climate (but not too comfortable) and a space large enough to spread out your materials.

• Make sure your study area does not have a distracting view of other activities that you would like to be involved in, a telephone, a loud stereo or a TV.

• Study for 50 minutes and then take a 10-minute break. Stretch, relax and have an energy snack. Use longer time periods for organising concepts, outlining and writing papers. Use shorter periods of time for review, memorisation and recall.

• If you get tired or bored switch the task or subject you are working on. Stop studying when you are no longer productive.

• Do memory tasks and review before you fall asleep. Research shows that the brain often continues learning after a person goes to bed.

• Study in groups or with a friend. Quiz each other, compare notes and predict possible test questions.

• Avoid setting goals that are vague and large such as, “I’m going to spend all day Saturday studying.” You will only set yourself up for failure and discouragement. Take the time that you have scheduled to study and set a reachable study goal.

• Set your goal when you sit down to study before you begin to work.

• Be sure to set a goal that you can reach. You may do more than your goal, but remember to set a reasonable goal even though it may seem too easy.

Parental involvement, including healthy concern about academic performance and expectations that the school is a child’s ‘first job’ can have profound influence on children. — Paul R Huard