Academic Survival

A Helpful Guide for Struggling Students

By Maria Beaini

1) Pay good attention in class.

The best way to address and understand the information being taught is to pay attention from the beginning. If you only listen to half of the conversation, then you will only get half of the information. The most efficient way to understand everything and get the whole story would be to pay attention from the roots/trunk. “These necessary roots, or foundation are what’s learned in class,” math teacher Susan McAdams said. The roots are learned in class, while the branches and leaves are every single assignment done leading up to the final test.

2) Take good notes in an organized notebook.

The point behind taking notes is to increase the retainment level of the information. Writing down what you learn down has proven to increase your understanding and overall performance over the information. If you are taking bad notes or writing down the wrong information, not only will you be confused, but your grades will reflect it. “Taking notes is only half of the battle,” English II Honors teacher Tyler Cross said. “There is no point in taking notes if you don’t have an efficient way of looking back on them.” An organized notebook is essential to success in school.

3) Don’t just write things down to write things down.

The most common mistake made in school is writing down word for word what the teacher says or writes. Unless you are told to write down word for word what they are saying, don’t. To be successful, one must be able to address and decipher the information given to find what is important. “Others will just write down random words with little to no importance to make it look like they have finished their work,” AP Human Geography teacher Kendra Gish said. The best advice given by teachers is that if you truly have nothing to write down, then don’t write anything at all, as nearly all would rather not read bullet point after bullet point of pointlessness.

4) Don’t just cram the night before a test.

All the tips above have been placed for you to ensure that you will understand the information. However, if you have taken other steps to prepare, this may be the most important. It is important to study the night before a test, although it is not recommended to cram. After taking notes in class, one should already periodically be checking their notes and reviewing them to increase their understanding. “While cramming the night before has worked for some people in the past, the negative impacts of stress and anxiety have proven to be too much for most, ultimately resulting in a failure on the test,” Spanish teacher Jennifer Walsh said.

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