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Halfway through the fall semester, students forge new habits in and out of the classroom. How do you drive home the right study skills for learning and retention on tests and beyond? We’ve identified two key areas that underscore all other studying efforts.

Focus

Here at Educators Insurance Agency, we know we’re able to do our best work for our customers when we can eliminate distractions and get “in the zone.” That’s quiet time when agents can work through complex individual member issues and draw on their extensive knowledge accrued over time in the industry.

Students may not draw on years of industry expertise, but they frequently have to draw on a semester’s worth of knowledge in order to perform accurately and efficiently on tests and in lab settings. Studies recommend students create quiet space in which to review notes, go over readings and reflect on classroom lessons after each day. Those processes help move new information from short-term to long-term knowledge and can occur long before a test shows up on the calendar. Does your classroom offer time and space for review and reflection? If you’re a parent, does your student have that dedicated time and space at home, beyond the context of just doing the day’s assignments?

Organize

With classes, clubs, sports, community service, jobs and family life, students carry a lot of competing priorities. But that’s not unique to them, and they can benefit from strategies that work far beyond the academic world. We all know it’s easy to maintain a clean classroom, closet, pantry or even desk when there’s a place for everything. Professional closet organizers rally around this belief and encourage their clients to designate “inboxes” or locations for different types of clothing. Pants always go in one part of the closet, shirts in another and with enough space it’s much easier to see exactly what’s available — and then get dressed and out the door in the morning. 

Though this is an obvious method, many of us still have messy closets — and sometimes even successful students maintain messy, disorganized academic lives. With enough “space,” they can minimize the stress that creates. Encourage your students to maintain separate notebooks and directories for each course. They may need reminders to create new folders within those directories for each unit within a course but that effort will pay off. At a glance, they’ll see exactly what’s missing and where there’s a wealth of content, setting them on a path to more prepared and efficient study time.

And who knows, they may even get out the door more quickly in the morning too!

Posted 5:00 PM

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