From movies to tv shows, high school has been interpreted as a drama-filled madhouse. These representations, of course, are almost anything but true; however, high school grades can be difficult to keep up with, especially if you’re taking advanced or college classes. With the right preparation, you should reach your hopes for the year. Here are some things I have used in the past:
1.) Quizlet – a great app and website that allows you to create flashcards, take tests and create games around the items you need to study. Create your own studying gear or use someone else’s!
2.) Duolingo – if you’re taking a language (or you’re planning on it), Duolingo is the best app/website to help freshen up on material
3.) Take Better Notes – you might not have lots of time in class to write everything you need. Skip writing words like “a”, “the”, “and”. Use symbols like arrows, slashes or dashes to save you time. If you’re a visual learner, don’t cramp your writing spaces, use colors and/or draw pictures.
4.) Record the Lesson – if you manage to get a teacher that will allow you to have your phones out, record your lessons so you can go back later on and hear the lesson right from the horse’s mouth.
5.) Create a Gmail – some schools have you work with computers. Gmail has many apps that allow you to save your work if you run out of time. For group presentations, Gmail allows your entire group to work together at the same time from different computers on the same slideshow. Gmail apps also have their own apps; so if you forget to type up that biology essay, you can easily open your google docs app and type it at lunch, then print the essay out at the library!
6.) Buy a Planner – some people have difficulty keeping up with when their homework is due and when their final is. Buying a planner can help you sort out your things visually and keep you up to date. If you can’t buy one, create a planner with a notebook or even with a sheet of paper.
7.) Photomath – this app can show you how to solve even the most difficult of math problems.
8.) Buy a New Graphing Calculator – depending on the math class you’re taking, you may not need a graphing calculator. Graphing calculators are usually around $100, so if you don’t need it, don’t buy one unless you know you won’t lose or break it. The advantages of having a new graphing calculator can help with far more than just math class. They’re nice looking, typically much more compactable than older models, include a lot and they really helped me out with my math and science classes.
9.) Litcharts – taking annotations in english class can be difficult, especially if you have no clue what you just read. Cliffnotes has summaries, analysis, lists of the symbols and themes, as well as information on the author and characters. It’s a free app and an even better website.
10.) Listen to Instrumental Music – when you’re reading, studying or doing homework, do not listen to music with words. Studies have found that instrumental music makes it easier to concentrate and understand what you’re doing. This doesn’t mean you have to listen to classical music: playlists like Chillhop, guitar, smooth jazz and even gentle rain sounds are good examples of non-classical music/sounds that are good to listen to.
11.) Get Uncomfortable – sounds kinda funny, but when you’re doing homework or studying, don’t sit in bed or hang out in the dark. Turn on the lights, pull over a chair and find a flat platform to write on. Being comfortable risks your chances of an accidental nap and lack of concentration.
12.) Khan Academy – if you’re confused with math, Khan Academy is a great app and website that provides videos with instructions are finding the answer.
13.) Don’t Skip Extra Credit – every little bit counts. You never know what you’ll get on your final or that big project coming up. Being prepared will ease the blow if you do flop something in the future.
14.) Peer Helpers – get in contact with others who have the same class. Some schools provide a study club after school that allows you to get help with homework/studying from current students.
15.) Sparknotes – if you’re completely out of time (and I mean completely), Sparknotes is a super fast way to catch up on the reading you were supposed to do; however, do not rely on Sparknotes all the time. Many teachers know these tricks and test you on details that are not mentioned on the website.
16.) Ready PSAT – a whole app dedicated to getting you ready for the PSAT.