Building Academic Success, Step by Step

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Achieving good grades and accomplishing your goals in high school takes hard work; the ability to work consistently is attainable only with structured schedules and well thought out study habits. What exactly is a ‘habit? A study habit is an acquired behavior pattern regularly followed until your need to study, read, or finish homework becomes almost involuntary. Developing good study habits early in the school year means that you will soon be completing schoolwork without having to consciously compel yourself to wok- Doing class assignments on a daily or weekly basis will become routine and studying will no longer feel Ike a chore or a burden.

How can you alter your daily schedule and develop consistent study habits? Note that we are talking about ‘adapting’ your current habits to form a set of improved study skills. Everyone studies in different ways, works at different paces, and sets different goals – but some habits are better than others. To begin to build consistent habits, follow the steps on the right.

When you make the conscious decision to develop good study habits, you will change how you perform academically because your mindset will be focused on the goal of achieving academic success. Instead of thinking, wish I could succeed in school,’ you Will now be focused on the goal of “succeeding?” You will go from being a passive student to becoming a proactive individual who is firmly set on academic success. Making this decision to develop consistent study habits will be the source of your motivation.

Building Consistent Study Habits

“Consistent habits” are exactly what they sound like – actions that need to be completed on a scheduled basis. A typical study pattern I have identified in past students is their desire to ‘finish their homework right after school finishes and before dinnertime. However, they usually become easily distracted by video games, friends, or TV, and begin to see homework and studying as a tiresome chore.

This is because they are not practicing their study habits; once you set a goal of studying during a specific time period, stick to it soon it will feel like part of a natural daily routine.

Once you have set up consistent study habits, you must respect those habits by setting boundaries to protect your new routine. For example, boundaries for after-school studying include not turning on the TV, turning off your phone so you are not tempted to chat, or physically putting away the video games. Boundaries allow you to keep the distractions out of your sight so that you can focus on studying and completing homework.

Set Academic Goals and Review Them Everyday

Academic dreams may not come true, out academic goals do! Set academic goals every night before you go to bed by writing them down in a list and posting them in a place where you can see them in the morning.

These goals are analogous to an academic to-do' list but it is important to make your list as specific and detailed as possible. For instance, instead of writing downFinish the biology homework due Thursday,’ try to break it down by writing step-by-step instructions on your list. As an example, you could write:

  1. Read Biology Chapter 7, pages 556-568
  2. Review class notes taken during class for the lecture related to this homework.
  3. Read the homework assignment, do Problems 1-5
  4. Take a short break.
  5. Do Problems 6-10.

On the right is another example of how to write specific step-by-step academic goals What would you write instead of ┬░Study for 5 hours tomorrow after school? An example for breaking this down in your to-do list could be:

Set Daily Goals and Review Them Every day

  1. Get home from school at 3pm, and eat a light snack.
  2. Take out Chemistry textbook: Read Chapter 4, pages 45-58 until 4pm.
  3. Review notes taken in Chemistry class from the past two weeks.
  4. Re-read last two Chemistry homework assignments which will be tested on this exam.
  5. Try to re-do problems from these two homeworks for practice until 6pm.
  6. Take a short break.
  7. Read “Othello” for English class, pages 78-96 until 7pm.
  8. Go back and take notes on the characters in “Othello” for tomorrow’s pop quiz.
  9. Finish at 8pm, eat dinner with family.

By breaking down your original goal to ‘finish the biology homework due Thursday,’ you have created a feasible step-by-step flowchart of how to complete your assignment.

Writing down a fist of yaw academic goals each night has several advantages. Firstly, the list will require you to think about the exact sequence of actions you will need to complete in order to accomplish your goal. Secondly, listing them each night will allow you to reflect on what needs to be completed in the days to come. Thirdly, writing a detailed step-by-step list of how to accomplish a goal will help you to mentally prepare yourself for completing that goal later on. Finally, having a specific list in your hand the next day will allow you to view your goal as something readily achievable.

Seeing the words ‘Finish biology homework by Thursday’ may seem like a daunting task and a chore to finish, but seeing a list of easily accomplishable tasks WI be manageable and motivating.

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