The Tutoring Center, Flower Mound TX

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09/04/2015


Congrats on making it through the first week of school, everyone!!! We hope that students, teachers, and parents alike, had a fabulous fresh start on their fall semesters!!! 

For many of us, the trauma of leaving summer break in the dust to return to school every fall, is never easy. However, keeping a few important things in mind this year can help make that shock to your system a little less painful.   

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Reviving Good Study Habits

Getting back into the swing of getting up before 9 AM is tough enough, but sometimes motivating yourself, or your student, back into the groove of keeping up with good study habits can be even tougher. Generally, the first habit we forget is good note-taking. It’s common during the initial review weeks to think, “I don’t need to write this down, I’m sure I can remember it.” And while this may be true at first, getting out of the habit of taking clear, thorough notes from the get-go, can often lead to an increased lag-time in returning to the habit, or some students may give up the practice entirely. Thus, when it comes time to start remembering the harder stuff, and at a faster rate, students may left dashing things together at the last minute, studying incomplete notes, or even worse: giving themselves a false sense of security. They may think they’ve been remembering everything for the last three weeks because it made sense at the time, but when the three-week exam comes around, they find that they weren’t able to hold all the information at once, or have begun to connect mis-matched information.   

SOLUTIONS
1Start your new courses off right by taking notes from day one. Even if you pretty much remember it from last term, it won’t hurt to make yourself a review page to help you study later on. Do this every day, for every class.   

Practice taking neat, clear, and thorough notes. Use a consistent method for how you make notations, such as page numbers, dates, examples, etc. Many students use 2-3 colors of pens or highlighters to mark important information, and make their notes easier for themselves to follow weeks later. Often you have to jot down notes quickly during a lecture. In this case, still try to use legible handwriting, but you may begin developing a shorthand, or abbreviations for common terms, to help you save time. Just be sure to keep this consistent, so you can interpret it later. Visit here for more information.   

3Keep up with your notes. Keep all the notes for one course in one place, and such they can’t fall out. In our last post we recommended using one-colored notebooks or folders, for each class, so you can easily take and find your notes later. Another good idea is to clearly date every page, so that you can reference the order of concepts, and even refer back to the schedule to search by topic.   

Adapting to More Difficult Content

While the first couple weeks of classes do usually begin with a short period of reviewing last year’s content, there can be a steep learning curve when it comes time to move on to more challenging, higher-level concepts and skills. This can be true not only in terms of learning new content, but also in terms of speed and time requirements. In other words, you or your student may be not only learning tough new material, but they will often be learning much more in a shorter amount of time, and the accompanying homework and project requirements can become more time-consuming, especially when they’re compounded by multiple subjects simultaneously.  

SOLUTIONS
The first step toward resolving this situation is learning to use “metacognition,” or the ability to monitor your own thinking, and to self-evaluate what you’re learning or studying strengths and weaknesses are, and to identify where you’re knowledge gaps may be. Do this from day one, and continue to do so, on a frequent, regular basis. Record your assessment in the same place each time to track your progress and enhance your study strategies.   

After you’ve targeted areas to focus, now commit to choosing a method to support them. The best recommendation is to seek supplemental instruction in those areas. The easiest option is to attend after-school tutoring with your teachers, and because their time may be short, try to identify 2-3 specific concepts to ask about. If you enjoy studying together, you should try forming a study group with a 2-3 classmates, and conduct weekly study sessions to share notes, review material, and quiz for understanding. For more structured practice, a third option is to attend an after-school tutoring center. Facilities like The Tutoring Center, offer a variety of programs and levels, and even diagnostic testing to help identify and meet your specific needs.   

Transitioning Between Schools

We all remember that feeling of being the “big cheese” on campus-- the 8th grader who had every hall memorized, and took pride in directing 6th and 7th graders on the ways of the world. However, that feeling is soon extinguished when we have to make the tough transition into 9th grade, and face the anxiety-inducing feeling of being a lowly freshmen-- the low man on the totem pole again. Not only can a new school be an intimidating new physical environment, but with transitioning also comes new social rules, and academic expectations.   

SOLUTIONS
The best (and most fun) way to help yourself adjust, is to make fast friends with classmates who very likely feel the same way you do. This way you can share information about the building, the teachers and staff, and various programs, clubs, and extracurricular activities that are available. These are your confidants, your allies, and your sounding boards to support you when stressful situations inevitably occur, and will also help you regrow your confidence and gain a sense of belonging at your new school.   

Some of the best advice I ever got was this adage: “It’s not about knowing everything; what’s more important is knowing how to find what you need to know.” This couldn’t be more apt in the case of adapting to new academic and work environments. Find out what and who are your school resources for a variety of situations-- counselors, librarians, registrars, administrators. Keep a copy of the school policy guide handy, in case of absences for illness or sports events. Your teachers are, of course, your most accessible resources, and will be happy to point you in the right direction, so never feel reluctant to ask! Visit here for more helpful hints.   

Follow our blogs to continue enhancing your academic experiences!
Our next post will cover “Balancing Athletics and Academics.”   

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If you would like to learn more, please call The Tutoring Center, Flower Mound at (972) 874-1999 to schedule your FREE Diagnostic Assessment. Thank you for your time, and best wishes to you and your children in getting back into the groove this fall.            

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