Welcome back from Spring Break, everyone! Depending on the school, there are now 8-10 weeks left of school. That might sound like a lot (it’s two months!), but it really isn’t a lot at all. Younger students have state projects, mission projects, and CSTs. Older students have “big name” teststhese last two months–more CSTs (STAR testing), the CAHSEE, the ACT, the SAT, AP tests–and those really dilute the classroom time because teachers are consumed by them also.
If studying hasn’t started yet, it’s crunch time. There are only a few tests and projects left to do, but these are the ones students stress out about the most. How can students finish the semester in a strong manner?
1) Plan out the rest of the term. Look at the class syllabi (if there are any) and see what else is left to do. Make a list of the projects, essays, and tests. Figure out what needs to be done, and then schedule the time to do them. Pay close attention to deadlines, especially ones that are farther away. Those tend to creep up and surprise students: “what?! I thought I had a month to do that!” This happens when the assignment hasn’t been spaced out correctly, which leads me to…
2) Work on time management! Use the tips in “Managing time effectively” to organize your time. Make realistic estimates of the time the tasks will take. Every big project has smaller projects or steps to handle. Make sure to take care of those! It’s harder for a deadline to surprise students if they’ve been working on the bits along the way.
3) Have a consistent study place. In “Helping students become better scholars, Part II,” I said that students should study in the same place every time. This teaches the brain’s subconscious that “this is the study place.” A consistent place for studying lays the foundation for learning because it puts the brain into learning mode.
4) Use study groups. One under-utilized way to overcome procrastination is to meet with a study group. (More tips on study groups in a later post…) Study groups are highly recommended and are often considered to be guaranteed study time. Study groups can shed light on different perspectives and help further understanding. Just make sure there are study-minded people in the group. Otherwise, you could spend the whole time talking about unrelated topics, such as a pop star’s hair, which would make it NOT study time.
5) Get outside help! Although parents and caregivers have the best intentions, there isn’t always enough time to help your student. As I’ve said before,at the very least, parents just might be unfamiliar with what the student is learning. And THAT’S OK. Parents try to do so much, and it’s ok to call for help. A tutor or education consultant is a professional who cangive expert one-on-one guidance to the student, without judgment. For whatever reason, students tend to listen better to a non-related third party.
From my years of experience, grades and attitudes improve dramatically when the student gets the appropriate educational attention. As both a tutor and an education consultant, I help my students find their way through all their tasks, even completing old assignments while taking care of new ones.
These next couple months don’t have to be so stressful. Realistically, there will be some stress. However, students can learn the lessons and turn in their assignments with lighter feelings because they’ve preparedwith proper planning and tools.