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According to Indiana University the average American student only studies 3 hours each week. That amounts to 20 minutes a day. A total of 60,000 students responded to this study skills survey. Each year thousands of students enter college thinking they can use high school study habits and easily sail through a college degree. They have a rude awaking when they discover success in college requires a minimum of three to five hours studying each day. Some students say studying the night before their examination seemed so much easier in high school.

Most students want to know what are the true seven secrets to better study skills and earning an A+. Is the answer studying all night before a major examination? Is it photographic memory you inherited from your parent? The answer to both questions is no. There are seven fundamental study habits that every student must master to get started on the right pathway to earning an A+.

1. Prepare for all Test Ahead of Schedule- Don’t wait until the last minute to prepare for your examination. Most students increase their level of test anxiety because they feel unsure that they have studied everything.
2. Start a Study Group-Get together with a group of students who are enrolled in your class. Set a date when you will meet and give out assignments so each person has a responsibility.
3. Don’t Procrastinate on Projects- Start all assignments in sufficient time to perform your best work. For example, if a science project is due in December you should start the project by October. Also, start all studying for examinations at least 4 days before the test will occur. If a term paper is due in November start your paper in September. Develop a plan that has cut off dates for each segment of your assignment.
4. Get the Energy you Need- Many students put off the first meal of the day. They are missing the most important meal of the day. Scientists have discovered that eating a good breakfast is better for your overall health. Feeding yourself with healthy foods and exercising have a positive effect on the brain.
5. Get organized. Purchase several three ring binders for all of your courses English, math, history and science. Keep copies of your homework, quizzes and examinations in your binders. Make a copy of your syllabus and put it in your binder. Use your binder each time you study for an examination.
6. Talk to Your Teacher- Often students are afraid to talk to their teacher - Meet with your teacher in their office at the beginning of the semester. Let them know that you want to understand every thing you must do to earn an A+. Always show interest in the subject they are teaching by sitting in the front of the class. Go to class with questions you’ve written on a sheet of paper.
7. Read your Textbook- Read your textbook assignment before every class. Reading early is beneficial because you will be prepared for your class. You will feel confident that you have knowledge of your subject and you can answer your teacher’s questions.

To avoid the pitfalls of procrastination you must have an academic plan. An effective study skills plan starts with organizing all of your learning materials. Begin with the end in mind. Determine what you would like to learn from each course. Instead of making plans to study at the last minute follow a calendar. You will experience the freedom of knowing where to find information when you need it. The more that you uncover the habits that block you from maximizing your achievements leads you into greater accomplishments.

When you follow these strategies you are on your way learning the Seven Secrets of How to Study. There is one more thing that is a vital factor in your success. You must have a positive attitude and expectation that you will earn a good grade. Approach each class with an expectation that you are going to earn an A+ and you will be half way down the road to a successful academic year. Launch into each study session with enthusiasm and excitement about the new information you are about to learn. It’s important to invest additional quality time studying to raise your confidence in each class. Remember the formula for success is to study 2 to 3 hours for every hour that you are in class.Dr Stephen Jones is an outstanding educator and consultant he is the author of “Seven Secrets of How to Study, the Parent’s Ultimate Education Guide and the Ultimate Scholarship guide at

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Comment by Scott Habeeb on August 2, 2009 at 12:59pm
Excellent post and nice follow-up, Andrea. Too often teachers say things like "Well, I told them what to do and they just didn't do it." It's not enough to tell - we need to teach. That means we need a plan to introduce a skill and then a plan to follow up and help the students evaluate their progress.
Comment by Andrea Henderson on August 2, 2009 at 9:48am
Thanks for this post! I think that many teachers assume kids are doing this planning on their own and it's not happening. As a teacher I can incorporate planning for the week in my Monday routine and touch base during the week to see how things are going. On Fridays we can evaluate the progress. Spending time teaching strategies is time well spent!

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