3 tips for more effective study sessions

For students at any level, developing effective study techniques will help improve content knowledge and retention — as well as overall learning. With the wide variety of study strategies out there, it may be hard for students to know what to focus on. Encourage your child to start with the basics, and try these three study techniques that will set them up for scholastic success.

1. Choose the right supplies

Using the right notebooks makes studying a lot easier. With the right notebooks, students can keep notes organized and easy to find when studying for quizzes or tests. Make sure your children have at least one notebook for each course. This way, they can take handwritten notes in class and keep them organized by date and title.

Try buying different-colored notebooks for each subject or notebooks with multiple tabs that allow students to easily find a specific section of notes. These are good choices for courses that include a variety of things to study and review, such as lecture notes, notes on textbook readings and notes from labs or group projects.

In addition to notebooks, having the right writing supplies will enhance studying and improve the effectiveness of study habits.

Depending on the subject of study and personal preference, your child's needs may vary. For example, mechanical pencils are perfect for drawing diagrams or graphs, whereas a pen is ideal for strict note-taking. Additionally, choose highlighters for underlining important points — another effective tool for studying. This helps students refer back to lengthy readings or course handouts for the most salient information.

2. Focus on time management

To start a habit of effective studying, encourage students to create a calendar or timetable for the subject and content to study. By their senior year of high school, students should expect at least two hours of homework each night. Make sure your student knows to build study time into each week, ensuring they dedicate enough time to review notes from each class.

To keep class and study schedules organized, buy an academic planner for your child. This helps them to track due dates, exam dates and their progress.

3. Find a study schedule that works for your child

If your child struggles with two-hour study sessions, break them up into shorter sessions. The student could study in short bursts of five to 10 minutes, for example. Creating flashcards with your child is an excellent way to facilitate these short study sessions. Your child can spend a few minutes studying while waiting for the bus, riding to or from school, or having breakfast. This technique allows students to maximize their time throughout the day and review notes frequently, without committing to a long period of work, which might not suit their learning style.

Excelling at school and making test preparation easy starts with proper note-taking and studying techniques. A little planning and preparation makes it a lot easier to organize and take effective notes. These improved study techniques will help your students (and their grades) throughout the school year.