Seven Essential Study Skills Your Teen Needs

By Huntington Learning Center

With college on the horizon, there’s a lot for your teen to think about: getting good grades, maintaining a strong GPA, creating a solid college resume and more. It’s important that your teen develop those study skills sooner than later—both for success in high school and in college.

Here are seven study skills that are critical in high school and will prepare your teen for the rigors of college:

  1. Learning preference self-awareness – As teens progress through high school, class work gets increasingly difficult, and things step up even more in college. Ideally, teens need to know how they learn most effectively and when they focus best. Knowing their learning styles and preferences will also help them achieve optimal learning.
  2. Critical thinking – In high school and college, teachers expect that students are able to think methodically and critically and are capable of analyzing and evaluating what they read and hear.
  3. Active listening and reading – Active reading means being engaged with the text, not just by reading but by doing “self-checks” for understanding and jotting down notes for reference later. Active listening requires tuning out outside factors (and any internal “mind chatter”) as well as paraphrasing and asking questions to clarify understanding.
  4. Prioritization – Prioritization helps teens make the most of their time and get homework done more efficiently. Teens should divide homework into categories, such as due tomorrow, due later this week, and due next week or this month. Then, they should rank homework from highest to lowest priority and hardest to easiest—every night. Learn more about prioritization.
  5. Test-taking aptitude – There are many ways teens can improve their performance on tests. A study schedule, some mental preparation, a few stress management techniques and plenty of practice deciphering question types can make a big difference in test scores and test-taking confidence.
  6. Organization and time management – Time management is vital for keeping organized with homework, classes, extracurricular activities and more. Teens should put a planner to use in which they can record their goals, detailed schedule and daily to-dos. Learn more about the components of a foolproof time management system.
  7. Note-taking – Teens should be comfortable taking notes in an organized way. Good note-taking involves writing down sufficient information to understand main points, summarizing key ideas and noting important examples.

High school is a time when teachers expect students to take responsibility for their learning. That means less hand-holding at a time when the workload and subject-matter difficulty are increasing. Bottom line: your teen needs to develop good study skills to achieve his best in high school and beyond. The sooner he does, the better equipped he will be—and the more prepared he will feel—to do well in college.