Strengthening Your Study Skills
“When it comes to smarts, adolescents … have plenty. What they lack, however, are some of the brain-based skills that we all need to plan and direct activities, to regulate behavior, and to make efficient and effective use of these smarts. The trouble does not show up in math or reading; rather, it shows up when they need to regulate their behavior to respond to the demands of a specific situation. Despite their good intentions, these adolescents can struggle with time management and organization.” –Richard Guare, Smart but Scattered Teens: The “Executive Skills” Program for Helping Teens Reach Their Potential
“They are really smart, but they don’t apply themselves.” “They don’t get very good grades because they aren’t good at studying, but they’re actually really intelligent.” Have you ever described someone like that? Have you ever been described like that? It’s true that many high schoolers are smarter than their report cards would suggest, and Richard Guare, the author of Smart but Scattered Teens, outlines the reason. He states that the frontal part of the brain, which manages executive skills like planning, organization, task initiation, and other study skills, is not fully developed until the age of 25. That’s right – your brain may not be fully-equipped for all of your academic demands quite yet. However, that doesn’t mean you’re completely out of luck!
The downside to this fact is that time management and studying are skills that simply may not come naturally for certain teens. However, there is an upside. According to Guare, “Neuroscience research tells us that the adolescent brain is primed for the acquisition of new skills.” In other words, you might not be a great student by birth, but you can practice and perfect the study skills you need to get the grades you want. These are skills that are important to invest in – after all, colleges look at your GPA and test scores!
So, how do you work on these crucial studying skills? The most important thing is that you acknowledge your own potential shortcomings and brainstorm solutions. Are you terrible with time management? Create daily and/or weekly schedules for yourself, and stick to them. Do you forget tasks, deadlines, and assignments? Invest in a good planner, and write down every single thing you have to do instead of relying on memory! Find studying techniques that work for you, whether that’s taking practice tests, using flashcards, or studying with a classmate. There are dozens of ways to improve your study skills, it’s just a matter of putting in the time and effort.
With a new school year right around the corner, there is no better time to get into academic mode. To help, The Enrichery is hosting our Study Skills Workshop on August 13th! The middle school session runs from 12:00 – 2:00, and the high school session runs from 2:00 – 4:00. The workshop will cover the basic foundations of academic success, including time management, organization & planning, goal setting, and more. Our workshop is the perfect way to switch from summer mode to school mode, and brush up on the skills that will make this year the best year yet!