Start the new school year off on the right foot

Hinsdale Central students may be going back to class a little later this fall, but it’s never too early to bone up on healthy habits for scholarship. Here are some tips from The Princeton Review:

1. Have more than one study space.

Let variety be the spice of learning. Coffee shops, libraries, parks or even just moving to the kitchen table will provide a change of scenery to stimulate better information retention.

2. Keep an all-inclusive calendar.

Tracking homework assignments is obviously important, but so is honoring extracurricular, job and social commitments. And don’t forget to schedule some downtime in there.

3. Take small bites.

Stay motivated to complete large assignments by finishing a segment of the project every few days: write one paragraph each night, or solve five algebra problems from the set at a time, and then take a break.

4. Organize to thrive.

Whether maintaining one big binder for all classes with color-coded tabs or separate notebooks and a folder for handouts, keep the system simple. The more complicated, the less chance of long-term success.

5. Get into a routine.

Find the time of day that works best to hit the books. Be flexible to allow for schedule changes, but a general consistency will help keep those studies on course.

6. Learn to create a distraction-free zone.

A study found that it takes workers an average of 25 minutes to return to pre-interruption tasks. Temporarily turn off the phone notifications and online social media feeds to concentrate on the assignments at hand.

7. Get real.

Be realistic about how long things actually take. For example, gauging that reading a history chapter will take an hour and writing a response will take another 30 minutes will suggest a workable framework for time allotment.

8. Use class time wisely.

Is the teacher finished lecturing with 10 minutes of class left? Get a jump on the homework while it’s still fresh in your mind. Or use the time to ask the teacher about concepts that were fuzzy the first time.

9. Look over class notes each night.

Fill in details, edit the parts that don’t make sense and star or highlight the bits of information that are most important. Interacting regularly with notes will pay dividends when recall is required.

10. Study a little every day.

Cramming Spanish vocabulary for a quiz might work in the short-term, but for the final exam it does little to advance from Square 1. After acing the quiz, review the terms later to store them away in the memory banks them for the long haul.

11. Don’t be discouraged by a bad grade.

A rough start to the semester doesn’t have to sink one’s GPA. Take proactive steps by checking grades regularly online and getting guidance from the teacher, if necessary.

12. Make a friend in every class.

Find a few people that can serve as contacts in each class. They will come in handy in the event of a homework question or missed class — and vice-versa. Plus when exam time rolls around, the study group is already formed.

Here’s to a great year!