Students, start smart this new school year

Hinsdale youth are back in class! Stepping up a grade means a higher level of academic rigor — and a greater need for effective study habits. Here are some tips from “The Princeton Review” to help make the year a success.

1. Have multiple study spaces.

A quiet place at home is key, but variety can help, too. Libraries, parks or even just moving from the bedroom to the kitchen table can stimulate the brain to retain information better.

2. Keep a catch-all calendar.

In addition to jotting down homework assignments, mark extracurricular and social commitments in a planner to make sure nothing gets overlooked.

3. Start small.

Take a piecemeal approach to big assignments like a research paper, maybe writing one or two paragraphs each night.

4. Get organized.

Come up with a system and keep to it. Whether it’s one big binder for all classes or separate notebooks and folders for each, keep the system simple so you’re more apt to keep it up everyday.

5. Get into a routine.

Find the time that works best to get that homework done (with flexibility when needed) and commit to finishing all assignments.

6. Create a distraction-free zone.

Try turning off phone notifications and blocking social media (temporarily) in order to concentrate on the tasks at hand.

7. Get real.

Be realistic about how long that list of the night’s assignments will actually take. Gauging that reading a history chapter will take 20 minutes and writing a response will take another 20 minutes will help in planning how to apportion time.

8. Use class time wisely.

Have a few minutes of downtime at the end of class before the bell rings? Get a jump on that chemistry homework while it’s still fresh or use the time to ask the teacher about concepts still proving elusive.

9. Study a little every day.

Cramming Spanish vocabulary the night before a quiz that’s been on the calendar for weeks might work sometimes, but the more effective way to learn and retain information is by reinforcement over several sessions. Go over the material more than once — and review it afterwards because it’s a safe bet it’ll be needed again down the road.

10. Use bad grades for good.

A rough start to a class is not the end of the world. Talk with the teacher about ways to improve and make the class a priority during study/homework time rather than pushing it off until the end. The perseverance will pay off.

12. Make a friend in every class.

Build connections among classmates for when homework questions come up or when a recap is needed due to a missed class. Hopefully fostering networks for support will become a lifelong pursuit.