Study Skills

Tips For Academic Success

Middle school is a crucial period in a student's academic development. It is the time where fundamental skills are being developed to be applied in high school and beyond. Schoolwork is also becoming more challenging and more abstract in nature.  Students are being asked to use their brains analytically and intuitively. As a result, it is necessary to establish strong study habits and a method of learning in order to gain the optimum amount of skills and information. 

By considering the following factors, you can develop the skills needed to absorb, understand and apply information in middle school. 

  • Create an appropriate study environment.
  • Develop a calm attitude
  • Understand your learning style
  • Know how to cope with and overcome a challenge
  • Actively participate in class
  • Take good notes 
  • Ask good questions when you are unsure. 
  • Use your homework as practice. 
  • Use good time management strategies and meet all deadlines for assignments.
  • Use active, task-oriented study strategies
  • Focus on the areas that need the most attention
  • Work with others
  • Develop crucial essay writing skills 
  • Get extra support in reading, writing, and math skills if necessary. 

Organizational Tips


12. Organize your locker shelves

·         Put the materials from the first 2-3 hours of the day on your top shelf of locker shelf.

·         Put the other materials from the other classes on the bottom shelf

·         Put miscellaneous materials (ones you don’t use every day) on top shelf of locker.

11. Create a list of materials for each class

·         Post a list in your locker, identifying the basic materials you need to bring to each class. Use it as a reference on days you are feeling scattered.

10. Organize materials

·         For each core subject area, use a small binder that is organized with the following tasks:

o    Homework/Completed Assignments

o    Notes

o    Returned/Corrected Assignments and Quizzes

o    Syllabus/Study Guides/Reviews

o    Other

·         Separate each tab by units to keep material organized.

9. Color Code your materials

·         Have a matching folder or binder, notebook, and textbook cover for each subject, so it is easy to access the right materials.

8.   Carry a pencil bag for all of your smaller materials

·         (pencils, pens, highlighters, calculator, etc.)


7. Carry your Assignment Notebook to every class, and write it in at the end of every class.

·         Tape your schedule to the inside cover.

·         Be certain your name is on it.

·         Bring it home every night, and refer to it as you do homework.

6. Color code your assignment notebook

·         Green = daily homework assignments

·         Red = Due dates for tests and quizzes.

·         Purple = Long term assignments – break them down into smaller tasks over multiple days

·         Blue = Tasks that need to be done to prepare for the Red tasks (tests, quizzes). Go backwards 2-3 days from any Red task and identify what you will do to prepare. (ie. Review flash cards, rewrite notes, etc.)

5. Pack as you go

·         After each class, identify the materials you will need for homework that night and put those materials directly in your backpack. At the end of the day, you can be certain you will not forget anything.

4. Establish a homework routine

·         Include a minimum of 45 minutes of HW time per day.

·         Follow the same routine every day.

3. Look at Infinite Campus at least twice a week, if not daily.

·         Note current grade

·         Note any missing assignments, and make a plan as to how to get caught up

·         Communicate plan with your teacher

2. Highlight completed tasks

·         When you finish an assignment or task, highlight it in your Assignment Notebook so you know it is done.

·         Place the finished assignment in a designated spot (left side of your folder, special tab in your binder, inside pocket of a binder, etc.).

1. Pack your backpack at night so it is ready to go in the morning. 

Effective Study Strategies







Note Taking

·          Write down key words, leave gaps to fill in details.

·          Use a tape recorder.

·          Using Cornell Notes, summarize your notes out loud and discuss your questions with a partner.

·          Use symbols, charts, diagrams, or semantic maps when taking notes.

·          Copy visuals/ diagrams in your Cornell Notes.


·          Within your Cornell Notes, take notes on real world examples that are provided in class.

·          Summarize what you experienced in any hands on activities.

·          Use Post Its when taking notes.

Participating in class

·          Read out loud whenever possible.

·          Whisper to yourself when reading independently.

·          Summarize what you have learned to a partner, teacher, or tape recorder.

·          Sit in front to avoid visual distractions.

·          Use highlighters to key word information.

·          Summarize what you heard in class by creating a diagram.

·          Volunteer to participate as much as possible.

·          Pay close attention to real world examples.

Completing Projects

·          Present orally whenever possible.

·          Read your rubric out loud to double check you have remembered to include everything.

·          Use visuals when you present information.

·          Use your rubric to make sure you have included all necessary requirements.

·          Use models and manipulatives when presenting information.

·          Use your rubric to make sure you have included all the necessary requirements.



Highlight 2 or 3 strategies that you think would work for you. Try one when studying for an upcoming test.

·          Review flashcards out loud.

·          Use a discussion group to review notes. Fill in gaps. Talk about what confuses you.

·          Discuss concepts with a partner. Ask someone to ask curiosity questions and try to find the answers to them.

·          If you tape recorded anything, listen to the tape numerous times.

·          Create 5 “W” questions for each major concept and discuss answer them out loud.

·          For essay questions, tape record your answer, then write it down.

·          Flashcards should include symbols and pictures.

·          Rewrite your notes into a diagram with meaning.

·          Review notes by highlighting and color coding them. Replace words with symbols.

·          Redraw your notes from memory.

·          Create 5 “W” questions for each major concept and draw or write the answers.

·          First diagram your essay questions. Then turn it into a paragraph.

·          Make flashcards and arrange them for meaning.

·          Rewrite your notes to include an example of each concept.

·          Use websites that offer review games and practice tests. (

·          Use manipulatives to model the information you are studying.

·          Find real world pictures that illustrate your concepts.

·          Walk while reviewing your information.

·          Create a practice test for yourself. Include the 5 “W” questions.

·          Prepare for essays by practicing – write the answers out.

Taking Tests

·          Listen to your voice and write down what you hear.

·          When confused about an answer, discuss it with the teacher.

·          Read the questions and your answers quietly to yourself to double check.

·          Recall pictures and diagrams from your notes.

·          When confused, diagram what you know and then fill in the gaps.

·          If possible, use a diagram to explain your answer.

·          Key word the directions/questions to double check that you completely answered them.

·          Recall experiences to help you remember.

·          When confused, try to think of an example and explain that.

·          Use an example when explaining something.

·          Double check your work prior to handing it in.