Study skills tips for adolescents

At School Experiences.

In school, adolescents are expected to be increasingly independent and organized in their work. These expectations can place a large load on all aspects of executive function. Basic organization skills can be very helpful in this regard. The list below can serve as a guide for teens to use.

Break a project down into manageable pieces. n Identify reasonable plans (with timelines) for completing each piece. Be sure that all steps have been explicitly identified and ensure that the completion of each step is recognized and celebrated.

Self-monitor while working. Set a timer to go off periodically as a reminder to check on whether one is paying attention and understanding. When you don’t understand, what might be the problem? Are there words you don’t know? Do you know what the directions are? Is there someone you can ask for help? Would looking back at your notes help? If you have stopped paying attention, what distracted you? What might you do to refocus? Identify key times to self-monitor (e.g., before handing in an assignment, when leaving the house, etc.)

Be aware of critical times for focused attention. Multitasking impedes learning. Identify ways to reduce distractions (e.g., turn off electronics, find a quiet room). n Use memory supports for organizing tasks. Mnemonic devices can be powerful tools for remembering information. Developing the habit of writing things down also helps.

Keep a calendar of Project Deadlines and Steps Along the Way.

After completing an assignment, reflect on what did and did not work well. Develop a list of things that have supported focused and sustained attention as well as good organization, memory and project completion. Think about ways to ensure that these supports are in place for other projects.

Think about what was learned from assignments that were not completed well. Was this due to a lack of information, a need to improve certain skills, bad time management, etc.? What would you do differently next time?

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