Middle School Tips
Updated: Jul 24, 2020
Here are some things that can help put you ahead in school:
The old saying "breakfast is the most important meal of the day" is never more true than when you're going to school. Students are more alert and perform better in class if they eat a good breakfast.
Get enough sleep. Studies show that teens need at least 8½ hours of sleep each night to feel rested. Sleep deprivation can lead students to fall asleep in class (embarrassing if you're caught!) and can also make it hard to concentrate. It can be more productive to get the sleep you need than it is to stay up late cramming: A recent study found that students who got adequate sleep before a math test were nearly three times more likely to figure out the problem than those who stayed up all night.
Do more work at school and you'll have less to do at home. Take advantage of those times during the school day when you're not in class: Review notes, go to the library or computer lab, get a head-start on your homework, or start your research for that big research paper coming up. You'll be thankful later while you're at the movies or a concert and your classmates are stuck at home cramming!
One of the best ways to make friends and learn your way around is by joining school clubs, sports teams, and activities. Even if you can't kick a 30-yard field goal or sing a solo, getting involved in other ways — going to a school game, helping with a bake sale, or cheering on friends at a softball game — can help you feel like you are a part of things.
School is a time to make friends and try new things, but it's also a place to learn skills like organization and decision making that will come in handy for the rest of your life.
Having a Brain Drain?
School seemed simple when you were younger. Everyone told you where to go, what classes to take, and how to finish your homework. Now things are different; there are so many choices and priorities competing for your time. Stretch yourself too thin and you may find yourself feeling stressed out.
Here are some things you can do to help regain control:
Plan ahead. Get a wall calendar or personal planner. Mark the dates of midterms, finals, and other tests. Note the due dates of term papers, essays, and other projects as they are assigned. List any other time commitments you have, like basketball practice or play rehearsals. When your calendar starts to fill, learn to say no to additional activities until things calm down.
Stay ahead. Try not to fall behind. If you feel yourself falling behind and starting to feel frustrated, let your teachers know. It's better to get help early on than to wait and think you can ace the final if you spend a few nights cramming. Almost everyone struggles with a particular subject or class. If you're having trouble with a particular subject or homework project, ask your teacher for extra help after class. Taking a few minutes to address the problem right away can save time later, and if your teacher knows that you're struggling with something, he or she is likely to be more understanding of the situation.
Listen up. Paying attention in class can actually pay off in the long run. Sure, it's often easier said than done, but actively listening and taking notes during lectures can make recalling information easier when it comes time to study and remember things.
Take notes. If you take notes and review them before class begins (or while studying for an exam), you can ask a teacher to go over anything you don't understand. It can also be helpful to go over notes with a friend after class — as long as you're confident your friend really grasps the material! Learning good note-taking skills in high school also helps put you ahead of the curve in college, when good lecture notes are key to studying and doing well.