3 Key Tips for Succeeding in High School

Eva Mckinzie
Published on
May 21, 2021

It’s not an understatement to say that high school can be a true roller coaster. From starting freshman year and trying to find a group of friends while adjusting to your new school, to being a stressed AP or IB student cramming for exams, high school definitely isn’t an easy ride.

There have probably been times at which you’ve found yourself extremely stressed, unhappy, and simply not in a good place academically, emotionally, or mentally. Even though high school can start out seemingly impossible to navigate, there are actually a myriad of things that can make the time easier and more enjoyable.

In this article, we will discuss 3 tips that will help you succeed in high school. Hopefully, after you finish reading, you will be able to look upon high school through different eyes!

Tip 1: Start assignments in advance

There are definitely different types of students: some prefer to try to get their assignments done as quickly as possible and don’t wait till the last minute to start, but others procrastinate and wait until the very end to even think about beginning.

In reality, there aren’t many students who are 100% on top of every single assignment, project, and test at all times. However, creating the habit of not waiting too long to do whatever it is you need to complete is a crucial aspect of succeeding in high school.

For assignments, you should try to start them not too long after they are assigned. Keeping the deadline in mind is important; if something is due the very next day, it’s smart to finish it at home that evening (trying to finish work at school during the day that it’s due is very stressful, and can lead to you not submitting your best work because of the lack of time spent working on it, and due to a lack of concentration).

If an assignment is due at a later time, it’s in your best interest to split up the work between the days you have until you must turn it in. This will allow you to work in sections, and not have to worry about completing a huge amount in just one sitting.

The same idea goes for quizzes, tests, and other forms of assessments- splitting up the material makes it possible for you to review smaller chunks at a time (and makes it less intimidating in the sense that some assessments cover a LOT of hard topics). Start studying early- it will do you wonders, and you will see drastic improvements in your grades!

As a high school student, it may prove to be rather hard to always stay on top of your homework, projects, and studying. There will most likely be times when you simply can’t avoid finishing up an assignment an hour before it’s collected, or studying for a test the day it will actually occur.

This is normal, and usually isn’t too big of an issue, unless you are ALWAYS doing this. Creating good time management/work ethic habits is key to succeeding as a high school student.

Tip 2: Figure out what studying methods work best for you

As you progress through your months and years of high school, you’ll probably get closer to realizing what methods work for you in terms of preparing for your quizzes, tests, and AP/IB exams. Study methods that work for your best friend may prove to not be as useful for you, and this is perfectly fine because all students are different.

However, it is sometimes easy to get caught up in what your peers are doing, which can lead to you not maximizing your scores simply because you’re studying the wrong way.

There are a variety of different ways people go about studying. For example, someone may find it beneficial to redo every single math problem from the unit right before the test. While this may work for them, it may not be as good for you. Perhaps, you find it more useful to just reread your notes or rewatch your teacher’s lectures (if you have online classes).

In your physics class, there may be a boy that tends to reread the entire chapter in his textbook before a unit exam occurs. A different boy may prefer just making a study guide with all the formulas and definitions that are pertinent to the exam, and he may not find rereading the whole chapter helpful. Neither review method is “right”; whatever works for a specific person is always how they should study!

It may take a while for you to truly figure out which study methods and routines work best. It may be useful to try out different methods of preparation for each of your classes, and see if you can decide what results in you getting the best results.

This can include looking over material from the class, doing practice problems, or forming study groups to review alongside your classmates. Never forget about all of the great online resources such as Quizlet and Khan Academy!

Taking the time to figure out what study methods are ideal for you and your academic needs is super crucial for succeeding in high school. Even if it may take a while, it will most certainly be worth it, as you will use the same techniques throughout your educational career.

Tip 3: Make time for doing what you love

High school is a time when grades and test scores matter so much because you have your college goals and dreams to work towards, and you will probably find yourself busier with school work than ever before. You may be confined to your desk at 2 in the morning or for a whole weekend, grinding for your exam or presentation.

However, success will not be achieved unless you do something specific: find time to engage in activities outside of school that make you happy. Keeping yourself in a positive mental state will help you actually keep yourself active, so high school is not just academics, academics, academics.

Whether it’s a sport, club, musical activity, or anything else you enjoy, you should aim to include it in your schedule, as much as possible. There is no doubt that you will be busy with school work for the vast majority of your time, but incorporating your favorite activities into your schedule will serve the amazing purposes of not only taking your mind off the stress of school but also giving you something to look forward to.

Studying for an important exam can become much easier if you know in the back of your mind that after a few hours, you’ll get to go to your favorite club’s meeting, or your volleyball practice, and spend time doing what you love with the people that you love.

Keeping up with your favorite activities also ensures that you remain more than just a student. It’s so easy to become extremely confined to your schoolwork and studies, which is good to a certain extent.

However, when all you do is study and work on your assignments, it isn’t hard to drift away from being a person with a wide variety of interests and enjoyable activities towards a person who is seemingly defined by their scholastic accomplishments only.

This is where your activities come in; not only do you get to participate in what you love, but you get to continue to prove to be a person who is so much more than just school, school, and more school.

Making time for doing what you love is just as important as studying and working on assignments for many hours. To be a successful high school student, you need both; only one will not work.

Finding a balance between being an academically oriented student and a teenager that participates in outside activities is the key to becoming the best version of yourself during your high school years!

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