School Skills

Studying and Organization

Here is some information that may be helpful when it comes to taking notes, organization, studying, and taking tests.

By: Mrs. Reszka, School Counselor

Note Taking

Taking notes will can help you prepare for a test but sometimes it is difficult to figure out what information is important and how to organize your notes. Your teacher might tell you exactly what to write down when taking notes on material for tests and quizzes. Many teachers will give you key words such as "this is very important" or "you might want to write this down" as a cue to write down important information. Sometimes your teacher will leave it up to you to decide what is important when taking notes.

When taking notes, make sure the subject and date are at the top of the paper. You can use graphic organizer, a "T" table format, or plain lined paper. If your teacher does not have a preference then use what works for you. Make sure the topic and relevant information is written down so you understand what you wrote. Each day is a fresh page of notes. You should write down when your test or quiz is on the top margin of your notes.


You cannot rush organization. Being organized will only help you study and remember information. You should not have any distracting items in or on your desk. Although fancy pencil toppers, sharpeners, erasers, and markers are fun they are a distraction.

Clean out your desk on a weekly basis to make sure everything is in place and you have everything that you need. Color coding your notebooks, folders, and book covers may be helpful. Use a planner to write down your homework and test dates. Write down the test dates and project completion dates on the day you find out and on every day leading up the the due date.

Refer to your planner when packing up your backpack for dismissal. Do not rush to get out the door. Check that you have everything you need for homework.

Organization is important at home also. Your homework and studying space needs to be organized. Keep the area clean and only have out what you need. When you are done with your homework make sure everything is back in your backpack for the next day. Use a calendar at home and write important dates from your planner on the calendar. There should be no surprises and no last minute preparation-plan ahead!

Study Skills

Studying is defined as to "devote time and attention to acquiring knowledge...", it is definitely not a quick look over. The studying starts in school when you first learn the information. Pay attention in the classroom and make sure you are facing the source of information. Also, do not let other students distract you from paying attention.

You need to take time each day to review important information. Depending on what type of learner you are, you can reread your notes out loud, rewrite your notes, draw pictures, use highlighters or markers to help important information stand out, make up your own study guide, use manipulatives, make index cards, use mnemonic devices, or reteach the information to a friend or family member. Get creative with studying. Repetition will reinforce skills or concepts and help you retain the information for tests and beyond. Take breaks in between the studying and chunk information-break information into smaller pieces.

Participate in class and ask questions if you don't understand something. If your teacher is available before school, during lunch, or in between subjects, ask for clarification or to work through another problem with them so you know if you are doing it correctly.

Test Taking Tips

  • Review information learned that day each night-studying is a process
  • The night before the test get a good night's sleep
  • The day of the test eat a good breakfast
  • The day of the test make sure you are prepared (writing utensils, eraser, glasses, etc.)
  • The day of the test dress in layers
  • Keep Calm and have a positive attitude
  • Do not rush though the test, take your time
  • Read all directions and answers
  • Underline or circle key words or symbols
  • If you get stuck on one question move on and go back to it later
  • Check all your work