The peaks and pitfalls of students’ studying habits


    Spanish teacher Carlos Silvestre studied a lot as a kid; no matter how busy he was, he found time to hit the books.

    “[Studying] was something that my family was very strict about,” Silvestre said. “If there was no studying, there was no playing. I couldn’t watch [TV] if I didn’t do my studying.”

    Although TV isn’t as big of a distraction as it used to be, other things like streaming services and social media have become quite the roadblock for students trying to get all their school work done.

    “I know that many kids binge-watch shows,” Silvestre said. “Social media is something they do simultaneously while doing homework. So, it’s a big distraction, both streaming services on computers and [on] phones and social media.”

    Junior Lindsay Larson is taking Orchestra, AP seminar, Algebra 2, AP Macroeconomics, AP World History, and AP Language and Composition; she doesn’t have time for distractions like Instagram, Snapchat, and Netflix.

    Between balancing her busy agenda and her extracurricular activities—which include being the leader of the Book Club and volunteering her time at Pine Ridge—it can be difficult to find the time for everything; but, Lindsay has figured it out.

    “[I] just do things when they need to be done,” Lindsay said. “I come home, sit down, and focus [instead of] going on my phone for hours or watching Netflix.”

    A second thing that helps Lindsay manage the workload of her classes is to try and plan ahead for how much homework she’ll have. She looks at the week and figures out little pockets of time that she’ll be able to study. It helps her better manage her time and make sure everything gets done.

    “Some nights I’ll only have an hour [of homework],” Lindsay said, “but sometimes, I’ll have four hours; it [really] fluctuates. [It’s] frustrating because it’s hard to plan ahead if you never really know how much [homework] you’re going to have.”

    The third way Lindsay manages all her AP classes is that she uses Quizlets to help her study and review material for tests.

    “I love Quizlets,” Lindsay said. “I find a Quizlet to help [me] study. I’ll also go over my notes and if there is a textbook I’ll go over the textbook.”

    The way sophomore Alyssa Cheslek stays on top of her school work is doing homework whenever she can, whether it be between classes or late at night.

    “Honestly [I] just do homework whenever I can,” Alyssa said. “I do homework sometimes at lunch, and then I also do it on [the] bus rides to games or tournaments [for golf]. Sometimes, it’s just staying up later and getting it done.”

    Another thing that Alyssa and Lindsay have in common is glancing at their week’s schedules and scheduling time to study.

    “[I] look at the week’s schedule and figure out when I have time to [study],” Alyssa said. “[Sometimes] even looking two or three weeks ahead if [I] have a project. If I know I have a test on Friday but I also have a golf tournament, then I will start studying for it on Tuesday night.”

    When starting to study for a test, Alyssa starts by figuring out what she needs to know for that specific subject. She first figures out what she doesn’t understand and from there she teaches herself what she doesn’t know and reviews what she understands.

    “If I know [that] I have to know certain things for that [subject], I make sure I understand the things I don’t know first,” Alyssa said. “Then, [I] go back and review so that if I don’t have time I [won’t] be reviewing all the [topics] I already know.”

    Junior Megan Cushman also likes to take an inventory of the topics she doesn’t know for each unit so she can be sure she is studying for what she needs to, instead of going over what she already knows.

    “I usually review my notes a little bit,” Megan said. “[I] take an inventory of the things I don’t know off the top of my head. I usually don’t have to study a lot before tests. I know the material and am just reminding myself.”

    Between crew, marching band, Book Club, and work, Megan has had to become an expert at time management.

    “I do everything I can at school to make sure I don’t have homework when I get home,” Megan said. “I don’t dilly dally when I get home; I get my [homework] done when I get home so I have the rest of the night to do whatever [I want].”

    I do everything I can at school to make sure I don’t have homework when I get home”

    — Megan Cushman

    Dealing with the extra workload of high school can be stressful, so freshman Sam MacKenzie has had to get creative in order to be more organized with everything his schedule throws at him.

    “[I] definitely use a planner [because] it really helps,” Sam said. “[Also,] I’ve been trying to write down how long [assignments] will take.”

    Sam—in addition to Lindsay—is also a fan of using third-party websites to help prepare for tests and quizzes.

    “I always use flashcards,” Sam said. “I [also] try to find Quizlets and Kahoots.”

    Whether you’re using colorful, competitive websites like Lindsay and Sam to revisit information, or reviewing textbook chapters and notes like Alyssa and Megan, or even just sitting down and getting it done, the most important thing is time management.

    “If I know I have to know certain things for that [test], I make sure I understand things I don’t know first, then [I] go back and review [things I don’t know],” Alyssa said. “It’s all about proper time management.”