High School Study Tips

Top 15 High School Study Tips

How many times have you planned to work on your homework only to end up filming a Tiktok video or fixing your Instagram feed until midnight?

Yeah, yeah, we hear you. We know how hard it is to stay focused on studying especially with the presence of so many interesting platforms and applications that you would rather engage on. 

However, you can’t go on slacking off and relying on God’s plan to ace your exams. You should stop making excuses and start working on achieving your goals.

In this article, we listed down some timeless tips and good study habits for high school students that can guide you in retracing your track towards that coveted diploma. These aren’t just tips that will help you in high school, but life in general.

Take a Break From Social Media

If you’re going to start on that paper due tomorrow, the first thing you have to do is to turn off your phone’s notification or keep it in a drawer far from your sight.

Constantly checking your social media accounts every time a notification pops out will only distract you from finishing or even starting. It would interrupt your thoughts and you may find it hard to recall ideas you previously have in mind.

If you’re worried that you’ll miss out on the virtual world, you have to realize that you can always reconnect with your social media friends with just one tap. However, your teacher would not be that easy to talk to once you failed his subject. 

Find a Peaceful Spot to Study

Create a study-friendly environment by finding a space inside your home where you can’t hear your dad’s football game antics and your mom’s loud phone conversations. 

By doing this, you won’t get distracted and you’ll find it easy to focus on your task at hand. You will better understand the book you are reading or quickly memorize terminologies for your upcoming test.

If you can’t find a peaceful corner at home, try to go to a coffee shop or a park near you for a change of scenery. Who knows, you might even draw inspiration from observing other people’s actions. If this doesn’t appeal to you, the local library is still one of the best options.

Here are some other things to keep in mind in creating an ideal study environment:

  • If there are distracting smells (body odor or cookies baking), move to another spot.
  • Make sure that the lighting is not poor.
  • Make sure you are not too cold or hot.
  • Don’t be so comfortable you could nap, but so uncomfortable you can’t concentrate (Find a happy medium!).
  • If checking the time is going to make you anxious, try not to have clocks visible, and set an alarm if you have another engagement.
  • Unless you work well with others, don’t work around others — friends may fight for your attention, or you may start eavesdropping on someone’s conversation.

Be Engaged, Take Notes, and Listen During Discussions

Our minds naturally wander, and when this happens, our focus is removed from the present which means we’re not absorbing the material being taught.

Participating in class is still one of the best study skills for high school students to build. It helps you to stay focused on what is being taught. You can do this by:

  • raising your hand to ask questions
  • engaging in class discussion
  • taking notes

One method of note-taking is to rephrase your notes in a way that helps you better grasp the concepts, as is shown in the Cornell Method Note-taking.

If this method doesn’t work for you, another method you can try is to draw pictures in your notes.

Spending time to come up with a picture representation will reinforce the concept in your head the same way re-phrasing might. And if you’re not super artistic, don’t worry! The pictures don’t have to be perfect; they just have to convey the concept to you in some way other than words.

Use Colorful Highlighters in Organizing Information

Some students thought that using colorful sharpies to highlight texts are just for aesthetic reasons. In reality, highlighters are necessary to emphasize key points from your lectures and books. 

A 2017 study made my Nishimura and Kuwahara from Kyoto Institute of Technology states that using a highlighter pen improves the learning efficiency of students as it speeds up reading while promoting retention.

Using highlighters is quite an effective technique to use if you’re looking for tips on how to study for tests in high school. Memorizing different concepts from multiple subjects will tire you out but through these colorful pens, scanning your notes would not be too much of a burden.

Check out these highlighting tips to make highligting more effective:

1. Color-code key ideas right after initial note-taking.

2. Assign colors to signify categories.

3. Use only three to four colors of highlighters to avoid complicating your notes.

4. Make sure that you are highlighting only the key points.

Make Use of Your Extra Time Wisely

If your teacher dismissed you early because of a faculty meeting or declared a research day for the whole class, use that time to browse your notes and review some of the topics that you find difficult to understand. You may also want to go to the library and finish your homework while waiting for your next class.

This may create the impression that you are an overly studious person, but who cares? You get a lot of free time after class unlike your classmates who still have to take their activities at home.

Imagine this, they stay up late to work on their assignments while you’re just watching Netflix with your family and updating your facebook status. Who’s wise now?

Use a Planner to Track Your Homework & Other Tasks.

Majority of students find a lot of homework unnecessary.

The truth is, homework is designed to help reinforce what is taught in class. Repetition is often the key to memorizing something. It is one of the key skills for high school students that should not be missed.

A better way of staying on top of your assignments is by tracking them. You may begin with buying a planner that is both visually appealing and functional. You can also download a study planner from the app store if you aren’t fond of carrying a thick journal around. This could motivate you to be a little more organized.

In using your planner, don’t just list down what is due each day, but:

  • Pencil in study time for your upcoming quizzes and tests
  • Break larger assignments like essays and research papers into steps

Doing your homework on time means you will be more prepared for your tests and quizzes, but what happens when you need help with homework?

  • Ask your teacher for clarification after class.
  • See them in office hours.
  • Ask a smart kid — you can usually tell if someone else gets what you don’t. So don’t be afraid to ask them if they can help you, and exchange numbers. (You may even get a new friend out of it!).
  • Get tutoring.
  • Check online.
  • Check the textbook.
  • Go back over your notes.

Have an Organizational System in Place

If I asked you to show me your homework for tonight, how long would it take you to do so? Would you have to ruffle through a mess of papers to get it? 

Having a 3-ring binder for your high school classes can be a big help to keep those stray papers out of your backpack.

What to put in your 3-ring binder:

  • Looseleaf paper for notes and written assignments
  • Printer paper (If you find it more effective to draw your notes, this can be great alternative to those pesky blue & red lines)
  • Hole-punched folders — keep assignments for each class in a different colored folder, or label folders on the front with their class name (Ex: “English”)
  • Dividers labeled with class name — so you can have all your classes in one binder but separated.

When you buy dividers, try to get the kind with tabs on the ends. This way, you can open directly to the subject you need without leafing through the binder. If you weren’t able to buy one, you can get sticky notes instead.

Buy either the standard note pads or get the kind that work as bookmarks (“Post-it Flags” is one name for them).

You can mark different areas of your binder this way and write on the ends of the sticky notes so you see them even when the binder is closed.

Create a Routine

Aside from keeping track of your assignments in your planner, another good study habit for high school students is to get into a regular routine. For example, waking up the same day every morning.

Here’s an example for you: Routine improves your high school grades

When you’re creating your routine, take these steps:

  1. Decide when you want to wake up, and when you want to go to bed. Make a habit of it.
  2. Then write down everything you do in-between. If it’s different for different days of the week, then do this for each day.
  3. Note the time that different things start and end, and how much time that is overall (Ex: [10:30] AM – [11:00] AM is 30 minutes)
  4. Fill these into the spaces between when your “start” and “end” times.
  5. Note any gaps and decide what to do with them
  6. Make sure to include two or more hours for homework every day after classes if you weren’t able to do them during your free time. (In case you don’t have homework one day, you can still plan to, and then be pleasantly surprised by extra free time!)

Have Daily and Weekly Objectives in Place

To make sure you accomplish things systematically, you might want to identify your daily and weekly goals just like the example given below.

Weekly study objectives

Utilizing this high school study skill is important because it allows you to practice breaking larger tasks into smaller ones so you don’t have to keep reminding yourself to do them and you still accomplish what you wanted to.

Do Not Procrastinate

When you get home from a long day at school, it’s easy to think “I need a break” and flop down in front of the TV or check out the most trending video in the internet.

Trust me, I’ve been there. We’ve all been guilty of procrastinating. But in the long run, it ends up causing us more trouble. 

The 2 most effective ways to beat procrastination are:

  1. Strong habits created through routine repetition
  2. Doing before you think

Strong study skills for high school students can come from refining the routine we talked about in tip #8.

What about “doing before you think?”

Nike’s on the right track with their “Just do it” campaign. The more you think about how hard or unenjoyable a task is going to be, the more you push it off. Instead, think of how things will be after you finish that task, and use this to fuel your energy towards getting it done!

Join Study Groups

Joining or forming a study group has a lot of benefits. You get to work with people who have unique insights and they can help you out with topics you are having trouble understanding.

Here’s a list of the perks of being in a study group:

  1. Talent sharing
  2. Having a strong support system
  3. Comparing notes
  4. Learning new ideas
  5. Gaining friends 

If you find yourself having trouble with a particular subject or topic, do not be shy and approach people you know who can help you. That way, you are also meeting a lot of people and making smart connections.

Manage High School Stress.you

Two quick test anxiety tips are the following:

1. Take Breaks

Sitting at a computer for 5 hours or doing any task for an extended period of time can put a strain on you. If your back already aches and you have already run out of ideas about your task, try walking for a little bit and make a cup of tea to relax you. 

2. Think Positive

Don’t tell yourself negative things like “I’m not good at this” or “I’m going to fail this class.”

Doing so lowers your confidence and this can directly affect your performance on tests and assignments. 

One of the best ways you can counteract negative thoughts is to replace them with positive, actionable ones. Our article on test anxiety goes into detail about how to do this.

Cognitive restructuring

Cognitive restructuring (what I just showed you) is one of the study skills for high school students that isn’t talked about nearly enough! So don’t write it off.

Take advantage of the Technology Available

There are many high school apps that can serve as effective study methods.

Use the app that works best for you — any of these apps can make high school life just a little bit easier!

Taking notes:High school homework help:Studying for a test:
Zoho NotebookBrainlyQuizlet
Google KeepGoogle DriveiFormulas
Apple NotesDuolingoSimpleMind
SimplenHomework HelpAP Flashcards
Dropbox PaperSocratic by GoogleAnki
BoostnoteHomework HelperTinycards
Standard NotesiMathGoConqr

Consider Your Learning Style

One of your friends encouraged you to record yourself while reading your notes and then listen to it repeatedly to memorize them. She said she got a perfect score on the last exam by doing the same thing. 

You did as she suggested but you ended up getting only a passing score. What, then, is the problem?

The thing about learning is there’s no general way on how to retain and recall information. Everyone has their own learning style and figuring out what style best works for you would greatly help in managing the cognitive demand of your subjects.

The following are some of the different types of students according to their learning style:

1. Visual Learners – This type of learner prefers using pictures and diagrams to memorize important facts and concepts.

2. Auditory Learners – These are students who learn more from audios and other materials that require listening.

3. Tactile/Kinesthetic Learners – These students consider movements and experiences as the most effective way of retaing information.

Evaluate Yourself

At the end of the day, it’s always good to reflect on the things that you were able to learn. You could use the following questions to guide you:

  1. What have I learned from the discussions?
  2. What changes do I see in myself because of the things I have learned?
  3. How can I apply these things in my daily life?
  4. What is the significance of the concepts I have learned?

By being able to answer all these, you will also find out what study methods for high school really fits you. From there, you can taylor your strategies in a way that would make you value learning more. 


Let’s recap the Top 15 high school study tips we discussed:

  1. Take a break from social media
  2. Find a peaceful spot to study
  3. Be engaged, take notes, and listen during discussions
  4. Use colorful highlighters in organizing information
  5. Make use of your extra time wisely
  6. Use a planner to track your homework & other tasks
  7. Have an organizational system in place
  8. Create a routine
  9. Have daily and weekly objectives in place
  10. Do not procrastinate
  11. Join study groups
  12. Manage high school stress
  13. Take advantage of the technology available
  14. Consider your learning style
  15. Evaluate yourself

All of these things play a key role in making learning easier and fun. Make sure to apply some of these tips in your studies!

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Todd VanDuzer

Co-Founder & CEO at Student-Tutor
Hello! My name is Todd. I help students design the life of their dreams by ensuring college, scholarship, and career success! I am a former tutor for seven years, $85,000 scholarship recipient, Huffington Post contributor, lead SAT & ACT course developer, host of a career exploration podcast for teens, and have worked with thousands of students and parents to ensure a brighter future for the next generation. I invite you to join my next webinar to learn how to save thousands + set your teenager up for college, scholarship, and career success!
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8 years ago

Thanks for the article — I am at one of my lowest points as an academic and a musician. Old habits die hard

8 years ago
Reply to  Todd VanDuzer

I would like to hear your thoughts on ‘Making the grade.’ I’m definitely unable to pull off straight As, but I already set sights on finding a passion and being stable with mind, body, and soul. Many students are pressuring themselves or just plain over-the-top stressed out over this matter.
I love learning from experience and your input has been extremely helpful each article 🙂

Laura Petersen (@lsp_s)
Laura Petersen (@lsp_s)
8 years ago
Reply to  Kate

Yes, Kate, let us know what specifically we could help with!? 🙂 We love this stuff and would be happy to share ideas/recommendations depending on what you might need.