Studying: one thing teachers don’t teach

By Ethan Wagner

We’ve all been there: all-nighters, cramming the night before and then worst-case-scenario of “winging” a test. Maybe you forgot about your chemistry test until late the night before, or maybe you put off studying for your Spanish vocab quiz until lunch that day. Whether it’s forgetfulness or laziness, it’s clear that many high school students often resort to insufficient methods of studying.

However, there are many study strategies out there that don’t involve three hours of sleep and countless caffeine breaks. Teachers should include lessons on how to study in class to ensure that students can effectively prepare for tests and enjoy the future benefits of knowing how to study properly. This addition to the curriculum could translate to better scores on tests, quizzes and even AP exams.

Adding study strategies to classrooms isn’t complicated. At the beginning of the year, teachers could spend one lesson discussing proper study techniques for the course; though it’s only one day, it gives students the necessary tools to effectively prepare for future tests. Since classes have different types of tests, studying methods and lessons should vary.

Although cramming is popular with students because your only have to start studying the night before, it doesn’t help in the long-term. According to TIME Magazine, taking a test on the new information will help to recall that information better than cramming.

Studying is a key skill for student success, but knowing how to prepare benefits students far beyond high school. It’s a lifelong skill. When adults enter a job interview, they need to know the job forward and backwards to answer the interviewer’s questions. Knowing how to study also helps with organization skills. Whether it’s a soccer team schedule or a meeting-heavy day, organization makes everyday life that much easier.

Before AP exams in May, students need to start studying in advance in order to do well. Two weeks before the AP government exam, my teacher spent our class time giving practice tests and running through concepts from previous units. Though it was helpful, the time devoted to preparing for the exam wasn’t necessarily the best use of our class period. Obviously, it’s still important for students to review material before the exam, but if teachers had gone over different ways to study earlier in the year, the two weeks before the exam could have been used for learning material that’s usually taught after the exam.

Admittedly, teachers will have to spend class time to teach students how to study; however, the amount of time taken away is almost insignificant. The five minutes needed to go over study strategies would normally be used to give students time to pack up their backpacks.

Teaching study strategies in class doesn’t take much time or effort, and it could have dramatic effects on test scores. Students will be better prepared for the future—and as a bonus, get eight hours of sleep in place of all-night cram sessions.