Stay Informed!

How to Help Your Teen Build Their Study Skills

Knowing how to study is a skill that’s not often taught in schools, yet is critical to your teen’s achievement and success. Planning ahead, self-motivation, and focusing on the right things are skills that they can take with them to college and will prepare them for the working world beyond. We’ve compiled experts’ top studying tips that you can put into practice now to help your teen establish good habits for the school year ahead!



📷: Teen Life

Gather materials 

One of the first steps to a successful study or homework session is gathering everything that’s needed beforehand. Think of it as your child’s mise-en-place for studying effectively. It reduces the necessity of having to stop an assignment to look for supplies, so be sure their study area is well stocked with everything they need, like pens, pencils, plenty of paper, highlighters, a calculator, reference books, etc. 

Create a study center

If you haven’t already, designate a room in the home for your children’s study and homework area. Ideally, the room has a door that closes to reduce distractions, but a loft could also work well, as long as there isn’t TV, music, or other household noise nearby. Mountain House neighborhoods Welllington, Ashford, Sundance, and Cascada have fantastic teen rooms, lofts, or spaces perfect for study sessions. 

Eliminate distractions 

Establish a no-phone rule during study sessions and be firm. Nothing can kill concentration like endless pings of texts and social media updates. Unless a particular app is critical for completing an assignment, phones should be off limits. Computers as effective study aids is a topic that’s been up for debate in recent years. Many times they’re required in order to complete assignments and projects, but data has shown computers might not be as effective for studying and note taking. Overall material comprehension and retention is not as high when note taking on a computer versus by hand, in addition to other factors. 

Create a monthly/weekly plan

Use a wall or online calendar to help your teen map out their assignment, test, and project dates, and color code them by class and/or subject. How to study effectively is first and foremost a time management exercise, so by helping them see their school responsibilities in a monthly and weekly view is helping them build important skills they’ll need throughout college and in the working world. 

Build a weekly/daily worksheet 

Now it’s time to transfer that weekly calendar to a day planner or similar that breaks down the projects and itemizes them into specific tasks each day. As we all know, breaking up a large project into smaller milestones and bite-sized pieces makes it manageable and keeps us focused and on task. Learning how to study should be treated the same way. It’s project management 101, and your teen’s getting a crash course! With a task sheet, they’ll have purposeful study and homework time every time they hit the books. 

Encourage effective note-taking skills

Middle and high school is the time to teach and reinforce solid note-taking skills for better comprehension and retention both during class and while studying. There are several methods that are effective, teaching how to break down concepts, create summaries, and explain ideas in their own words. Check them out HERE and help your teen develop a method that’s most comfortable and successful for them. 

Don’t sacrifice sleep

Teens are already overtired and don’t get enough sleep each night. Staying up until the wee hours cramming for a test the next day is not effective. They’ll be exhausted and won’t remember much of the material anyway. If a choice must be made between sleep and studying late, sleep should always win out. 

Take breaks

Don’t forget to encourage them to give their eyes and brains a rest! Taking a break and checking out helps maintain stamina and focus, and increases overall productivity, efficiency, and creativity. Build in study breaks for a snack, some TV time, or catching up on their friends’ texts. A few studies have shown that about 50 minutes of focused work time, followed up by a 15 or 20-minute break, is an effective ratio. 

Best wishes for a great and successful school year!