Now’s the time to practice academic success skills

As students resume their school routines, it’s a good time to start practicing skills for student success.   Many of the tips that follow are from Dave Ellis’ Becoming a Master Student and apply to students of all ages:

1. Set measurable, meaningful goals for academics, athletics and activities. Earn a 3.5 GPA, is a measurable goal, while get good grades is not. Refer to goals to stay motivated and to track progress.

2. Use a planner. Besides noting homework and due dates, include activities, sports, service, and social commitments. Consider using electronic calendars and sync all devices; set up reminders/alerts.  Prioritize activities as urgent or non-negotiable, important, or least important; color coding may help to denote priority levels.

3. Learn to say no. Say no to activities that interfere with goals, priorities and busy schedules. Share goals with others to gain support and understanding.

4. Be prepared, avoid absences, and be attentive in class. Complete homework/readings on time to keep up with the course material. When possible, sit in the front of the classroom where it is easier to see the board and to soak in material. Ask questions and participate in classroom discussions. Speaking up provides communication practice, a key skill sought by employers, and helps to stay engaged.

 5. Study in an environment that is free from distractions or temptations. A library, study area, or dining table, may be far more effective than a bedroom. Don’t answer calls, texts, or check social media sites while working. Set up break times and rewards after completing an assignment.

6. Add extra review time to your schedule. Beyond assigned homework or reading, take time to review, re-read, recite, re-write (notes), and to repeat (problems). Daily, weekly, and major review sessions will surely improve comprehension, retention, and recall of material.  This practice will help reduce test anxiety and also improve results.

7. Meet with teachers and take advantage of resources. Many teachers and professors are available to help students during free periods or office hours. Schools often offer math or writing labs where additional help is available. Be proactive; it is easier to maintain than recover grades.

8. Form study groups. Many students find studying with others is helpful; group activities include reviewing material, comparing notes, and quizzing one another.  As a bonus, meeting with others may make it easier to stick with the study date and time.

 9. Take care of your physical and mental health. Health and well-being is critical for student and life success. It is important to get enough rest, to eat a healthy diet, and to exercise, as this helps ensure strong attendance and top performance levels in school, sports, and extra-curricular activities.

Successful student practices vary by individual preferences, as well as by subject material; experiment, modify and use techniques as needed.  With awareness, motivation, and follow through, habits can be formed for student success.

Ferah Aziz is a college coach with launchphase2. Visit www. or call 720-340-8111 to learn more about coaching for college bound students, and success coaching for college students. P. Carol Jones is the author of “Toward College Success: Is Your Teenager Ready, Willing, and Able.” Visit to read excerpts and to follow her blog.