Use a planner or calendar app to stay organized. It can be hard to remember every assignment you have due, especially if you're just getting used to having multiple classes a day. To make sure you don't forget anything, use a weekly planner to write down every homework assignment, quiz, test, and project that you're assigned. Remember to check your planner every day to make sure you know what you're supposed to turn in!
If you do most of your school work online, you might prefer using the calendar app on your device to track your assignments. Your school might also have an online assignment manager you can use.
You'll feel more confident in class if you always remember when your assignments are due!
You can include fun dates that you want to remember in your planner, like birthdays and holidays.
Place all of your paperwork in a binder. Get a regular 3-ring binder and use dividers to create different sections for each class. It can help to put pocket folders in the binder to store papers that don't have holes punched in them. Any time you get any papers, immediately put them in the right section in your binder. That way, they don't get lost.
For instance, you might have one section for English, one for math, one for science, and one for history.
If you just stuff papers in your backpack after class, they're probably going to get wrinkled and disorganized. That could mean you forget to turn in an important assignment, or you might lose a permission slip that you need your parents to sign.
Even if you're doing most of your schoolwork remotely, you'll likely have to print out things like notes and worksheets, so a binder will still be helpful.
Keep your school supplies neatly organized in one place. It's hard to succeed in class if you're constantly looking for a pencil or your calculator. Whether you're attending classes online or in person, try to keep all of your books, notebooks, and other school supplies in the same place. When you're organized, you'll be able to grab what you need quickly and easily.
Try keeping all of your writing supplies in a small case or bag. That way, if you lose a pencil or your pen runs out of ink, it will be easy to grab a replacement.
Be sure to double-check that you have the right supplies before the start of each class. For instance, you might keep all of your books in your locker, then swap them out between classes.
It might help to color-coordinate the supplies you need for each class. For instance, you might use a red book cover on your math book, then put a red sticker on your math notebook and any supplies you might need for that class.
Spend some time each night organizing what you'll need for the next day. After you finish your homework each evening, take a few minutes to make sure you have everything ready for the next day of school. Check your planner to make sure you have all of your assignments, and pack your backpack with the books, notebooks, and supplies you'll need for each class.
To get an extra jump on the next day, you can even take a moment to pick out what you're going to wear when you wake up the next morning!
Being prepared for class every day will make it easier to focus on your lessons, rather than what you're missing. This could eventually help you improve your grades!
Clean out your folders, backpack, and desk every week or two. Even if you're organized, chances are that a little clutter will start to build up as you go from class to class throughout the week. Keep yourself from getting too messy by setting a regular time to sort through your backpack, locker, or desk. Sort through your papers and put anything important in your binder, and make sure your school supplies are neatly organized, as well.
For instance, you might take a few minutes every Friday after school to go through your papers and toss out the ones you don't need. That way, you'll have a fresh start when you go back to school the next Monday.
Recycle anything you're sure you won't need again, like notes that you already copied or a scrap sheet of paper you used for a math problem.
If you're not sure whether you'll need a paper again, keep it to be on the safe side—it might come in handy when you're studying for a test. You could also ask your teacher whether it's something you'll need again.
Be on time and show up for class every day. It's hard to get good grades if you miss class a lot. Do your best to attend class every single day, and try not to be late—teachers often make announcements at the very beginning of class, so you could miss something important if you're even a few minutes late.
If you do have to miss a day of school, check whether you can do your schoolwork remotely that day. If that's not an option, talk to your teacher about how you can make up the work that you missed.
Although it's very important to be present at school as much as possible, stay home if you have fever, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or any other signs of a contagious illness.
Pay attention in class. Sometimes it can be a little hard to focus in class, but it's super important to listen whenever your teacher is talking. Usually, your teacher will introduce a topic, and then they'll use quizzes, worksheets, and homework assignments to build on that. If you aren't listening during a lesson, it will be a lot harder to understand the rest of your assignments later on.
If you have a hard time staying focused when you're in class, try sitting in a desk near the front, where it might be easier to avoid getting distracted by your classmates.
If you're struggling to focus during remote learning, try changing up your study area to help block out anything that might distract you. You might also use an app on your tablet or phone that will block out things like texts or social media notifications.
It's okay if your thoughts drift once in awhile during class—that happens to everyone! Just try to go back to paying attention as soon as you notice it happening.
Get to know all of your teachers. In elementary school, you probably had one classroom teacher, and your teacher only had one classroom of students. In middle school, you may have as many as 7 teachers, and your teachers likely have well over 100 students. Your grades will be better if you feel comfortable talking with your teachers, because then you'll be more likely to reach out if you have a question in class. As your teacher gets to know you better, they may be more likely to notice if you need a little extra help, as well.
Unless they are busy, make eye contact and say hello to your teacher when you enter the classroom. When class is over, say goodbye.
If you're doing mostly remote learning, send an email introducing yourself at the start of the semester, and try to participate in as many getting-to-know-you assignments as possible.
Many teachers really love the chance to get to know their students better, so don't be afraid to talk to them!
Get involved in class discussions. When you're in class, you'll retain more of what you're learning if you do your best to participate. It will be easier to pay attention, too. For instance, when your teacher asks a question, raise your hand if you know the answer, and don't be afraid to ask if you don't know something. Get involved in group discussions, too—you don't have to dominate the discussion, but do try to contribute anytime you have something to say.
If you're shy, you might feel a little intimidated to speak up in class. Just try to push through that feeling, though—it will get easier with practice.
Remember to listen respectfully when your classmates or the teacher are talking.
In some cases, participation actually counts toward your final grade in the class!
Take notes when your teacher is talking. At the start of each class, take out a blank sheet of paper (or turn to a blank page in your notebook) and write the date at the top of the page. Then, write down the important things that your teacher mentions during class. Don't worry about writing down every single thing they say, because that will make it hard to pay attention to what your teacher is saying—just jot down a few key words and phrases that will help you remember what you studied that day.
If you have any questions during class, write them in your notes, along with the answer when you figure it out.
If your teacher repeats a word or phrase, it's probably important. Write it down.
Taking good notes will make it a lot easier to study for your tests!
Ask for help if you feel confused about anything. In middle school, concepts often build on each other. If you miss one thing, it might be hard to understand anything else that comes after that. Try to ask for extra help as soon as you realize that you're feeling lost, either by raising your hand and asking in class, staying after class for a little more help, or talking to your parents about extra tutoring.
Asking questions in class is helpful if you're mostly following along, but you got a little confused on one part of the lesson.
Try talking to your teacher after class if you usually do well in that subject, but you feel like you're starting to get left behind. You can also email your teacher if staying after class isn't a good option.
A one-on-one tutor can be helpful if you feel like you're way behind your classmates.
Create a dedicated space for homework and studying. Find a spot in your home where you can work without being disturbed. Make that your go-to spot for schoolwork, including remote learning, homework, and schoolwork. If you can, try to keep your school supplies here—and if you can't, try placing them in a bin nearby so you can access them easily.
If you have a dedicated study space, like a desk in your room, try personalizing it by adding pictures of your friends, hanging posters on the wall, or displaying small objects that make you smile. You can even write down phrases to motivate yourself, like “Don't give up!” or “You can do it!” Just be sure not to include anything that will distract you too much.
Pick a quiet area away from other people, if you can. If that's not possible, ask your family members to give you some quiet time when you need to be studying.
Keep a regular homework routine. Make it a habit to get your homework done at the same time every day. When you make homework a part of your daily routine, you're less likely to forget about it. Experiment at first to see what time works best for you. For instance, you might come home, relax for half an hour, and then start your assignments.
Think about the times of day you tend to focus best. If you come home from school full of energy, that might be a great time to study. On the other hand, if you come home exhausted and perk up after dinner, you might do better studying in the evenings.
Don't fall into the trap of thinking that homework isn't that important—it can sometimes account for a really big portion of your final grade in a class. Not only that, but doing your homework each day will help lock in whatever you learned in class that day, which can help you on your final exams.
Take breaks during long study sessions. Studying doesn't mean you have to just stare at a book for hours at a time. Instead, stop every 30–45 minutes to take a 15-minute break. During that time, get up and walk around, and grab a snack or a drink if you need one. That will help keep everything you're studying from blurring together, and you might actually retain more of the information.
In addition, it can help keep you from feeling burned out and overwhelmed.
Review what you learned in school each day. Each evening, read through the notes you took in class that day. You may want to re-read any handouts or chapters your teacher discussed, as well. This can help reinforce what you learned, so it will be easier to recall later on.
Try re-writing your notes neatly so they'll be easy to read. In addition, you can add in any clarifying details, questions you still have, or diagrams that might help you understand the topic when you're studying later.
Study material in chunks. If you need to learn a lot of new material, break it down into smaller parts. That will make it a lot more manageable—especially if you plan ahead and give yourself plenty of time to learn each section.
For instance, if you need to learn 20 words in Spanish by the end of the week, you might break it into 4 sections of 5 words each. You could then study a new group of words each night. Just remember to go back over the sections you already studied so you don't forget them.
For a big exam, break up the material you need to study and write a study schedule. Try to study 20–45 minutes a day over the course of a few weeks.
Keep track of your long-term assignments on your calendar. Starting in middle school, you'll sometimes be given assignments that stretch out over weeks or even entire semesters. You may also have final exams that cover large amounts of information. Plan ahead for big assignments by writing reminders in your planner before they are due. In addition, write down what you need to accomplish each day to be prepared.
For a big paper, for instance, you may need to research at the library on one day, write an outline another day, and then spend an hour or two every day for the rest of the week writing the rough draft and the final draft.
This can help keep you from feeling overwhelmed with a large project. In addition, it will keep you from having to rush to get it finished at the last minute.
Make friends so you'll feel better adjusted. Don't feel guilty about chatting with your friends between classes—having a few pals at school can actually have a positive effect on your grades! If you feel totally isolated at school, you will have more trouble focusing in class, and it will make it harder for you to get good grades. Try to find a few people you get along with, and make a point to spend a little time with them anytime you get the chance.
Join an after-school club in something you really like for an easy way to meet people who share your interests.
Try talking to the people you sit next to in class before and after the bell rings. Even just saying hi and smiling can make you seem friendly and warm.
Making friends can be hard sometimes, so don't beat yourself up if it doesn't happen right away. Just keep being nice to people and take good care of yourself. If you do that, chances are good that you'll find some like-minded friends sooner or later.
Exercise to improve your focus. Try to find ways to get your body moving throughout the week. Exercise is great for your body, but it's good for your mind, too—it can actually help make it easier for you to pay attention in class or while you're studying.
Try signing up for team sports, dance, or track if you're athletic.
Even if you don't think of yourself as being coordinated or strong, you'll still benefit from getting up and moving for at least 30 minutes every day.
If you're trying to study and you can't concentrate, try taking a brisk walk, do some jumping jacks, or bust out your favorite dance moves!
Eat well to power your brain. Don't skip meals—just like your body needs food for energy, your brain needs food as fuel for all that deep thinking you'll be doing! Eat a healthy breakfast before school each day, have a nutritious lunch, and finish the day by eating dinner with your family. In addition, you might include a few healthy snacks throughout the day, like a handful of nuts, a granola bar, or a piece of fruit.
You might not always be able to pick your own meals when you're in middle school, but do try to make healthy choices when you have an option. For instance, if you're getting a drink from a vending machine, you might get a bottle of water instead of soda.
Recharge each night with a full night's sleep. It's almost impossible to do well in school if you're exhausted. Try to go to bed at the same time every night, even on the weekends. Set an alarm so you'll wake up at the same time every day, as well. This will make it easier for your body to fall asleep quickly, so you'll be less likely to lie awake when you should be resting.
If you're a preteen, you need 10–12 hours of sleep every night. If you're a teenager, you need between 8 1/2 and 9 1/2hours of sleep each night.
Don't try to stay up all night cramming for a test. Your brain needs sleep to process what you've been studying.
Try not to take a nap after school—that can make it harder to sleep at night.