Talk to your teacher! Ask questions during class or meet with your teacher before or after school if you need additional assistance.
Have you reviewed your notes/what you learned in class today? Can you summarize what you learned? If not . . . use your thinking maps and summarize. Preparation for tests and quizzes begins after the first day of class!
Do you understand, can you answer the objectives the teacher provided?
Can you use the term in a sentence and explain the importance?
Do you really understand, or are you just regurgitating what the teacher said?
Questioning: Did you ask clarifying questions? What questions do you have for the teacher the next day? Make note of them and get them answered.
Teach someone else (this will help you realize what information you really don't understand)
If you are absent . . . take the time to learn what you missed. Check in with your teacher upon your return to class!
Additional Study Tips
Read every night! The reading homework can quickly become unmanageable if you don't keep up with the schedule. The best strategy is to block time to read EVERY NIGHT so that you are always prepared for class and the material is understood on a daily basis.
Schedule daily and weekly reviews. Besides daily reviews, schedule a half hour weekly review (per class) to go over all notes taken that week. Remember that you forgoet over half of what you learn within 24 hours of learning it, and forgetting increases even more as time elapses. Unless you schedule daily and weekly reviews, you will have to relearn nearly everything when you study for the test. With periodic reviews, you will forget less, remember more, and no doubt, do better on tests.
Be an active learner. Studying for a test does not mean reading your notes or reviewing your textbook readings three, four or even ten times. This is passive study and active study of information is the most effective way to study. Active study means organizing your notes and/or readings by making a Table of Contents Sheet, Study Sheets and/or Flash Cards and then reciting the information out loud. You must do more than just read over your notes to insure retention. When you simply read over notes, you are only using your eyes. When you recite out loud, you are using your eyes, ears and voice. This is triple strength learning.
As you read, look up words you are unfamiliar with.
Ask questions in class when you are confused or struggling to understand - chances are, others would like clarification as well.
Take notes as you read. Be an ACTIVE reader and note-taker. Ask questions, summarize as you go, and review when you are finished.
Budget your time carefully - leave yourself plenty of quality time to complete your homework.
Form study groups to review for tests (and make sure you stay on task!)
Be in class each day. Everything teachers do each day has purpose. When you are absent you are indeed missing something important - a step along the journey.
Prepare for tests appropriately. If you are in the habit of "cramming" the night before a test, you will likely be disappointed with your results in this class. Be persistent, and read and review each night - there is just too much to cram.
Most importantly, ask for help when you need it or if you feel overwhelmed. Teachers are more than happy to help!