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Your School Survival Guide
Here's how to have the best school year ever!

Okay, so school can sometimes make you feel like you're stuck on an island in the middle of nowhere facing the most difficult challenges, like passing algebra, chemistry, or social studies. There are assignments to finish, quizzes and long tests to ace, and projects to pass-all necessary to your survival in the classroom. Sometimes, it seems impossible to get everything done on time, and still keep that smile on your face. Well, here are Candy's tips on how to outwit, outplay, and outlast your teachers and come out the ultimate student survivor!

Start With a Timetable

Now that summer's over, you can no longer spend your nights staying up until the wee hours of the morning watching the first season of The OC on DVD, wondering if Seth and Summer are going to get together. Let's face it: waking up at noon will not sit well with your teachers. It's time to get organized.

Preparing a timetable is a very important step in ensuring that you get on the right track this school year-and that you stay there! There may have been hobbies that you pursued over the summer that you still want to explore, like your newfound love of pottery or guitar. Going back to school doesn't mean you have to give up these hobbies.  With discipline, determination, and your awesome time management skills, you can learn to play the guitar like Michelle Branch and still make the honor roll.

Make sure your schedule covers the whole day, from the time you wake up in the morning to the time you go to sleep at night.

For example, if you wake up at 6 am, how long does it take for you to take a bath and get dressed? How much time do you need to eat breakfast? How long does it take for you to get to school? Make sure that you allot enough time for every entry on your schedule. If you
know there's no way you can be ready for school in 30 minutes, then give yourself
an hour. Give yourself an allowance of five minutes for each entry to leave room for unexpected obstacles (like a stain on your uniform). When it comes to scheduling the time you leave for school, make sure you have an allowance of at least 15 minutes (if it takes 15 minutes to get to school, leave 30 minutes earlier) just in case traffic is heavier than usual.  

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Don't overload yourself.

If you have guitar lessons on Monday but also have to train for volleyball varsity, then move your lessons to another day.  Also, make sure that your schedule allows you to take breaks and have fun.

Remember: its way easier to make a schedule than to stick to one. Here are some tips for following your timetable: Place your schedule in several strategic places in your room-like beside your bed, on your study table, and in your bathroom. Decorate it with bright colors so that your attention is always drawn to it. It always helps if there's a clock near where you posted your schedule so that you can always check to make sure you're on time.

Ask the help of your friends.
Let them know when you study every day so that they don't call or text you during that time. For example, 4-7 pm is strictly for homework.

Use the calendar feature of your cell to remind you of the tasks you need to get done during the day. That way, you can stick to your schedule even when you're on the go!

Let your helpers, siblings, and parents know about the parts of your schedule that concern them. For example, your mom or helper should have breakfast on the table by 7, and your dad or driver should be ready to take you to school by 7:30.

Map Out Your Strategy
Want to make the honor roll this sem? Are your sights set on being the new editor of the school paper? Go for it!

Start planning your strategy. What would it take to make it to the dean's list? What are the qualifications you need to become editor of the school paper? Contemplate what it would take for you to reach your goal.

Then draw up short-term and long-term goals for yourself. For example, if your long-term goal is to make the honor roll, then your short-term goals could be to do your homework, study for quizzes, and complete other course requirements, such as book reports. Pay attention to the details (those daily quizzes you've been taking may only be worth five points, but they add up).

Enumerate the things you need to do to help accomplish your short-term goal, and place a small box before each item on your list so that you can check off what you've already done. Use the diagram below to help you map out your strategy, and then stick it on your subject notebook so that you can keep track of your progress.

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Form A Study Tribe
Psyche yourself for subjects you don't enjoy or aren't inclined to by forming a study group with your friends (think of yourselves as a tribe-the group's success relies on the effort exerted by each individual!). Find groupmates who are serious students like yourself and who complement your strengths and weaknesses. If you're weak at math, find someone who's good at it, and vice versa.

Don't wait for a big test before forming a study group. Start working together at the beginning of the school year so that you can adjust to each other's study habits. Set a goal together (For example, you're all going to score at least an 89 on that history long test) and then be each other's support group and cheering squad. Find ways to make your study sessions fun and memorable by playing games and quizzing each other. Buy a bag of chocolates and then play "Who Wants to Be A Chocoholic?" to the rules of Who Wants to be a Millionaire? or come up with your own version of Jeopardy! where you have to answer in question form.

Make Mondays rock by planning something fun for the start of the week.
This is a great way to get you to look forward to going to school. Think of something fun that you and your friends would have a blast doing, like having a picnic lunch.

Reward yourselves! Even Survivor had reward challenges for those who did an exceptional job on a challenge. Likewise, you should reward yourselves for all the hard work you've been putting into your studies. All work and no play will not only make you dull, it will probably make you break out and give you wrinkles before you hit the age of 20!

Did great on that long test? Go to the parlor together and get manicures, or see the latest Chad Michael Murray flick! You worked hard together, now it's time to celebrate your success!

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About the author
Sara Sangco
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