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By: Eileen Carlson, MDS Upper School Teacher

As the Advent semester comes to a close, Mrs. Carlson provides advice on how to successfully study and prepare for the end of the semester. She provides guidance for both students and parents!

Suggestions for Students

At School:

  • Become familiar with your teacher’s objectives and instructions for each lesson/unit. What does your teacher expect you to know and be able to do? Know what will appear on the semester exam.
  • Use study halls, free periods, and flex time. Manage your time efficiently.
  • Pay attention in class, and take notes. Even more importantly, participate in class. Answer questions, become involved in class discussion.  In small groups, actively participate. Write down your homework when you see it on the board, hear your teacher announce it, or see it on the LMS.
  • When an assignment is returned, review your errors and find out how to fix them.
  • Ask for help when you need it!

At Home:

  • Establish a quiet place and time to study, free of distractions. No cell phones, no social media.
  • Plan your time and establish a routine – don’t leave the most difficult material for last.
  • Break down what you need to learn or accomplish, and do a little each day.
  • Take short breaks as you study.


  • Keep a calendar/planner.  Make this a habit – a vital college and life skill.
  • Organize your notes:  use folders, binder dividers; color-code sections/types of notes. You can achieve organization on paper or electronically, as in Notability.
  • Review/study daily – silently, verbally, in writing.
  • Go beyond just “finishing my homework.” Learn it well!
  • Make understanding the material your goal, not just achieving a grade.
  • For math and science – work problems, then rework problems.
  • Try all the assigned problems, even if you are unsure, then ask for help the next day.
  • Practice out loud, rehearse, paraphrase.
  • Review your notes from class or from reading.
  • Rewrite notes.  Make flash cards.


  • Read closely and carefully.  Annotate in your book if possible, or use sticky notes.
  • Practice self-monitoring skills:  stop to ask questions, reread, summarize, and take notes.
  • Stop frequently and ask yourself:  “Do I understand this?”  Give reading your full attention.
  • Read independently.  Nothing will increase your chances of success in school more than reading regularly!


  • Write with correct grammar and usage. Proofread!
  • Use the writing process – write at least one draft, edit and proofread, and rewrite.
  • Write to learn.  Use note-taking and summarizing to help you focus, analyze, and remember.


  • Strive to use the words regularly and make them part of your vocabulary.  Go beyond memorization.  Study a few words a day.  Try flash cards.

Suggestions for Parents:

  • Help students set up and follow a daily routine. Encourage them to study and review on a daily basis, even if “homework” is completed.
  • Establish a quiet place and time. Remove all devices except those that are specifically used for the schoolwork.
  • Encourage students to read regularly. Talk to them about what they’re reading.
  • Make use of the LMS and Power School to access homework assignments and grades. Better yet, ask them how/what they’re doing!
  • Encourage students to seek help from their teacher.

Click here for more MDS Musings Blog posts. 

Mount de Sales Academy is a private Catholic school located in Macon, GA, and serves students in Bibb, Houston, Jones, Monroe, Peach and other surrounding counties.  MDS is sponsored and inspired by the Sisters of Mercy. Since 1876, MDS has served a diverse college-preparatory community of learners—students and teachers alike—who are poised to discover, challenged to innovate, and motivated to serve.