O. W. Holmes Junior High School

Making the Most of 8th Grade

10 Suggestions: Preparing for High School

The 8th grade is an important year because it allows students to mature, become better students and prepare for high school. Here are ten suggestions for making the most of the 8th grade year:

  • Believe in Yourself
    • In order to succeed, you have to believe in yourself and in your abilities. Whether you're an athlete preparing for a competition or a student tackling a difficult subject, it's important that you believe in yourself. Recognize the talents and abilities that you possess and believe that you can succeed!
    • Make goals that challenge you, are attainable and reflect your interests/talents.
    • Try not to measure your successes according to those of other people.
  • Continue to Work on Being Organized 
    • Use your planner routinely. Write down every assignment. Use your planner to anticipate and break up larger assignments.
    • Use a three-ring notebook for class notes to organize and insert handouts.
    • Use a different color pocket folder for each class. In these folders, keep your current assignments, along with returned assignments, quizzes and tests. When a folder starts to get full, take the returned papers out and put them in a safe place at home. Old tests and quizzes can help you study for future tests. Keeping returned assignments, quizzes and tests can come in handy if there is ever a question about your grade.
    • Keep your locker and backpack neat.
    • Get organized before you go to bed. Put completed homework in th eappropriate folders. Put everything you need for the next day in the same place each night. If there is something that you need to remember to do in the morning, leave yourself a note so that you don't forget it.
  • Identify Study Buddies
    • Make sure that you have a phone number for at least one person in each class. By doing this, you will have a person to call if you have a question about an assignment, and if you're absent, you'll have someone to call to find out what you've missed.
  • Manage Your Time Well
    • Use class time. Always use the time teachers give you in class to start your homework, ask questions, or get help.
    • Create your own study plan. At the end of each school day, determine how much time you have available, look at how much homework you have, and then develop a plan to get it done.
    • Prepare for the unexpected. Try to identify anything that could interrupt your study plan and try to figure out how to eliminate or avoid it. For example, turn off your phone and the t.v. while you do your homework.
  • Be Successful in Class
    • Be in school on time, every day. When you miss school, you also miss lectures, notes, class discussions, assignments, quizzes and tests.
    • Be prepared for each class. To be prepared, you need to have books, paper, pencils, and additional supplies when you go to class.
  • Always Do Your Homework
    • Don't look at homework as something that you should do. Think of homework as something that you must do.
    • Completing your homework will allow you to get more out of class. The lecture will make more sense and you can participate in discussions. If you haven't done your homework, you many not understand the class lecture or discussion.
    • Since a significant amount of your grade can be based on homework, your grade can drop every time you miss an assignment.
    • Always complete your work on time, and whenever possible, do extra credit.
  • Participate in Class
    • Participating in class makes it more interesting and helps to keep your mind focused.
    • Ask and answer questions to get involved in class discussions.
    • Many teachers give participation points, so participating not only makes class more interesting, it can also help you to get a better grade.
  • Be a Good Group Member
    • Knowing how to work well in a group is very important:
      1. Do your share of the work well
      2. Try to be open to new ideas
      3. Support the other group members
  • Treat Others with Courtesy and Respect
    • Treat your teachers and classmates the same way that you want to be treated.
    • Be polite, look at your teachers when they are speaking, and listen when others are talking.
    • Be aware of your tone of voice. The same words, in a different tone of voice, can communicate a very different message.
  • Take Responsibility for Your Grades
    • If you get a good grade on a test or assignment, allow yourself to feel proud of your accomplishment.
    • If you receive a poor grade, take responsibility and figure out how to do better. Consider what you can do to improve, request a meeting with your teacher, or talk about your grade with your parents or school counselor.
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Taking Good Notes

Tests usually cover material that is presented in class. So, it is important to have good notes from which to study.

  1. Be an active listener. Think about and try to understand the information that is being presented.
  2. Pay attention! Taking notes can help focus your attention and demonstrate that you are interested in the class lecture.
  3. Learn to recognize important information from your teachers' tone of voice or verbal clues ("the main point," "the most important reason," "the three causes," etc.). Also, anything that your teacher writes on the board or overhead should be considered very important. Put a star beside or highlight any information that you think might be important.
  4. Make your notes easy to read.
    • Put the name of the class, subject, date, and page number at the top of each page of notes to keep your notes organized.
    • Use a pencil, erasable pen, or white out tape to keep your notes neat.
    • Leave a wide margin on the left side of the page. As you are taking notes, listen for key words. When you hear a key word, write it in the left hand margin. Key words (topics, places, and events) can help you to organize your thoughts, make your notes easier to understand, and help you to study for a test.
  5. Go over your notes as soon as possible. Edit your notes to make them less confusing, highlight important ideas, and identify key words.
  6. Get copies of notes if you are absent.