Archive for the ‘Student Tips to Success’ Category

by Merari Hernandez, 8th Grade Reporter

October 24, 2010, the big day that thousands of eighth graders in New York were waiting for—the second day of the Specialized High School Admissions Test (SHSAT), a test that determines one’s acceptance into any of the eight elite high schools in New York City.

A handful of eighth graders from 214X applied and took the test. But of the few, only three proved worthy, and came out victorious. On February 11, the brave eighth graders who took the test received letters containing the words that foretold whether or not they would be attending a specialized high school in September. Reda Bouzidi, Charles Smith and Tyrone Thomas, all students of class 801, were the three who opened the letter to see that they had what it took to compete with the other thousands of diverse eighth graders across New York State who took the test.

“I thought I failed. I guessed on the last twenty questions because the time was limited,” said Bouzidi, who was accepted into the High School for Math, Science, and Engineering at City College.

“After taking the test, I felt anxious. I knew I passed, but I didn’t feel it,” Thomas stated, thinking back to that day in October.

Both Smith and Thomas were accepted into Brooklyn Latin High School, but neither of them will be attending due to distance. Thomas will be attending a private school, St. Raymond’s, and Smith plans to attend an all boy’s school in the Bronx.

While the three of them passed, neither of them even knew about the test’s format nor requirements for specialized high schools until seventh grade. Prior to the SHSAT, Bouzidi planned on attending a private high school and Smith thought he was going to a Catholic high school.

To prepare for the rigorous test, Thomas attended a program, Specialized High School Institute; Bouzidi bought and used Kaplan’s SHSAT Test-Prep book; and, Smith used a SHSAT handbook he received from a teacher.

by Alexa Pineda, 6th Grade Reporter

Students will always have class distractions everyday in school. This makes it difficult to concentrate because sometimes our focus, which should be on our schoolwork, shifts onto the distraction. Here are some ways to avoid class distractions and home distractions so that you can be the best student in the universe.

  • Avoiding hall distractions: Most of the time you’re in class with the door open. Sometimes you even have two periods in that class and you hear other classes transitioning when the end of period bell rings. Try asking your teacher to close the door—your teacher just might allow it.
  • Taking action against a loud class: If you have a loud class, you might get annoyed or distracted easily. So, if you’re annoyed and you’re teacher doesn’t notice it, ask your teacher respectfully to quiet the class down so you can get back to your class work.
  • Libraries: Libraries are excellent quiet places that can help you study for a test, do your homework, and find information for a piece you’re researching as well.
  • Study buddies: A study buddy is someone that can help you with your class work, homework, and to help you stay focused. Try to keep each other from distractions.
  • Commitment: When studying at home, try avoiding/putting things that you know distract you away. Take out your notes you took from school to review skills/strategies you learned then do your homework. If you have a problem that no one in your house can help you with, call the Homework Hotline: 1-877-ASK-ROSE. This number is available to assist you Monday–Friday 7 pm – 10 pm for students in Grades 6-12. If you speak Spanish, call Llamen A Un Maestro: 1-212-777-3380.

These are all suggestions that can help you avoid distractions in school and at home.


by Ta’Shea Parham, 6th Grade Reporter

Before the Test:

  • Study before the test (but don’t overdo it). Too much studying can sometimes be overwhelming.
  • Always ask and clarify the date of a test.
  • If there are any strategies, concepts, or skills that you are having trouble with, ask a teacher for help.
  • Form study groups and get together with friends—just make sure you’re actually STUDYING.
  • Get plenty of rest and eat a healthy breakfast.

During the Test:

  • Always be prepared for a test: Bring several No. 2 pencils or pens (for essay portions). It never hurts to be extra prepared!
  • Don’t cheat! You never know if that person is wrong and you are right. Just try your best.
  • If you are having trouble with a question, don’t spend fifty million hours on it. Mark it and go back to it later.
  • Always do your best on tests no matter what. Even if you think you are going to seriously fail, who knows? You, might just ace it.

After the Test:

  • If you find out that you’ve failed don’t give up. Learn from your mistakes and study harder. Try, try, and try again.
  • If you find out that you’ve succeeded, don’t stop there. You can always improve. Try to beat your best score.

by Ta’Shea Parham, 6th Grade Reporter

For all you middle-schoolers with sloppy, disorganized binders, here are some tips to help you with your problem.

  • Separate every subject, including small group instruction (SGI) with dividers. Also, consider separating your homework from class work in each of these sections with sub-dividers.
  • If the holes of your loose-leaf paper rips, use tape or reinforcements to reattach it instead of just shoving it into some random place never to be seen again.
  • Always order ALL work by DATE. If you don’t, it can be very confusing to find recent, or old assignments.
  • Keep all loose worksheets, projects, and especially tests in folders. Label these folders accordingly.
  • Put your planner to use! Write down all tests, projects, and homework due dates in your planner. Trust me, it’ll make life much easier for you.
  • Still at a loss? Get an adult or peer to help you organize.

As you can see, there are many ways you can step up and become organized. Just choose the strategies that are right for YOU. Being organized can make you a better student and help you earn a VERY good grade in each and every subject.