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Ten back-to-school tips

September's here, and that means students across the country are starting the school year once again. Here is some advice on how to start the year off strong, and to keep that momentum going until June.

Don't skip meals. Eating, especially in the morning, is important. Food does more than curb your hunger; students who don't skip meals concentrate more easily and do better in school than those that do. Wake up 15 minutes earlier if it means the difference between eating breakfast and skipping it; eat something at lunch each day.

Work diligently. When working on homework assignments or studying for tests, concentrate at the task at hand. Do homework soon after you get home from school, and then relax afterward, not the other way around.

Plan ahead. Take advantage of knowing about homework assignments or tests in advance.

Don't procrastinate. It's always tough to try to work on a project or essay knowing that it's not due the next day. But do it anyway. Take the initiative to start these things with plenty of time to look over them once they're done.

Avoid distractions. If something in class is keeping you from concentrating on the teacher, be it a talkative friend or something happening in the hall, do what you can to cut out those distractions. Don't sit next to that friend, or move your desk so you can't see what's going on outside the classroom. At home, find a place to work away from the TV, annoying music, or bothersome family members.

Take occasional breaks. It's not a good idea to work for many hours on end without stopping. Take a quick break (only a few minutes) once every hour or couple of hours while studying to take a deep breath and make sure that you're actually retaining the information.

Get organized. Take the time to sort loose papers after school or on weekends. Don't just throw everything into a folder or the bottom of your backpack. Keep subjects separate, through binders or folders. Make sure to hold on to tests and quizzes; these will be invaluable come exam time.

Set goals and make deadlines. Break up big, long-term papers into smaller pieces. Set yourself deadlines for research, writing the first draft, revising, and so on. Set specific goals for your classes; if you know you can get a B in English, make it your goal to get an A- next time.

Pack up the night before. It sounds dumb, but mornings are always hectic and things tend to disappear just as the bus is leaving. Make sure everything you need for the next day is in your backpack the night before. .

Get enough sleep. This is probably the most important thing you can do to do perform well in school. Enough sleep makes concentrating on things easier. In the wise words of Nichols junior Max Yellen, "You can stay up all night studying for a test, but it won't do you any good if you fall asleep during the test."

Sean Pegado is a junior at Nichols.

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