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5 Effective Study Skills for High School Online Learning Success

Written by Des Sinkevich on Thursday, 09 November 2023. Posted in Helpful Tips

5 Effective Study Skills for High School Online Learning Success

Whether you’re enrolled in a traditional high school or an online high school, there are some universal study skills that can help you make the most of your classes. Here are the top study skills that can help you prepare for exams and remember what you learned!

Classic Study Skills That Every Student Should Master:

  1. Effective Reading

    Learning to read is a life-long process. Aside from reading for pleasure, readers read for different purposes. Effective reading helps the student to understand written language and constructively process the meaning of the text. Parsing the language and the reading topic influences how well students communicate with one another and the world at large.

    Effective reading involves:

    • Actively engaging with your reading material
    • Evaluating material sources
    • Using different ways of reading
    • Asking questions
    • Taking good notes

    Read more: 30 Apps Every High School Student Needs

  2. Memorization

    Memorization is a study skill that will follow a student throughout their academic career and beyond. There are several different memorization methods that can work for different subjects or different learning types. The most common memorization techniques include:

    • Using flashcards
    • Repetition
    • Mnemonic devices
    • Creating songs or rhymes

    Read more: The Ultimate Guide to Earning Your Online High School Diploma

  3. Note Taking

    Although online high school programs are offered – well, online, your child should continue and master the practice of note taking. Taking notes can be tricky. If a student picks up only high-level information, he may not easily remember the material upon review. If he takes copious notes with no direction or form, the result could be the same as if he took too few notes. Successful note takers do the following:

    Preview Readings

    For example, before diving into the next chapter in your textbook, skim through the contents, introduction, and conclusion to get a gist of what you're about to learn.

    Glancing over the illustrations, charts, and summaries in the upcoming chapters of your books or study materials give you a brief overview of the topic before you begin reading in detail.

    Pay Attention to Boldface Words and Headings

    When you're studying, pay close attention to headings and words in boldface, as these will help you understand key terms.

    For example, when studying for your literature class, you might realize the headings 'Metaphors' and 'Similes' are highlighted in bold. Because they're in bold, you can know that these are important concepts you need to grasp.

    Rework Main Ideas into Concepts You Can Understand

    Try to reword the ideas you're learning into concepts that make more sense to you. For example, if you're in economics class, you might be able to better understand the concept of "supply and demand" by reworking it into apples and customers at your local grocery store.

    Pay Attention to Captions

    If you have any images, graphs, or tables in your study materials, make sure you pay close attention! They can provide you with valuable context and additional information.

    Use Different Note Taking Methods

    • Highlighters (example: highlight all the important dates in your history textbook to spot them easily)
    • Sticky notes (example: use a sticky note to jot down a quick summary of each page or chapter in your textbook, or place sticky notes with key formulas and equations on the inside page of your math textbook)
    • Index cards (example: write down questions on one side and answers on the other to test yourself)
    • Charts and diagrams (example: draw your own charts and diagrams to help you understand what you're reading)
    • Make sure your notes reference the objectives of each lesson (example: after writing out your notes, makes sure they meet the objectives of that chapter or module)

    Read more: A Day in the Life of a High School


Online high school programs require testing at various phases during the course of each lesson and class. Mastering test taking is amongst the most fundamental skills your child will utilize during his academic career. Testing is how a student will qualify and quantify what he has learned and retained. Especially if your child has aspirations of attending University, in which case practicing quality testing skills is excellent preparation for college entrance exams such as the SAT and ACT.

In order to be best prepared for tests, students should:

  • Start studying way ahead of the test – don't cram information at the last minute!
  • Review their notes.
  • Review assigned reading material.
  • Get enough rest before the test.

Read more: How to Get a High School Diploma as an Adult

Time Management & Organization

Learning without walls is a unique experience for many, and it requires a level of self-discipline that is not expected in the traditional classroom. For students in on-campus environments, each day is structured by lesson plans; bells to start the day, begin and dismiss class, signal lunch period and end the day. This systematic structure ensures that students manage their time within the confines of their day.

While online high school programs offer flexibility, time management and organization are as indispensable as these skills would be in an on-campus environment. To make sure students can study and learn effectively, it’s important they:

  • Have a quiet, clean space to study in.
  • Create a schedule for studying and test-taking.
  • Limit distractions during “school” time.
  • Keep schoolwork and notes organized.

Besides being beneficial in online school, developing these time management and organizational skills can be helpful post-graduation in work and in life!

Read more: Online High School Grad’s Advice for Juggling Family, Work, and School

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About the Author

Des Sinkevich

Des Sinkevich

Des Sinkevich earned a Bachelor's of Arts in English Writing from the University of Pittsburgh and loves applying what she learned there to her writing. Through her work as a senior markeing communications specialist, she is able to share information, advice, and more with students and alumni.