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Middle School Study Skills Guide Index

Planning your homework timetable
Homework Procedure list
Notes on using a computer to help you do your homework
Notes on Plagiarism
How to include information from other sources
Using Images from other sources
How to Answer Questions
Examination Revision
Using a dictionary, a textbook and an encyclopaedia
Using the internet for research
Final note to parents


Guides and Revision Aids

How to write a Bibliography and how to avoid plagiarism.
Citation Machine: A valuable link for IB students
Subject Reference Guide for the Internet
Internet Guide for Parents and Students
Internet Guide for Teachers


Specific Subject Information and Revision Help

Tips on Studying History
IB and OI Grade History and Geography Revision
IB Biology
IB Physics
IB Math Studies


Homework Work Procedure List

You should follow these instructions each time you sit down at your desk to do your homework, even if you use a computer!

  1. Make sure that your desk is tidy. If there are any papers on your desk, put them away in the correct file or files. If you have any useless paper around, throw it into the waste paper bin.

  2. Make sure that you have a supply of clean writing paper on your desk. A dictionary should be near at hand.

  3. Take a pen, pencil, ruler and eraser and place them on the desk. Also take your homework notebook.

  4. In your homework notebook look at the work you have to do for the next day:

    • Is there any written work to do? If so read the lesson before you start it.

    • Is there any revising and learning to do?

    • Is there any reading to do?

  5. If you have time left after you have completed the assigned work for the next day then you should:

    - Prepare your lessons for the next day by revising the last lesson you were taught in those subjects. (Language lessons usually have new vocabulary that needs to be learnt).

    - Check that all the work you did today is placed in the correct files of folders (either hard copy or on your computer). You can read over this work, if you have the time.

    - If there is still some time left, look to see if you can do any work for later in the week. If so, go back to the instructions shown in (4).

    - Are there any corrections you should do?

    - If there is still time available, you should spend it quietly, reading.

  6. The last thing that you do is to pack your bag for the next day. Check that you have

    • all of the books and files for the lessons. Check this with your timetable.

    • any written homework which needs to be given to the teacher. Check this with your homework notebook.

    • your homework notebook (hard copy or computer), a pencil case with a pen, pencil, ruler and eraser, any special items e.g. your science lab coat for your science lesson, your school identity card, your transport card, lunch card and a small amount of pocket money.




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Middle School Study Skills Guide

The Study Skills guide was written by Shirley Burchill and Claire-Annie Fauré in 1995. It was revised by Barbara Ginsbach in 2003 and by Judith Stanwell in 2004. Although intended for Middle School students, we hope that many older students and parents from around the world will find the advice useful.

Nowadays most students are using a computer to complete their homework. Many of them may use a computer to take notes in their classes. The advice in the Study Skills Guide is also applicable for those students who use a computer. For example, the presentation of your homework is important whether you write on paper or use a keyboard!



The transition from primary school to secondary school can be difficult at first; students move from a relatively "homely" environment, in which they spend the majority of their day with one teacher, into the less closeted world of secondary education. Here students can find themselves changing both teacher and room every hour or so. Each student has to learn new skills, such as how to maintain his or her class notes, homework notebook and grade book, as well as organising their homework assignments and exam revision.

It is a mistake for parents to believe that their child can cope with this organisation on his or her own. Parents should make time to check what their child has to do for homework, whether the work has been completed and if the school bag, prepared the night before, has all that is necessary for the next day.


Planning your homework timetable

Middle School students should be working at home around six to eight hours each week. Ideally, these homework hours should be spread over six days - with the students working between one hour and one and a half hours each day.

However, most students take part in extra curricular activities that can prevent an even distribution of homework time. Extra curricular activities are extremely important to the students. It is necessary, therefore, that each student makes his or her personal homework timetable. Each student must:

  • Distribute the homework hours as equally as possible over the week

  • Work for one hour minimum or two hours maximum per day

  • Work for two hours on Saturday or Sunday morning, making sure to leave one day during the week-end free from school work.

There are six rules that each student should follow in order to have a successful year:

  • Keep to your timetable.

  • Do your homework in a quiet room, your bedroom for example.

  • There should be a desk or a table in this room for you to work at.

  • On the wall above your desk, attach clear and tidy copies of your school timetable and your homework timetable.

  • On the wall next to these timetables, place the Homework Work Procedure List (see left).

  • Use your full, allotted homework time each day. There is always enough work to keep you busy.


Note to parents:

Many students believe that, when they have completed all the written work required for the next day, they have finished their homework. This is not the case! Each lesson needs to be revised and learnt, even though this is not always noted down in their homework notebook. Language lessons are particularly important to learn before the next lesson. Some students try to complete their written homework in school so that they have "nothing to do" at home. It is essential that they realise that they must use all of their homework period. There is always something they can be doing. The Homework Procedure List (see left) will help with good organisation and work methods.

It is also important that younger students are supervised while they are working. This means that there should be an adult present to keep an eye on their progress but not to do the work for them! If parents cannot be at home when their children are doing their homework, it is strongly advised that these parents arrange for someone to be present to supervise their children's work.

Younger students need help preparing their school bag for the next day. Try to make sure that your child goes through the above list very carefully. Also, make sure that this is done in the evening rather than in the morning.

The school bags of younger students are always much heavier than those of the older students. This is because the older students have learnt to include only that which is essential. Younger students tend to bring everything, just in case!


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