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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


Using a dictionary, a textbook and an encyclopaedia

  • If you are uncertain about the spelling of a word you have written down, do not leave it as it is - look it up in a dictionary.

  • If you are using a word processing programme then keep the spelling check on at all times. Correct any word that are underlined in red and check for grammar mistakes if part of your text is underlined in green. However, remember that the spelling check is not perfect. If you type ion by mistake instead of in, for example, the programme will not indicate the mistake because ion is a word.

  • When you are handed back some corrected work where the spelling mistakes have been indicated, spend some of your homework time using your dictionary to look up how to spell these words correctly. Learn the correct spellings so that you do not make the same mistakes again.

  • When you read a book and you meet a word that you do not understand, do not just ignore it! Use your dictionary to find the meaning of the word. Learn the meaning of the word and how to spell it.

  • Every textbook has an index at the back. If you are looking for information about a specific topic, do not just flip through the pages of the textbook. Look up the topic in the index and fin d the correct page references. Look at these pages in the book to find the information you require.

  • If your textbook does not contain enough information find out more about your topic by using an encyclopaedia or the Internet.




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How to Answer Questions

In Middle School students are required to manage several different kinds of activities, and it is important that they recognise what is being asked of them. When answering questions, it is important to distinguish between questions requiring factual answers and questions requiring a more creative response.

Example: "What is the name of the capital of Germany?" is a factual question which requires a simple answer - "The capital of Germany is Berlin." However, "Why do you think writing was such an important development in human evolution?" requires you to give an opinion, based on facts.


Steps to Successful Answers:

  • READ the question!!!! It is important that you read and UNDERSTAND what is being asked of you. If there are any words you do not know, look them up before trying to answer the question.

  • Underline the important words in the question. These can be keywords telling you what to think about, but also words like "How", "Describe", and "Why" which tell you what type of answer to give.

  • Think about where to get your answer from - this can be from your brain, from the notes in your file, your textbook, a reference book or the internet.

  • On a rough paper, write your answer. Re-read the question to be sure your answer really does answer the question!

  • Proof-read your answer, checking for factual errors, spelling and grammar mistakes, and language errors.

  • Write or type out a copy for your teacher. If your answer is hand written then make sure that it is clean and legible.


Examination Revision

Two weeks before the examinations start, you should make a revision timetable. Try to revise one subject for at least half an hour each evening. Closer to the exam week you should revise one subject for one hour each evening.

During the examination week you will probably have half days available to revise. Make a special revision timetable for this period. This time is not an extra holiday or a chance for you to stay in bed!

Never try to revise one subject for too long at any one time. One and a half hours per subject is long enough.


Revision Rules or Learning Your Lessons

  1. When you learn anything "by heart" you must make sure that you understand it. Always go back after three days and make sure that you still know it. If you have forgotten it it means that it only entered your short-term memory. Learn it again and go back to it after a couple of days. Once you can repeat it accurately after three days, the information has entered your long-term memory. Keep checking every couple of days to make sure that it has!

  2. One sure way to learn something is to write it out three times. Again, check after three days that you still remember it by writing it out accurately.

  3. It is useful to make revision notes from your textbook or file but you must not assume that making these notes means that you know them. Learning them takes much more time and effort and you must always check your memory after a few days.

  4. Some definitions, such as those you are given in mathematics, must be learnt word perfect. It is not good enough to know the definition vaguely, you must be able to reproduce every word exactly. Write the definition out three times. Repeat it over and over to yourself when you get the chance. Check that you still know it after a few days.

  5. Proper nouns (names) in subjects such as history, geography and science must be learnt. This means you must know what they represent and how to spell them correctly. History usually means learning specific dates. Learn them and check after a few days that you still know them.

  6. To revise or to learn your lessons you need to spend time and effort. Revision is not something that can be achieved by just reading a chapter in a book and vaguely remembering a few sentences immediately afterwards. This is true for class tests as well as for examinations.


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