Are you approaching that time during the academic year when deadlines are flying at your face like lemon meringue pie at a clown?

Do your students have a dedicated study skills class? Or do you just want to help your students to brush up on their study skills in your subject lesson?

Either way, we’ve got you covered because all teachers understand the importance of study skills to academic success. Below are 9 quick and easy study skills lesson plans for high school.

Taking Notes

Taking notes is a skill that saves so much time. IF students can do it competently. Which they often can’t (see here to find out why your students’ notes suck and how you can improve them).

If you want a quick way to bolster your students’ note-taking skills, check out our lesson plan below.

Lesson plan:

  1. Watch the CrashCourse Study Skills (above or here on YouTube) about taking notes.
  2. Get your students to take notes. This can be done using any style that they are already familiar with, or that they feel confident with. If students are not familiar with any note-taking styles, tell them to pick one of the styles from the video. It shows Cornell note-taking, mind mapping, or outline notes. Or, if you want a quick and easy way – use our visual note-taking worksheets (available on TPT here).
  3. Discuss what elements students should include if they want their notes to be effective. Suggest elements such as vocabulary words, capturing main ideas, elaborating on ideas, revising notes, asking questions about content etc.
  4. Get your students to practice taking notes. Do this however you like. They could take notes from a newspaper article, a textbook chapter, or a chapter from a novel. Doesn’t matter. The important thing for you as the teacher is finding out who knows how to do it and who doesn’t. Because research shows that those who don’t know how to study often don’t realize that they don’t know. If you can identify who needs help you can target your attention more effectively.
  5. Show students what to do with notes once they’ve taken them. Again, do this however you like. Show them how to make Anki cards online. Or, show them how to create practice exam questions or how to make flashcards. Demonstrate how to use mind maps or Cornell notes to study. What’s important is that students learn that taking notes in class is not the end of the learning: they also need to go home and study them!

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Reading assignments

As students get into the higher grades in middle and high school, so much of their learning comes from reading. Teaching students how to read more effectively (and how to prioritize their reading) is important.

Lesson plan:

  1. Watch the CrashCourse Study Skills video (above or here on YouTube) about reading assignments.
  2. Get your students to take notes. This can be done using any style that they are already familiar with, or that they feel confident with. Or, if you want a quick and easy way – use our visual note-taking worksheets (available on TPT here).
  3. Ask students to pull out whatever planner they use to do their homework. Then ask them to write down all of the reading they have to do for the next week. Then, ask them to prioritize it.
  4. Discuss students’ prioritized lists as a class. What reading did they rank the highest and why was that reading the most important? Discuss ideas such as whether the reading is essential or recommended. Query whether the reading is for assessment and when the reading is due. Ask about what other activities they have prioritized above their reading and why.

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Memory

A post about study skills lesson plans for high school wouldn’t be complete a lesson about how students’ memories work. Knowing about the most effective ways to memorize information saves students time and stress.

Lesson Plan:

  1. Watch the CrashCourse Study Skills video (above or on YouTube here) about memory.
  2. Get your students to take notes. This can be done using any style that they are already familiar with, or that they feel confident with. Or, if you want a quick and easy way – use our visual note-taking worksheets (available on TPT here).
  3. Ask students to pull out whatever planner they use to plan and organize their homework. Then get them to write down all of their upcoming exams and tests. Then, ask them to work backward and schedule study sessions in their planners for 3-4 weeks prior to the exam. Tell them to make sure they have study sessions planned every few days for each upcoming test.
  4. Then, ask students to demonstrate their understanding of the spaced learning effect in some way. They could draw a poster, write a recipe, create a presentation, or draw a cartoon explaining what spaced learning is and why it works.

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Planning and organization

Research shows that many students arrive in middle and high school with sub-par planning and organizational skills. This happens for a variety of reasons, including a lack of parental skills (see here and here for more info).

Obviously, you can’t quickly teach a wide range of planning and organizational skills in a 20-minute mini-lesson in ELA. But hopefully, your school has a study skills class of some sort and your mini-lesson can reinforce students’ learning there.

Either way, this mini study skills lesson plan for high school will benefit those students who either haven’t learned organizational skills or who need a quick refresh.

Lesson plan:

  1. Watch the CrashCourse Study Skills video about planning and organization (above or on YouTube here).
  2. Get your students to take notes. This can be done using any style that they are already familiar with, or that they feel confident with. Or, if you want a quick and easy way – use our visual note-taking worksheets (available on TPT here).
  3. Ask your class about which basic organizational skills they think they need to improve the most and pick two to focus on. (You’ll have to wing it a bit in this lesson!). Some great activities might be to model how to set up a study schedule or how to create a study space. You could show examples of different organizational strategies such as using a diary/binder/online calendar/to-do list.
  4. Get students to demonstrate their learning in some way. They could create a presentation or video showing how they organize their learning. Or they might draw a diagram of a ‘perfect’ study space or create the ‘perfect’ study playlist etc.

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Focus and concentration

Learning how to focus and concentrate is a skill. And the more students practice the skills, the better they’ll get at it. This study skills lesson plan for high school shows students easy strategies to focus and concentrate better.

Lesson plan:

  1. Watch the CrashCourse Study Skills video about focus and concentration (above or on YouTube here).
  2. Get your students to take notes. This can be done using any style that they are already familiar with, or that they feel confident with. Or, if you want a quick and easy way – use our visual note-taking worksheets (available on TPT here).
  3. As a class, create a list of distractions that students face when trying to study. Then create a list of strategies to reduce those distractions. For example, turning off social media notifications or putting their phones in their bags on silent. Or listening to a ‘study’ music playlist with earphones.
  4. Ask students to demonstrate their learning in some way. They could create a presentation explaining why they personally get distracted and strategies they plan to use to avoid it. Or they might draw a cartoon showing common distractions and strategies to avoid them. They could also reflect on their study sessions from the week prior and rate how focused they were and why they think that was the case.
  5. If you have a little extra time, show students some productivity tracking apps. This will help students can identify how they are spending their time and how they can squeeze in study sessions.

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Procrastination

Research shows that students who are more confident studiers often procrastinate less than their less confident peers. Some reasons students procrastinate include that they don’t know how to start or they want to do their work perfectly. Other students simply can’t face the idea of hours hitting the books after being at school all day.

Either way, this study skills lesson plan for high school will help your students learn to switch off the urge to procrastinate by giving them concrete strategies to use.

Lesson plan:

  1. Watch the CrashCourse Study Skills video about procrastination here.
  2. Get your students to take notes. This can be done using any style that they are already familiar or confident with. Or, if you want a quick and easy way – use our visual note-taking worksheets (available on TPT here).
  3. Discuss major reasons why students procrastinate and offer strategies for overcoming procrastination.
  4. Ask students to demonstrate their learning in some way. They could list their top procrastination triggers or explain the difference between high-density fun and low-density fun. Students could create posters explaining how motivation works. Or, students could create a procrastination points system where they get ‘points’ for each task they complete without procrastination and then have corresponding ‘rewards’ for accumulating points.
  5. If you have a little extra time, get students to practice using pomodoro timers doing a task in class. For example, give students a reading comprehension task, set a timer for about the amount of time that you think the task will take, and then ask them to complete it. When the timer goes, if students have concentrated well, ‘reward’ them with free time, a chance to talk to friends, or the chance to play a game etc.

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Studying for exams and tests

Studying for exams and tests is something students tend to do inefficiently. Some students think that re-reading or copying out notes is the best way to study. But research shows that active learning with spaced repetition is the most effective way to study.

In this lesson plan for study skills in high school, students will learn active learning strategies as well as how to plan a study schedule.

Lesson plan:

  1. Watch the CrashCourse Study Skills video about studying for exams and tests (above or here on YouTube).
  2. Get your students to take notes. This can be done using any style that they are already familiar with, or that they feel confident with. Or, if you want a quick and easy way – use our visual note-taking worksheets (available on TPT here).
  3. Ask students to list the ineffective strategies they use to study (for example: re-reading work, copying out notes again). Then, ask them to create a list of efficient, active strategies. If students get stuck, offer suggestions such as creating practice exam questions or taking past exams. You might also suggest using flashcards or Anki cards, studying with a partner, or practicing similar problems. Finally, ensure students understand that they need to identify areas that they need clarification on from their teacher.
  4. Get students to demonstrate learning in some way. They could create a poster showing active learning strategies or describe how to use spaced repetition. They could create a ‘recipe’ for a perfect study session.
  5. If you have time, allow students to practice these metacognitive skills in class. Students are more likely to use these skills if they are given time to do it. You may like to give students a chance to create flashcards for an upcoming exam. Or help them locate and take past exams. You could also model identifying areas where students need more help by showing an exam with incorrect answers. Or you could give students time to create a study schedule for the week.

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Test anxiety

Many students experience anxiety about taking tests – and it can reduce their academic results. This study skills lesson plan for high school can help students identify why they are anxious and give them strategies to cope.

Lesson plan:

  1. Watch the CrashCourse Study Skills video about test anxiety (above or here YouTube).
  2. Get your students to take notes. This can be done using any style that they are already familiar with, or that they feel confident with. Or, if you want a quick and easy way – use our visual note-taking worksheets (available on TPT here).
  3. Ask students to write a list of the reasons they feel nervous or anxious before a test. Then, ask students to give a strategy for each reason they feel nervous.
  4. Get students to demonstrate learning in some way. They could create a poster showing strategies to combat test anxiety. Or they could create a graphic novel about a student overcoming anxiety. Students could research a famous figure who has overcome anxiety to succeed in life (John Green comes to mind).

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Writing papers and essays

Writing papers and essays is harder for students who lack organizational and research skills. By teaching students a process that they can work through each time they have to write a paper or essay, you can help them use their time more effectively.

This study skills lesson plan for high school students is quick and easy. But it also explains an effective process for going beyond research and actually writing and editing the paper or essay.

Lesson plan:

  1. Watch the CrashCourse Study Skills video about writing papers and essays (above or here on YouTube).
  2. Get your students to take notes. This can be done using any style that they are already familiar with, or that they feel confident with. Or, if you want a quick and easy way – use our visual note-taking worksheets (available on TPT here).
  3. Ask students to demonstrate their learning in some way. Students could practice doing a ‘content’ edit or a ‘technical’ edit on a piece of writing. Students could do some peer editing with their own writing. You could get students to practice identifying sources of information for a topic or practice annotating research. Or you could get students to write a ‘how-to guide for dummies’ about how to write a draft of a paper or essay.

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Exercise for improving academic results

This section isn’t going to give a study skills lesson plan for high school per se. But we will simply state that exercise or movement has been shown to improve results.

If you think your students would benefit from learning more about this topic, watch the CrashCourse Study Skills video above or on YouTube here.

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You want to but don’t have time?

If you’ve read this far, you know you want more lesson plans for study skills in high school, but you aren’t sure how to squeeze it all into your jam-packed curriculum.

The good news is that teaching (or reteaching) study skills doesn’t have to take up much class time. You can show a short video (like those listed here) and get students to take notes. Or can ask them to do it for homework.

And preparing a study skills lesson plan for high school students doesn’t have to be hard, especially if you use our CrashCourse Study Skills visual note-taking worksheet bundle. It’s just print and go.

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What have other teachers said?

Some teachers have used this study skills lesson plan for high school during distance learning – either as a printout in a take-home packet or printing at home. Others have used it effectively in class too.

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So if you want to save yourself some time and have ready-to-go study skills lesson plans for high school, check out our worksheets to accompany the CrashCourse Study Skills videos.

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That wraps up this post about study skills lesson plans for high school. However, keep reading for other posts you may be interested in, other TPT products you may like, and the references for the academic research cited in this post.

Other blog posts you may be interested in:

Study skills:

Outline note-taking:

Mind mapping note-taking:

Cornell note-taking:

Visual note-taking:

Other TPT products you may be interested in:

If your students enjoyed the CrashCourse Study Skills videos and worksheets, they may also enjoy the CrashCourse Navigating Digital Information video series and worksheets.

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This video series is about practicing critical literacy online. It shows students how to:

  • fact-check
  • read laterally
  • evaluate the validity of sources of information including photos, videos, data, and infographics
  • work out which sources of information to trust
  • using click restraint
  • and evaluate stories on social media

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Other TPT products your students may enjoy include the worksheets for CrashCourse Literature and CrashCourse Geography.

Research cited:

Gambill, Jill M.; Moss, Lauralee A.; Vescogni, Christie D. 2008. “The Impact of Study Skills and Organizational Methods on Student Achievement.” Action Research Project., Saint Xavier University. https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED501312.pdf

Hassanbeigi, Afsaneh.; Askari, Jafar.; Nakhjavani, Mina.; Shirkhoda, Shima.; Barzegar, Kazem.: Mozayyan, Mohammed R.; Fallahzadeh, Hossein. 2011. “The relationship between study skills and academic performance of university students.” Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences 30 (2011): 1416-1424. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S187704281102101X.

Loranger, Ann L., 1994. “The Study Strategies of Successful and Unsuccessful High School Students.” Journal of Reading Behavior, 26 (4): 347-360. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1080/10862969409547858

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