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How to Do Homework Fast and Get Better Grades in High School

How to Do Homework Fast and Get Better Grades in High School

Transitioning from middle school to high school can cause academic distress for many students. It’s difficult to adapt to the new environment, master the art of completing homework assignments, and get good grades when given such independence for the assignments, and the expectation to learn new material that is more challenging. These tips will work for students whether they are a first-year high school student or a senior.

1. Completing Assignments on Time

In order to do homework and still have time to do other things, there are some basic principles that must be adhered to.

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  • Limit distractions like television, cell phones, and other people. Find an area where you can work without interferences.
  • Some students find that using a computer to answer questions when given a hand-out is easier and more effective, allowing for faster answers.
  • Always have your material on hand. Your study area should be stoked with pens, calculator, paper, and other essential items.
  • If you’re not good at a particular subject, pinpointing someone who’s capable of helping will save a lot of time.
  • Dedicate time each day for completing your homework.

2. Read the Directions and Rubrics

Knowing exactly where the standards are is the key to reliably get good grades. Ignoring instructions will almost guarantee the sacrifice of a good grade on an assignment even if the quality of the content is perfect. Misinterpreting directions can lead to the blaming of the teacher, and even disagreeing with the directions won’t get you a good grade.

3. Listen and Participate

Paying attention in class seems like a no-brainer, but a lot of people think that it is possible to space out in class and study hard later on. This is not always the case and will catch up to you when a complex problem has you stumped. Paying attention in class almost always leads to spending less time studying later on. This is because the information has already been absorbed just by being engaged mentally when the teachers talking. Participation is crucial as it helps students understand the material more thoroughly because it is used in context and conversation.

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4. Ask for Help ASAP

This is easier said than done if the teacher is not especially friendly. Having a list of questions prepared for the teacher makes it easier to get the clarification you need, and the teacher will know exactly what to go over. There is no shame in asking for help it is the smartest thing that can be done when struggling in school.

5. Don’t Rely on Family and Friends

This can also be interpreted as, don’t cheat. Help with homework is one thing but directly copying a classmate’s homework, even if it doesn’t count for a grade, is definitely cheating. It is said that you only hurt yourself when you cheat and this is totally true. Relying on the knowledge of others for assignments will lead to larger assignments being more difficult since the material was never learned in the first place.

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6. Do Your Homework, Always

Many students take optional homework as a pass to ignore the assignments. This is not a good idea. When dealing in math and science, it is important to do the homework to fully comprehend the material. Skipping homework can lead to confusion when the teacher begins a new chapter or unit. Doing homework regularly can also have the same effect as studying consistently over time.

7. The Difference between Skimming and Understanding

The information should be actively absorbed instead of just read superficially. Having surface knowledge of the subject will not help in the long run especially if the test consists of open ended questions. A good way to do this is to read each section and then look away from it and try to repeat the facts. Don’t move on from the material until you are able to do this.

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8. Study, Don’t Cram

Sacrificing sleep to cram the night before the test is not good news no matter how you put it. It should be made into a habit of regularly going over the material and not only the night before a test. Leading up to a big test, study for about an hour every night for a week as opposed to studying a straight five hours the night before the test. As the knowledge builds up so will confidence. The night before the test, do an overall review and make sure all the main concepts are understood.

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Last Updated on January 15, 2021

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

Posture

First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

  • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
  • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
  • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
  • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

Facial Expressions

Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

  • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
  • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
  • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

2. Relax Your Face

New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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3. Improve Your Eye Contact

Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

3. Smile More

There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

4. Hand Gestures

Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

5. Enhance Your Handshake

In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

“Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

Final Takeaways

Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

Reference

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