Here are some  study skills tips, provided by Sylvan Learning of Harvey, that parents and their children should put into action now to start the school year off right: Make Use of Study Tools. A recent Sylvan survey found that more than half (54 percent) of parents surveyed with children in grades four through eight stated that their child reads his or her textbook and notes over and over to study – an ineffective study habit. Utilizing flashcards and color-coding materials are better for helping students remember key points. Develop a Study Process. First things first: students need to know when a test will take place, the types of questions that will be included and the topics that will be covered. From there, they should create a study plan and allow ample time to prepare – there’s nothing worse than cramming the night before an exam. Begin Using a Planner. Between homework, tests and extracurricular activities, it’s all too easy for things to slip through the cracks. A planner can help keep everything organized and students should write down assignments, appointments and to-do lists. Review items in the planner at both the beginning and end of the day to stay on track. Identify Teacher Expectations. It is helpful for students to know how and what they will be graded on. By middle school and high school, most teachers will provide a course outline or syllabus, which can serve as a guide for the semester. If expectations aren’t clear, don’t wait until a bad report card. Parents and students should feel comfortable approaching teachers with questions about grading and assignments at any time. Create a Designated Study Area. If children are studying in front of a television or in a high-traffic area, chances are they aren’t getting the most out of study time. They should find a quiet, well-lit, low-traffic space in the house for studying. Parents can even institute a “communications blackout” policy with no cell phones or instant messaging allowed until schoolwork is done. Know When to Get Help. Sylvan’s survey found that 63 percent of parents surveyed didn’t feel that they could help with all of their child’s homework. To help equip students with the skills and strategies that can make a big impact on middle school, high school, college and beyond, Sylvan Learning of Harvey offers Advanced Study Skills programs. Here is a link to study skills and organizational forms that we have found extremely helpful- free, from Sylvan Learning Center. Here are some tips for Teens on Getting Organized from the National Center for Learning Disabilities.