Everyone’s high school experience may be different, but there’s one universal truth for everyone. At the end of high school, you want to look back and feel like you haven’t just wasted four years of your life.
Of course, most teens want to spend time having fun with their friends, and there is an appropriate time for fun and slacking off as well.
However, students have to learn to be efficient to be able to fit everything into their schedule, without feeling stressed or overwhelmed.
Life hacks for high school should help students be organized, motivated, manage time, study smarter (not harder), and live a healthy balanced life while still having fun.
Organizational Life Hacks For Teens
Reliable Alarm Clock
Invest in a reliable alarm clock. Everyone struggles to get up, but some students need a little extra help.
Here are some suggested alarm clocks that are sure to get you up and out of bed.
The Sonic Bomb Alarm Clock is extra-loud and shakes the bed to wake even the heaviest sleeper.
The Wake Up Light Sunrise Alarm Clock is a bit more gentle but still a very reliable alarm clock for any student.
And lastly, the Clocky Alarm Clock on Wheels is best for all super lazy “I just can’t get out of bed” types as it runs away from you.
Extra Long Phone Charging Cord
Buy a 10ft charging cord for your phone. You won’t always find a plug close to an available seat, plus you’ll thank me later when you’re lying in bed and still able to chat with your friends.
School Schedule Lock Screen
Take a photo of your school schedule and use it as your lock screen. You’ll have it on hand quickly and won’t need to keep searching for it.
Get a good backpack with several pockets to keep everything you need organized.
Jansport has several cool student backpacks to choose from in different colors, sizes, and internal organization options.
The Yorepek backpack is a winner for its super-large capacity and numerous pockets and compartments. It also has a USB charging port.
I also like this Anti Theft Backpack as it has several useful compartments, is water-resistant, and also has a USP charging port.
Form habits that you can stick to. Set up a study time and routine so that it becomes habitual and easier to maintain.
Organize By Color
Select a color for each subject. You can then cover the books for each subject in that color and even use different color pens for writing for each subject. This life hack will help you find what you need in your bag, locker, or desk quickly.
Personalize Your Stationery
Personalize your stationery using colorful masking tape. It’s a creative and inexpensive way to ensure nobody ‘accidentally’ takes your pens. You can wrap some Washi tape around your pens, pencils, ruler, etc.
Bring Your Headphones
Always carry headphones with you. Just put an extra pair of headphones in your school bag. There will be many times when you want to listen to something and don’t want everyone else around you to hear it.
Save Your Locker Combination
Save your locker combination on your phone. Simply create a name you’ll remember like Mrs. Lock and you’ll always be able to find it.
Motivational Life Hacks For Students
Use different color pens & highlighters to liven up your notes and mark important information.
Use Sticky notes to remind you of important facts and deadlines, and even add some motivational quotes.
Take Regular Short Breaks
A great life hack is to combine staying hydrated and taking breaks. Before every study session, drink a big glass of water. You’ll be forced to take a (toilet) break soon enough.
Alternative Study Resources
Sometimes your textbooks aren’t enough to keep you interested. You might study better from videos or other resources. There’s a wealth of interesting information on Google and YouTube that explain topics in ways that you might enjoy and understand more. There are so many free resources and tutorials available. Check out CrashCourse, Khan Academy, Brightstorm, etc.
Study With Music
Some great music resources enhance concentration. Try out a few and see if they work for you.
It should help you focus and not be distracting in any way. You’ll almost not notice it while studying and only realize it’s playing when you stop being focused, which could indicate that you might need a quick study break.
Some students enjoy video game music as it’s pretty monotonous. It’s probably best to avoid music with lyrics, as this might be distracting.
You can try some ambient study music.
Alternatively, Hans Zimmer has written some of the best movie scores to listen to while studying. There are no distracting lyrics, plus the scores are intended to motivate.
Make a checklist for all the things you need to do, and tick each item off as you finish them. This is a simple yet powerful motivational life hack that gives you a little bit of positive feedback with every item completed.
Ask For Help
If you’re not sure or need help, then don’t be afraid to ask. You’re ultimately still responsible for doing the work, but sometimes we need some help to get started or continue in the right direction.
Set one goal or task per day and accomplish it. It ensures that you stay on top of your work and gives you that essential sense of accomplishment that keeps you motivated.
Time Management Life Hacks
Don’t skip breakfast! Even if you just make a quick egg on toast or even poached egg in a microwave (solid life hack), it’s better to start your day with some protein. At the very least, grab a banana and some almonds for snacking on the way.
Wikipedia is your best friend when you need quick information. It’s your best go-to for instant info.
Study Focused or Don’t Bother
Rather spend 30 minutes of focused attention than 2 hours staring at your textbook.
Focus on one thing at a time. This includes putting your phone on silent while you’re studying. You won’t focus if you know there’s a text message waiting to be read.
Deal With Problems Fast
If you don’t understand something, ask your teacher immediately. If you wait, you’ll just be stacking up more questions on top of each other.
Study groups are not always the best way to study. Although it can be good to discuss things with other students, it’s often best to buckle down and study independently.
Study When You Can
If you have an hour between classes, or you’re not in the mood to chat to anyone during a break, then read over your notes. Every little bit of study time helps. If you get in the mindset to read over your notes rather than sit and be bored, you won’t have to work as hard when you get home.
Where’s Your Locker
If you’ve been assigned a locker far away from most of your classes, ask if you can be given a new locker. It’s not always possible, but it takes a few minutes to ask and could save you lots of time for the rest of the year.
Study Hacks For High School Students
Know How You Study Best
There are many ways to study, and each will work better for different people. Some people do well under pressure. Other students like to take notes in class, rewrite them at home, and then make flashcards out of these. You need to figure out how you learn best and plan accordingly.
Plan Your Study Routine
Plan your study routine in advance to avoid being trapped in a cram session. A great study life hack is to spend some time on the weekend, to plan your week ahead. See what assignments are coming up, which friends you want to meet up with, and plan around this so that you can fit everything into your schedule.
Write A Schedule
Before you start studying or working on an assignment, write down a schedule for the work that you want to do.
This might sound a bit of a waste of time, but it focuses your mind on your most important task for the day. Otherwise, it’s very easy to be distracted by other, less critical tasks.
Study A Little Every Day
Rewrite your notes, read a chapter, work on your assignments or study a bit every day. Instead of needing to cram towards a deadline, rather work on smaller chunks of work consistently.
This study hack will make your high school years far less stressful.
Learn How To Take Notes
Summarize and condense the information you’re studying. Darling Rachel shares her Tips & Tricks on how to take notes below.
Another great note-taking method is The Cornell method.
Have a look at how note-taking is suggested below. Use the notes column to make notes during class to write down the main ideas. Use the column on the left to recall any important information. Lastly, summarize the main points in the summary section at the bottom of your page.
It is recommended to revise straight after class when it’s still fresh in your mind.
Do as many practice problems as you can. Ask for old papers and answer as many questions as you can. Cliffs Notes is a great tool that allows you to download literary guides, test prep, and digital flashcards for review.
Be Present During Class
Listen, pay attention and take notes. If you’re not paying attention in class, you’re just going to have to work twice as hard later. By paying attention in class you’ve already done most of the work. You will only need to revise and not learn something for the first time later.
Have A Study Space
Having a study space, a clean and neat area reserved for studying, leads to an organized mind.
Study Before Bed
Your brain files new information while you sleep. By studying before bed, the information is fresh and ready for retrieval when you need it. Just be careful of studying in bed, otherwise, you might fall asleep.
Study To Teach
While studying, imagine that you will need to teach this material to someone else. This really helps ensure that you understand the material. If you can’t explain something easily to someone else, then you don’t understand the material well enough.
Check Your Papers
You can use an app like Hemingway or Grammarly to check your papers. Copy and paste your text into the app, and it will suggest edits and highlight grammatical errors. Grammarly can check for any plagiarism in your essay as well.
Take Study Breaks
Use the Pomodoro technique to study – study for 25 min followed by a 5 min break to stretch your legs. You can walk around, do some jumping jacks, or just get something to eat or drink. Don’t forget to come back after 5 min and not get distracted by social media or anything else.
Sit In The Front Row
If you’re easily distracted, sit in the front row. You won’t see and be distracted by everyone else in the class by sitting in the front row.
It’s also vital to remember to arrive early to classes in the first few weeks so that you can get the seat you prefer. After a few weeks, everyone will tend to stick to the seats they’ve selected and won’t change much unless a teacher instructs you to do so.
If you can, try to read ahead for your next class. This isn’t always possible, but it will help you grasp the information in class and also helps if you fear your teacher suddenly asking you questions.
You’ll probably remember using Mnemonic devices to recall certain things like the planets (My Very Excellent Mother Just Served Us Nine Pizzas). You can create your own to remember any sequences or key concepts.
There are several study apps that can help you make your high school years easier.
- Study Buddy helps keep track of your study time versus distractions.
- Evernote allows users to record audio, store media, and search for notes using keywords, tags, or even printed or handwritten text.
- Simplemind+ lets you create mind maps, collect your ideas in one place, and improve brainstorming productivity. The mind maps replace boring text documents by allowing you to visualize and connect various ideas; they also hyperlink, are shareable, and exportable.
- Todo is a great tool to save your to-do lists and sync them to your calendar.
Health Life Hacks For Students
Are you feeling tired when you wake up? You are most likely dehydrated. Make a point of drinking a big glass of water as soon as you wake up every morning – definitely the BEST thing you can do for your body and brain.
If you’re feeling tired during the day and can’t concentrate, then stop and take a nap. It might seem like you’re wasting time if you need to study, but trust me, it’s better to take a 30-minute nap than trying to keep going. Your brain won’t be working optimally if you’re tired. Take a nap, and then you’ll have a lot more brainpower to keep going.
Get Enough Sleep
It seems like all we ever hear is to go to bed and get enough sleep. It doesn’t matter how old you are; your brain needs to sleep. If you need to be up by 7 am, try to go to bed at 11 pm to get at least 8 hours of sleep.
A great app that can help you get enough sleep is Sleep Cycle.
Eat Healthy Food
Another cliche but essential life hack is to eat healthy food. When you’re busy, you might want to grab a quick snack, but this won’t feed your body what it needs and won’t sustain you either.
Instead, take a bit of time to prepare a healthy snack including some protein (eggs) and healthy fats (avocado) to keep you full for longer. My favorite snack is a peanut butter & banana smoothie.
Even if you get up and walk around. Go outside. Get some fresh air. Do some jumping jacks – anything to get the blood flowing.
Don’t Obsess Over Grades
Grades are important, but they’re also an indication of where you can improve. Read your teacher’s comments and try to improve where you can, but don’t obsess over the small things. Learn from your mistakes and move on quickly.
Try to meditate or at least sit quietly for at least 10-20 min every day. Even if you use this time just quietly to lie on your bed. Just close your eyes and try to clear your head.
You can use some mediation guides or music to help you if needed.
Meditation is a great way to reduce stress and anxiety and can help if you’re struggling to fall asleep.
Writing Hacks For High School
Research Your Topic
Before you put pen to paper, research your topic. Read your textbook, your notes, and go online to find other useful resources.
Write An Essay Plan
List all the important topics that you need to cover in your essay. Then make sure that all your paragraphs and ideas flow logically. Your essay should have an introduction, several paragraphs, and don’t forget your conclusion.
Edit Your Work
You should never submit your first draft. Once you’ve finished your essay, take a break but come back to it later, or the next day, and re-read everything you’ve written. Remember to use tools like Grammarly to check your spelling, grammar and if you’ve inadvertently plagiarised anyone.
Highlight In Color
Use different color pens to highlight important information in your notes. It makes it so much easier to spot whats important quickly.
Blue Vs Black Ink
Apparently, you’ll remember your notes written in blue ink easier than ones written in black ink. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Use scholar.google.com instead of google.com to look up scholarly literature and academic resources for writing assignments.
If you can’t come up with a word or phrase then use Word Hippo. Type in a phrase or word, and it generates a list of similar words for you to use.
If you’re looking for something specific in a paper you’re writing, hit Ctrl and F and it will highlight all these words in the document, making it super quick and easy to find what you’re looking for.
Write like you’re talking to someone or telling them a story. Simple language is often best.
Fun Life Hacks For High School
Yawning Is Contagious
Do you have that feeling that someone is watching you in class? Next time you get this feeling, yawn and see what happens. If someone else yawns, you know that they’ve been staring at you. You’re welcome! 😂
Have A Party Trick
Everyone should have at least one ‘party trick.’ It can be anything like making a coin disappear or making awesome pancakes for your friends.
No More Smelly Shoes
Bacteria cause a bad odor in the moisture of your shoes. Make sure to dry out your sneakers after use. You can stuff some newspaper to absorb most of the moisture.
Unused tea bags can also be used to suck the moisture out and add a fresher smell if you use mint tea. Pop a few in your shoes and let them dry out overnight.
Another hack is to put baking soda in your shoes, which absorbs the odor. Just remember to shake out the baking soda the next day.
Tie Your Laces Fast
Tie your shoes using the Ian knot 🙂
Other Student Life Hacks
Don’t Get Your Teacher Mad
It’s probably not fair, but teachers are human and their view of you will influence how they treat you.
They will most likely give you the benefit of the doubt if your answer isn’t spot on because you seem to take the class seriously.
If you’re always playing the fool and getting into trouble, then they’ll mark your papers accordingly.
What’s It Worth
Find out how much your school work vs. tests counts towards your final grade. You might discover that an assignment makes up a significant amount of your final grade.
Put in extra effort where it counts, to increase your chances of a higher grade overall.
Guess The Answer
When you don’t know the answer, write something down, anything, even if you’re guessing the answer. A blank space will give you a fat zero, while an educated guess could at least give you some points.
If you have something important that you want to remember when writing a test, then read your notes just before you go in, and write the important points on your test paper as soon as you’re allowed to start.
Just brain dump everything you think you might need to remember up front, then you can relax and answer the questions, knowing that you can find the important dates or equations that you memorized before sitting for the test.
This is a fun life hack on how to memorize Pi. Just remember the following sentence, “May I Have A Large Container Of Coffee.” The number of letters in each word represents the pi digits (3. 1 4 1 5 9 2 6).
Revive Your Pen
Has your pen dried up? Heat it with a hairdryer, and you might just be able to finish that essay.
Chewing gum seems to boost cognitive performance. Research shows that chewing gum seems to wake us up but only for about 15- 20 minutes. So it could be helpful to chew gum when you’re studying hard or when writing an exam, and you need a quick mental boost.
Always make a point of greeting your teacher. Saying ‘hi’ and ‘bye’ or even ‘thanks’ to your teacher will ensure that they notice you, think you’re polite, and it might even get you a slightly better grade. Yes, they shouldn’t be biased, but they’re human too.
We’ve listed 67 high school hacks that can help you do better in school and improve your life.
School doesn’t have to be a stressful waste of time. Getting your grades up doesn’t necessarily require endless hours of mindless studying.
Use these life hacks to help you get organized, stay motivated and even enjoy your high school years.