Skills For School

This section of the website will give you information and tips about important skills to develop for secondary school. These are important life skills that you will have forever, and now is a good time to start thinking about them.

Getting better at organising will really stand to you at secondary school. Organisational skills are the abilities that help you stay focused on the right tasks and manage your time effectively. This is really important in tracking all the work you need to do, and knowing where everything is, when you need it. Life in secondary school is busy, so it’s good to learn to manage these things early on.

Think of the following areas:

  • Managing your timetable
  • Managing your schoolbag and books
  • Managing your locker/keys
  • Managing your homework

Planning your time – ‘time management’ – is a key skill at school, and even later on at work, and it’s something that everyone can learn. Successfully managing your time is an important life skill and will help make schoolwork and exams a whole lot easier. Some key topics are:

  • Using a diary or calendar
  • Making to-do lists
  • Bringing work with you
  • Knowing your limits
  • Not putting things off

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Another important set of skills are those that help you to study better. Organisation and time management will also help, but have a think about the following areas:

  • Having a good space to study
  • Avoiding distractions
  • Taking good notes
  • Setting goals
  • Breaking tasks down into smaller, more manageable pieces
  • Knowing what to study
  • Using visual aids or other things to help you remember
  • Storing or filing information well
  • Revision plans

As you can see, the list can get pretty long. But you can learn all this with a bit of practice.

Remember, homework and study aren’t always the same thing! Try to get into the habit of studying beyond what’s for homework, or revising things you’ve covered. It’s a good habit, and learning gets easier the more you practice.

Communication skills will be important throughout life – they’re also something that you can work on and get better at. These skills will develop as you get older, but there’s a lot you can think about and work on now.

You will need to have good communication skills for school. There will be projects and presentations such as oral exams and classroom-based assessments (CBA’s), so it’ll be helpful to work on how you communicate with others as you start secondary school. This will be useful in dealing with everyone you meet, your parents, teachers and friends.

Remember not all communication is with phones! And it’s not all just speaking and listening either. A lot of communication is non-verbal, which means facial expressions and body language.

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Problem solving is a key skill in school, and in life itself. If you’re a good problem solver, then you’ll usually be able to figure things out and come up with a solution, even when a task seems tricky at first. Many of the world’s greatest discoveries and inventions are thanks to good problem-solvers! This is something you can learn to be good at by practising a few techniques. Think of the following common steps in solving a problem:

  • Identify the problem
  • Think about what’s behind it and why it’s a problem
  • Brainstorm different possible solutions
  • Examine the solutions
  • Put your idea into practice
  • Evaluate the outcome to see if/how it works