When kids tell me they studied, my first question is always, "Okay. How?" because 99% of the time, the way students think they should study is ineffective, boring, and generally a big ol' time suck.
"Studying" does not require simply rereading the material or staring blankly at the pages. It needs to be far more engaged than that; students need to engage with the material actively, not passively. So let's draw up a more effective plan together.
First up, studying should be done pretty much every day. Yes, your homework does count, but that's not the end all be all if you're struggling in a class.
On days when you have NO homework in a class, spend at least 30 minutes per subject:
a) actively reviewing notes from class
b) answering a few questions in the book
c) actively re-reading book OR reading ahead.
d) near the end of a unit? TAKE THE CHAPTER TEST/REVIEW.
This way you can either get ahead of your exam or make sure you understand more difficult concepts during your down time rather than cramming for it all at once.
What do I mean by "active review"? This is really the GOLDEN NUGGET of effective studying, so I'm gonna make this real gigantic:
Active review means things like taking notes, writing flashcards, answering questions, and doing the exercises offered in the book.
These are things that require you to ENGAGE with the material. Answering questions helps show applied knowledge, doing problems shows you can do the work. Creating & running flashcards keeps vocab in your brain. It's a huge confidence boost and far more effective than sitting in your chair and hoping the material osmosis-es into your brain.
Now let's say you DO have homework. Let's break down how to use your time:
a) First 15 minutes: review your notes / review book for example problems / skim chapter / etc. Basically use that first 15 to RECAP what you learned.
b) 40 minutes: the assignment. Now use your big chunk of time to APPLY that knowledge!
c) 5 minutes: break. Because I feel you.
If you find your mind tends to wander, try switching classes/topics and start again. Repeat until finished. I've found that helps with brain fog & zoning out.
What happens if you get LEGIT stuck? You have a few tools in your belt to employ:
a) Check your notes. Sometimes it's in there!
b) Check the book EVEN IF your teacher doesn't assign it.
c) Use your resources & consult Google (and a friend!)
d) Circle the issue & bring it to your next tutoring session
Hopefully these simple bullet points get you on track & ready for the rest of your school year!