- Online Textbook Resources. Virtually every major textbook has a companion website, complete with practice quizzes, chapter summaries, and multimedia learning tools. Strangely, most teachers never have their students use these resources. Use them yourself! Try to find the exact companion website for your textbook through Google. If that fails, try to find a textbook that covers the same topic as your class but which actually has a good companion website that you can use. Here are a couple of great examples:
- Khan Academy. Khan is a wonderful website that has inspired much of what I have created and written. Especially with Math and Science, Khan can give you in-depth instruction on topics that are giving you difficulty:
- Youtube. You will find tutorials on virtually any subject – when I taught high school, some of the “philosophy in 30 seconds” videos were remarkable in helping students quickly grasp a difficult concept. Search for yourself:
- School Resources. Your library may have access to fantastic subscription databases and study tools that you can use. They probably paid hundreds or thousands of dollars for these, so put them to use! If your school library doesn’t have them, check with your public library. For an article detailing some of the changes that school libraries have made, please see here:
- Past Tests. Talk to your teacher about using past tests for practice, or try to borrow them from other students (without cheating of course!). Using these will help you see how the teacher generally asks questions so that you will know how to focus your studying.
- Course-notes.org. They have a great collection of subject notes, particularly for AP exams. Great to use as a supplement to your textbook:
- Powerpoint Search. There is no need for you to learn from a terrible powerpoint in class – there are PLENTY of powerpoints out there that you can use free of charge. Simply go to google, type in the term for which you want a powerpoint, and then type in “ filetype:ppt ”. When I taught high school, I often used this to save time in making lecture notes for my classes.
- College Help Sites for their students, (especially with writing). Many top-notch colleges have compiled outstanding resources for their struggling students, and you can access them for yourself! Here are two of my favorites:
- Ask students in same class at other schools to share what their teacher has done. If you are in an Advanced Placement or Honors Course, reach out to your friends in other schools. Those schools may have teachers of the same course you are in is doing a much better job than your teacher. See what resources, notes, and old tests you can check out from them.
- Purchase the teacher editions and AP resources yourself. As long as you are not cheating by looking at a test bank that you know a teacher is using to generate test questions, I see nothing wrong with supplementing your learning by acquiring the textbook teacher editions and resources for yourself. If several of your peers are in a similar situation, pool your money and purchase the book together. You can find the teacher editions for most textbooks on amazon.com. If you would like access to teacher resources for AP courses, here is where you can find them:
I hope you found this article helpful. If so, please share it with your friends! Thanks, Brian Stewart