Tips for Academic Success

General Note Taking Tips

  • Be Brief: Make your notes as short as possible. Don’t take down every word the teacher/book says. Instead, decide what is most important.
    • Generate abbreviations for common words. (ex. Gov’t = Government)
    • Sometimes with your book it helps to read a whole section before writing anything down. This helps you put the information in your own words and makes sure that you do not write too much.
  • Organize: Have a system for organizing your notes. One recommended system is Cornell Notes System​​​​​​​.
  • Think: Be actively involved in the information, not just a sponge soaking it up. Ask questions if you are confused or make a note to yourself to look it up later.
  • Review: Go over your notes sometime after you took them (ideally within 24 hours). This will help you understand and remember the information.
  • Study Buddy: Your classmates may have picked up on something you did not. You may want to get a study buddy to compare notes with and review with before class. This will also help you retain information as it will encourage you to read the material a second time in that important 24-hour period.

Write or Type? The Best Way to Take Notes

Daily Studying Tips

  • Do your homework!
  • Talk to your teacher! Ask questions during class or meet with your teacher before or after school if you need additional assistance.
  • Have you reviewed your notes/what you learned in class today? Can you summarize what you learned? If not . . . use your thinking maps and summarize. Preparation for tests and quizzes begins after the first day of class!
  • Do you understand, can you answer the objectives the teacher provided?
  • Can you use the term in a sentence and explain the importance?
  • Do you really understand, or are you just regurgitating what the teacher said?
  • Questioning: Did you ask clarifying questions? What questions do you have for the teacher the next day? Make note of them and get them answered.
  • Teach someone else (this will help you realize what information you really don’t understand)
  • If you are absent . . . take the time to learn what you missed. Check in with your teacher upon your return to class!

Additional Study Tips

Read every night! The reading homework can quickly become unmanageable if you don’t keep up with the schedule. The best strategy is to block time to read EVERY NIGHT so that you are always prepared for class and the material is understood on a daily basis.

Schedule daily and weekly reviews. Besides daily reviews, schedule a half hour weekly review (per class) to go over all notes taken that week. Remember that you forgoet over half of what you learn within 24 hours of learning it, and forgetting increases even more as time elapses. Unless you schedule daily and weekly reviews, you will have to relearn nearly everything when you study for the test. With periodic reviews, you will forget less, remember more, and no doubt, do better on tests.

Be an active learner. Studying for a test does not mean reading your notes or reviewing your textbook readings three, four or even ten times. This is passive study and active study of information is the most effective way to study. Active study means organizing your notes and/or readings by making a Table of Contents Sheet, Study Sheets and/or Flash Cards and then reciting the information out loud. You must do more than just read over your notes to insure retention. When you simply read over notes, you are only using your eyes. When you recite out loud, you are using your eyes, ears and voice. This is triple strength learning.

  • As you read, look up words you are unfamiliar with.
  • Ask questions in class when you are confused or struggling to understand – chances are, others would like clarification as well.
  • Take notes as you read. Be an ACTIVE reader and note-taker. Ask questions, summarize as you go, and review when you are finished.
  • Budget your time carefully – leave yourself plenty of quality time to complete your homework.
  • Form study groups to review for tests (and make sure you stay on task!)
  • Be in class each day. Everything teachers do each day has purpose. When you are absent you are indeed missing something important – a step along the journey.
  • Prepare for tests appropriately. If you are in the habit of “cramming” the night before a test, you will likely be disappointed with your results in this class. Be persistent, and read and review each night – there is just too much to cram.
  • Most importantly, ask for help when you need it or if you feel overwhelmed. Teachers are more than happy to help!

The SQ3R System of Studying

A Method that Works

Recitation lies at the heart of a method of studying that has produced excellent results for students who have tried it. This is the so-called SQ3R system that holds that the most efficient way to study is to follow five steps that can readily be remembered by their first initials SQRRR.

  • SURVEY – Study the outline at the beginning of the chapter and then glance through the chapter to get a general idea of how much attention is devoted to each point in the outline. Pay particular attention to bold-faced type and topics that divide sections within a chapter
  • QUESTION – Look through the chapter again, asking yourself questions that the headings suggest. Let the topics whet your curiosity. Create questions that you think will anticipate the information in that chapter.
  • READ – Now read the chapter straight through without taking notes.
  • RECITE – You have already surveyed and read the chapter, now ask yourself about its contents. Challenge yourself to see how much of the chapter you can recite. Do this either by yourself or with a friend.
  • REVIEW – Go through the chapter again, asking another survey of its topics and noting how much of it you were able to recite and what points you left out. This review will show you where you must devote further study. After making this additional study, you will probably want to repeat steps 4 and 5. If you were not able to successfully grasp the meaning of the chapter, survey (step 4) the areas of the chapter you had trouble with again and then review (step 5) the chapter once again to ensure understanding. If you are still having some difficulty, you may need to study the information more using SQ3R.

Going through the five steps of SQ3R and repeating which ever steps elude your understanding, as often as necessary, is an exercise in deep processing that will lead to increased understanding and improved memory retention. Rote memorization of content may get you by in the short-term but will not be as nearly effective as SQ3R in the long term.

Additional Links for Study Skills

Preparing for Tests

  • Look at previous assessments & answer questions again (ie quizzes, tests, pre-tests, if the teacher does not let you keep them, set up a time before or after school to review them)
  • Review previous assignments – rereading is not enough – redo at least parts of previous assignments to ensure you remember all the details/steps.
  • Try to anticipate what will be on the test (make up what you think the questions will be). Make cliff notes (condense each topic on a note card) from review sheet
  • If applicable, make flash cards for vocabulary
  • Make studying the last thing you do at night (go to bed immediately after studying . . . don’t watch TV, go on the computer, play video games, etc. after studying)
  • Break up your studying over a period of time such as a few nights (cramming the night before or the morning of the test is NOT a good idea)
  • Use other resources to help you study (websites, classmates, other teachers)
  • Go to review sessions – take notes and ask questions on things you don’t understand
  • Get some sleep the night before and have something to eat before the test.

Taking the Test

When you first get to the test

  • Take a deep breath – try to stay relaxed throughout the test
  • Read the directions – carefully
  • Skim through the test
  • Budget your time – pay attention to how many points each question/section is worth

General test-taking tips:

  • Read the ENTIRE question
  • Circle “key” words in the question (any, not, except, always, never, all, every, only, some, most)
  • Don’t read too much into the questions. The teacher is NOT trying to trick you.
  • Ask yourself . . . is a question answered for you in another question?
  • Mark the ones you are unsure of and come back if you have time. In other words, do the questions you know first (budget your time), and the ones worth the most points first.

Helpful hints for various types of test questions

Multiple-choice and true-false questions

  • After reading the entire question, anticipate the answer before looking at the answer choices.
  • Read ALL of the answer choices.
  • Eliminate the choices you know are wrong.
  • If there is no guessing penalty, always take an educated guess (from the answers left after you have eliminated some of them)

Short answer

  • Keep it short, get to the point (it’s not an essay question).
  • Answer the question that is asked, not something just related to it.
  • Use complete sentences with correct punctuation, correct grammar, correct spelling, and use correct terms.


  • Pre-write – brainstorm – make an outline or use a thinking map, if helpful
  • Make sure you understand what the question is asking
  • Organize your thoughts, make sure you are answering the question and are giving evidence, supporting information, facts, reasons for your answer (don’t just give your opinion, unless that is what is asked for)
  • Don’t write long introductions or conclusions.
  • Focus on one main idea per paragraph.
  • Write as neatly as possible and pay attention to spelling, grammar, punctuation.


  • Show your work! ALL of it!
  • Circle your answer.
  • Pay attention to detail – label, use correct units
  • Even if you don’t know how to do a problem, write down as much information as you can and do as much as you can – you may get partial credit

After you finish

  • Go back to the ones you skipped.
  • Check your answers carefully and take your time
  • Don’t pay attention to when others finish, don’t rush/turn in your test too early.

Keep your materials/assignments all semester and develop an organizational system that works for you. For example:

  • Maintain a separate three-ring binder for each class
  • Color code any folder/binders for each subject or class
  • Maintain a table of contents for each binder
  • Use tabs to organize major sections in your binder (ask your teacher for suggestions)
  • Hole punch and put everything in its section (not in the front pocket of the binder)
  • Use a daily planner to keep track of assignments
  • Make use of the quarter calendar highlighting the daily schedule
  • Use the Note App on your iPad to keep track of homework, test, and projects. Make a separate note for each class or a separate note for homework, test, projects. Make sure to type in daily homework, test dates and project due dates.

National Honor Society Tutor Program

The NHS members serve as tutors to the Cardinal Newman students. The moderators of the National Honor Society, Dr. Anup Sinha and Mrs. Sonia Rodriguez coordinate the NHS Tutor Program. Students may pick up a NHS Tutor Program Form in Guidance. Once the form is completed, signed by the student and parent and returned to the Guidance Office, a tutor will be assigned.

​​​​​​​DISCLAIMER: Please be aware that the tutor list is being provided to you for your use.

Cardinal Newman High School has no affiliation with the tutors/or test prep organizations that are not directly employed by the school. This list is provided simply as a courtesy. Please make sure that you interview and select the service that will benefit your child.

Individual Tutors by Subject Area

*** indicates Cardinal Newman Faculty who may be reached by email –

Deborah Hale ***

Sandra Castro: (305) 962-8495 or email, All Math
Rudy Diaz: (561) 452-7238 All Math EXCEPT for Calculus & Statistics

Susana Duboy: Chemistry – (561) 633-2400 (C)
Christine Granados*** Anatomy & Physiology, Biology, Chemistry, Marine Science

Social Studies
Ross G. Baylor: (561) 267-7425

Susanne Escalera*** All Levels
Harriet Kwasman: (561) 543-6224 or email All Levels

Study Skills
Laura Atkinson*** Study Skill/homework
Deborah Hale***: Study and organizational skills
Antonio Scionti: (561) 642-6421

Tutoring Companies & Learning Centers

Alex Damian
760 US Hwy 1, Suite 204, North Palm Beach.
(561) 951-8339
Private and Semi-Private Tutoring available. Private tutoring followed by unlimited classroom training at affordable prices. Boot Camp Weekend Specials.

All Tutoring
Annette Kravick
(561) 628-7760
From St. Lucie to Broward County
Services offered for All ages, All Subjects, All Abilities

  • K-College Tutoring – one to one tutoring, all certified teachers, living and working locally, all academic subject areas tutored. On-Line Tutoring Available
  • Test Preparation – academic assessments, organizational and test taking strategies, all standardized test prep one to one and online (FCAT, SAT, ACT, GRE, MCAT, LSAT, HSCT, GED, ASVAB), Group SAT, ACAT, GED0, specialized instruction for students with learning disabilities, attention deficit disorders or other individual needs.
  • College Consultants – student resume and college admission essay, assistance with college applications and forms, and parent/student guide for college admissions.

Batt Educational Services
(561) 625-2288

C2 Education Center Palm Beach Gardens
2530 PGA Blvd., Palm Beach Gardens
(561) 972-2346
District Manager- Christa Stein-Conley
K-12 Tutoring Service that specializes in helping students to realize their dreams. It also helps kids increase their SAT and ACT scores. Tutoring in all subjects

Carole Worth
11911 US Highway 1-Suite 301, North Palm Beach, FL 33408
(561) 460-4443
ACT & SAT/SAT II Subject Tests, College Application Essay, Advanced Placement Academies.

College Counseling Consultants
Director: Bernice H. Kramer
(561) 626-3985
SAT, ACT, PSAT Instruction. They offer assistance with applications, financial aid, essays and scholarships. They offer small group or individual instruction.

Palm Beach Gardens or Wellington Location, After school, evening, Saturday or Sunday Sessions

Elegant Solutions Tutoring, LLC
515 North Flagler Drive, West Palm Beach, FL 33401
(517) 505-3611
Kristina Boomer: Math & ACT/SAT test prep

Huntington Learning Center
2 Locations:
Boca: (561) 477-3066
Boynton Beach: (561) 742-5968

Provide individualized programs, study skills, organization techniques, Prep for all tests PSAT, ACT, SAT, Subject tutoring, AP class tutoring, Homework techniques – WORK SMART – NOT HARD!!

Kaplan Test Prep
Complete SAT Prep. Call or visit them online to enroll/pay in 3 installments.

Math and SAT/ACT Prep
On line live instruction: Save time and Money
Weekly unlimited access:$45.00
Monthly unlimited access:$149.00
Available 24/7 – Telephone number is (561) 633-7565 or visit

Palm Beach International Academy
(561) 338-3811
Lots of programs including University at PBIA: take college level courses and obtain university degrees. CPI offers young equestrians the opportunity to investigate the college equestrian experience through competition, education, and scholarship/community service programs. They partner with the Brooke USA and have exciting fundraising events. Schedule your free full length diagnostic SAT or ACT at one of their centers. Take 4 hours or four days. When you establish a base line score then you can develop a study plan for the months ahead. Decrease anxiety testing taking and improve your scores by starting the college test process early.

Professional Tutor of America
1 (800) TEACH US / 1 (800) 832-2487
All Subjects, SAT and ACT Preparation, and AP classes.

Sandy Cohen, M. Ed./Educational Specialist
(561) 373-0585
Wilson-certified tutor specialized in writing, reading and organizational support. She is available before, during and after school tutoring. She specializes in ADD and ADHD students as well. She also offers SAT, ACT and other test prep instruction in the areas of writing and reading. She has successfully tutored students ranging from high school seniors to pass the FCAT to first graders with dyslexia.

Score at the Top Learning Center
Judi Robinovitz- Certified Educational Planner


900 Broken Sound Parkway, Suite 100, Boca Raton, FL, (561) 241-1610
10435 Riverside Drive, Suite 110, Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33410, (561) 626-2662
1035 State Rd 7, Suite 118, Wellington, FL, (561) 333-8882

​​​​​​​Will also tutor in the home – – (561) 626-2662;Cell: (561) 319-2403

Amber – 1 (800) 648-8867
All Academic Subjects. ADD/ADHD, Test Preparation