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Most Effective Study Tips for K-12 Students in Virtual School

Virtual and hybrid learning is becoming increasingly popular in the US and around the world. As a current or prospective virtual student, you may be wondering how to succeed in online school. Do you need to adjust how you study? Are online homework assignments and exams different from in-person school? 


Online education offers some significant advantages over in-person learning. While there are many similarities, you generally have more flexibility and access to resources than you would in a traditional classroom. This makes studying easier and usually more fun.


Keep reading to learn helpful study tips for online students and ace your classes!

1. Plan Ahead and Set Expectations

While flexibility is one of the many benefits of online learning, you shouldn’t go into it unprepared. Self-discipline, scheduling, and time management for students are some essential skills you’ll need to succeed in a virtual classroom. 


At the start of each week, work with your learning coach to design a realistic daily schedule that you can stick to. Your schedule should include when to work on specific assignments, a set amount of study time (at least 4 hours daily), due dates, weekly goals, and more.


You can create a physical copy of your schedule and post it in your study area to help you stay on track. You can also program reminders into your phone or other device to help you stick to your plan.

2. Have a Dedicated Learning Space

african american female student doing homework in her dedicated learning space

It’s important for every online student to have a dedicated learning space that is comfortable and free of distractions. This can be just about anywhere in your home as long as it’s quiet, organized, and big enough for any supplies you need.


In general, a good learning space should have a spacious desk with a computer, comfortable seating, wall space for a schedule or a study board, and a strong internet connection. Keep in mind you’ll be spending a significant amount of time in your learning space, so don’t be afraid to add your own personal touches to make it a place you actually enjoy.

3. Active Learning

Cramming for final exams and leaving assignments to the last minute is never a good idea. It makes the learning process more stressful and it’s difficult to retain the information you need to know.


Studying for exams and completing homework assignments will be much easier if you actively engage in your classes. Here are some helpful active-learning strategies that you can use throughout the school year:


  • Take lots of notes during lectures to keep yourself engaged; here are some note-taking tips to get you started!
  • Minimize distractions during lectures and lessons; it’s a good idea to turn off your phone and make sure you’re in a quiet room.
  • Use active listening techniques.
  • Participate in discussions and always ask a question if you’re confused about a certain concept.

4. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help

Online education is all about collaboration and community. If you’re having trouble following certain concepts or you just want to stay on top of your learning, don’t hesitate to reach out to a teacher or your learning coach for help.


SLC’s teachers are subject-matter experts and trained instructors. You can visit them during office hours or set up a one-on-one meeting to discuss your goals and concerns and develop strategies for the future. We also have an incredible support team available to help you. With counselors, academic advisors, and technical-support specialists, we want you to have every tool at your disposal.

5. Try a Study Group

group of students doing group study for virtual school in portland

Study groups can be an excellent opportunity for in-depth learning and socialization. Studying in a group setting can lead to more positive outcomes for students by reinforcing lessons, encouraging collaboration, offering new perspectives, and reducing procrastination.


You might be wondering how to form a study group in an online setting. While you have to be more intentional about meeting your fellow classmates, there are many ways to connect with other students. For example, SLC offers in-person enrichment classes and live study halls at our Eagle Creek and Tigard locations. 

6. Avoid Burnout

One of the major benefits of online school is that it gives you way more flexibility to study on your own schedule. Burnout is a real thing. Doing well in school is an important part of your life, but it’s also essential to take care of your overall well-being and make sure you don’t get overwhelmed from studying too much all at once. 


Here are some tips to help you avoid burnout:

  • Make sure you have a comfortable place to study and good lighting.
  • Take some time for self care; try breathing techniques, meditations, yoga poses, or even a nap!
  • Spend time with your family or hang out with friends when you start to feel burnt out.
  • Participate in extracurricular activities; consider getting involved with sports, clubs, and other non-academic hobbies.
  • Take plenty of study breaks to avoid eye strain.

7. Utilize Time-Management Strategies

an alarm clock that a student uses

If you want to know how to do better in online school, time-management skills are key. If you struggle with procrastination or get overwhelmed without a clear schedule, here are a few time-management strategies to help you avoid stress and stay on track:

  • Color-code your classes in your planner or calendar.
  • Include non-school-related tasks in your schedule.
  • Set reasonable goals.
  • Divide coursework into manageable segments.
  • Prioritize your most important tasks.
  • Cut out distractions.

8. Do Self-Assessment and Track Progress

Pre-testing yourself on the topics you’re learning can help you gauge how well you know the material and how prepared you are for an exam or assignment. Here are some great ways to test your knowledge:

  • Review your graded homework and assignments and make sure you understand any concepts you found challenging.
  • Make up some catchy songs or phrases to help you remember important concepts.
  • Have a classmate, friend, or family member test you on your notes.
  • Make flash cards for yourself!
  • Ask your teacher for a study guide or some example questions you can work on.

Is Virtual School a Safe Alternative To Traditional School?

Absolutely. High-quality, accredited online schools are just as safe and effective as traditional schools – and in many cases, they’re even better. As long as you do your due diligence and look for an online school with certain essential qualities, pursuing an online education can offer some significant benefits over traditional methods. 


Here are some of the main advantages of online school:

  • More parental involvement
  • Fewer distractions
  • Protection from bullying, peer pressure, and other negative influences
  • Increased flexibility
  • Personalized education
  • Opportunities for one-on-one learning

Take An Active Role in Your Education at Summit Learning Charter!

learning space for a virtual high school student in oregon

Summit Learning Charter is a fully accredited K-12 public school in Oregon that offers students of all ages the opportunity to learn virtually and in-person! We’re proud to provide flexible and personalized learning opportunities, and we love working with families to help each and every student achieve their goals. 

Our virtual academy offers more than 200 classes and 3 comprehensive, evidence-based curricula. Learn more about academics at SLC and contact us today with any questions you may have.

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Sean Gallagher

Mr. Gallagher has been working at Summit Learning Charter since 2008, the school's founding year, and has been the Principal since 2014. Sean has been an educator for 27 years working in alternative education, teaching English, and school leadership. Sean's passion as a school leader is constructing Summit towards continual growth and student centered solutions.

Program Dates:
September 6 to June 16

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