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About Practical Parenting Strategies with Dr. Heller

Dr. Carey Heller is a licensed psychologist and founding partner with The Heller Psychology Group LLC, which is a small private practice located in Bethesda, Maryland near Montgomery Mall. He specializes in working with children, adolescents, and their families. Dr. Heller conducts play, individual, and family psychotherapy for a variety... Read more

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New Semester Check Up

Dr. Heller is a licensed psychologist with The Heller Psychology Group in Bethesda, MD.

Dr. Heller is a licensed psychologist with The Heller Psychology Group in Bethesda, MD.

With the new semester underway for most teens in the area, it is a good opportunity for teens and their parents to examine how the previous semester went. In most instances, simply trying harder to do better in of itself does not work well if there were issues previously, unless specific concrete tools and strategies are used to bring about improvements.

Therefore, here are a few key areas to look at in determining whether anything needs to be improved in the new semester:

  • Homework completion rates
  • Grades on homework
  • Grades on quizzes
  • Grades on exams
  • Grades on papers/long-term projects
  • Level of daily stress related to school
  • How well teen regularly wrote down assignments
  • How frequently long-term tasks were left for the last minute
  • Overall grades

While most of the items listed above culminate in the final grade in each course, it is important to look at components of the total grade and relevant factors that may contribute to grades (i.e., planning and organizing skills, level of stress).

If you or your teen feel that any of the above-mentioned items need to be improved, it is suggested that you make a list of each one and have your teen list out a few concrete ways that he or she can make improvements.

The following are a few examples:

  • Poor grades on exams
    1. Write out study plan of specific study tasks that will complete each day before the exam (i.e., list of terms and definitions, practice answering essay questions using notes)
    2. Start studying at least a week prior to the exam
  • Level of daily stress
    1. Use calendar to keep track of daily schedule and block out time to complete long-term projects
    2. Break long-term assignments into parts with deadlines to complete each part by
  • Low homework completion rate
    1. Write down assignments daily in planner or planner app
    2. Make daily to-do list and check off each one when it is complete

I hope that this article is helpful in getting you and your teen thinking about how to make small changes for the upcoming semester that can make a large difference in performance, satisfaction, and stress levels.

Copyright 2016 Carey A. Heller, Psy.D.

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*Disclaimer: The previous information is intended as general guidance based on my professional opinion, does not constitute an established professional relationship,  and should not replace the recommendations of a psychologist or other licensed professional with whom you initiate or maintain a professional relationship*

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Carey Heller, Psy.D.

About Carey Heller, Psy.D.

Dr. Carey Heller is a licensed psychologist with The Heller Psychology Group LLC in Bethesda, Maryland. He works with children, adolescents, and young adults, providing psychological/psychoeducational evaluations and individual psychotherapy. Dr. Heller specializes in ADHD, executive functioning issues, and Autism Spectrum Disorder and is happy to answer questions and provide consultations for individuals who are considering pursuing treatment or an evaluation for their child, adolescent, or themselves. Dr. Heller can be reached directly at 301.385.2610 or For appointments, please call the office at (301) 385-2610 or email The Heller Psychology Group at with your contact information and availability for appointment times.


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