How To Improve Study Skills

It's Friday morning, and you're taking another test.  Are you ready?  Students who do well on tests often have good study skills, but good study skills involve a lot of preparation as well as studying.  If you're looking for ways to improve you're studying skills to avoid late night cram sessions, here are a few simple strategies that will help.

  1. Read ahead.  Reading ahead helps you better prepare for class.  Highlight or make notes of things that you feel are important, and share your thoughts during classroom discussions.  Also, by reading ahead, class time can be used more efficiently to discuss questions or topics that need clarification.  Clarifying questions in class will free up more time to review and study the new material at home.
  2. Attendance.   Since most classes build on previous material, attendance is crucial in order to have successful studying skills.  Attendance is important in order to gather and expound on the correct material to study.

  3. Take good notes.   Good notes make great studying tools.  Good note taking involves a lot more than copying notes from the board.  Make sure to include any relevant information from the classroom discussions in your notes, such as examples of key points, and pay attention to textbook pages that are relevant to the discussion.

  4. Review notes daily.  Reviewing notes daily will help you avoid late night cram sessions.  By repeatedly reviewing the notes, you are becoming more familiar with the concepts and topics discussed.

  5. Make Flashcards.  Flashcards are great review tools for basic math facts or word definitions.  Write the word or question on one side and the definition or answer on the other side.  As you review them, make two piles.  Make one pile for flashcards that were remembered, and make one pile for flashcards not remembered.  Review the flashcards not remembered again.  The more you review the flashcards, the smaller the flashcards not remembered pile should be.

  6. Use graphic organizers.  As you gather more notes, graphic organizers can help you link all the material together.  Graphic organizers can be as simple as two columns defining mammals versus non mammals or several boxes linking the who, what, when, where, why, and how to the main idea.

  7. Study Groups.  Get together with a few friends and quiz each other on the material and notes you've collected for the test.  Explain or describe in your own words what the material is about, and compare the information you have collected with each other.

There are many things you can do to improve your studying skills.  Being prepared for class, participating during class, and reviewing after class go hand in hand in order to have the most accurate and best materials to study.  Strategies, such as reviewing notes daily, making flashcards, using graphic organizers, and creating study groups, will help improve study skills.      


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