ADPRIMA - since 1997

Education information for new and future teachers

"No mental tool honed by human intellect, curiosity and experience
 can long resist  being dulled by simple ignorance or stupidity."

Catalyst: Tools for Effective Teaching 2.0 Celtic bird Catalyst: Dynamically Balanced Study Skills - the best tools and tips.

Study Tips from Students

Part 2

From using certain aromas, to meditation, diet and music, students have opinions about what works for them when they study. These opinions are solely those of those who submit ideas that are accepted, and are not necessarily those of ADPRIMA, and no claims are made by ADPRIMA regarding their effectiveness. Below are study tips submitted by students from earliest to latest. They are ideas that work for them. Maybe they will work for you too!

Read  How to Read text Effectively

This method of absorbing material in three passes is useful for many students. It is a way of tackling each section of the text in a specific and analytical way, with ways to test knowledge and assist a student in retaining new knowledge.

The First Pass: “Skim” the text

Have your notebook, highlighter, pen and pencil handy for notes. It is probably best to have a separate notebook for each subject.

First, skim over the text you plan to read in this study session. As you skim the text, write down, in your notebook, the main headings or subheadings of each section. Leave about a half page of blank space under each note you make. Headings and subheadings, or other important text, is often made noticeable through use of bold, underlined or italicized text. Try to notice the main ideas in this first pass through the text.

Second Pass: Focused Reading

This time, read more intently. Go back to the start of the text. As you read the text under each heading or subheading, make notes of the main ideas. Try to list the main idea at the top, then list the more detailed points in the text that support the main idea. Bullet lists of these supporting points will usually work well.

Don’t forget to pay attention to pictures, bar graphs, tables or other illustrative methods used to support the author’s point(s).

Third Pass: Testing your reading

On a separate piece of paper, make a list of the questions at the end of each section which the textbook authors have written for you to test your knowledge. Go back to the start of each section, and just read through each section, one at a time. See if you are now able to answer the questions for each section after you read it all the way through. Don’t try to do this with more than one section at a time, especially with very difficult text.

If the text does not provide you with questions, you can formulate your own using the wording in the headings and subheadings. You can see if you are able to define what each heading is talking about after you have completed your third pass.

Explaining what you have learned to someone else helps you remember it.

One good way to review is to use flashcards. You can create your own to act as a study guide on simple, ruled index cards. You already have the perfect set of information to use on flash cards from your notes from the text. Your bulleted lists and your main headings can be used to create questions or “fill-in-the-blank” notes or definitions of relevant vocabulary terms, with the answers written on one side and the question on the other. You can also use the questions in the textbook as flashcards, with the answers written on the back. Michelle, Australia

I'm the sort of student who gets easily distracted and it's a nasty habit. When that happens, I remember that what I'm doing is for my own sake. Motivate yourself. If your mind wanders constantly, just set a short time limit, like half an hour - then take a ten minute break (walk around your garden or something, relaxing in the living room is a bad idea since there's the television and everything) and get back to studying. It's better than feeling bored through one hour and not absorbing any material at all. It works for me. See if it works for you. Kuki

At night, I place something I normally wouldn't in the middle of my floor, and while I'm doing that, I think to myself that the reason I put that down is to remember to do my school work in the next morning or day. The next day I see it and remember why I put it there. (This reason can also be to help you remember to do something else the next day). Riley

I am a long time studier. I am a PC Analyst for a very Large Corporation and am climbing my way up the "corporate ladder". I came upon this web site while I was researching for, "How many hours should one study?" I found all of these tips to be very helpful and some what true. I know that everyone doesn't study the same and what's best for one might not be good for another. I find that mixing and applying various types of formulas helps me. Example: first, I Read the chapter. As I read the chapter, I highlight important words, sentences, or paragraphs that refer to my study. Then I re-read the page, step-by-step (in case I miss anything the first time) and write down in a notebook, the important parts I need (usually the highlighted area). Then, when I am done with the chapter, I grab a stack of index cards and start writing questions and the answers (on the back) that pertain to that question. It may sound like a long vigorous study technique but believe me, it works. This lets me know that I have read, re-read, extracted important information, questioned certain parts (Googled) that I don't understand, and finally reviewed the questions on index. And for motivation, I listen to light music, thanks to Delilah (Radio host). Jeffrey

I find that whenever I sit down to study, I get distracted so easily and suddenly I am inspired to do so many other things - except studying. So what I do is I have a piece of blank paper with me when I study, and whenever one of these ideas come to mind I simply jot them down, so that I can do them at a later stage. By doing this I know that I won't forget to do it - after my exams, so I can carry on studying peacefully. Moira

Always, always, always get enough sleep. Once you feel as though you've had a good night's sleep, tiredness won't get in the way of your studies. If you didn't get enough sleep for the day, you'd most likely spend most of your time dozing off in lecture than concentrating and even if you don't doze off, you'll continuously lose interest in the subject and the next thing you know, you can't recall anything that the lecturer just said!

And another thing, in the case that you prefer studying at night, that helps is to wash your face with cold water or shower (wait around 30 minutes after showering to prevent you from wanting to cozy up in bed and inevitably fall
asleep) and then study. This keeps you awake and your concentration level high.  Kate

I find this useful when preparing for essays or answering exam questions. I divide or "chunk" the key parts of the question. I then describe each "chunk". In this way I fully understand what the question wants from me and I don't wander off task. All the preparation has been made and I then just write the answer using 1 paragraph for each chunk.

E.g. "Explain what factors makes a successful student?"  There are 4 chunks in this question (or it could be 6?): explain means  I must give reasons to show how or why; what factors means I must name examples,  e.g. reading skills, motivation, note taking, relaxation etc., makesmeans I must show when and how improvements have been made and successful student means I must show how do I know improvement has taken place. It works for me. Mike

Hello. I am a student from Singapore. I'd like to share two study tips.

Eating brain food helps to aid better studying. One example is banana. Have a brain food as a snack instead of sweets or chocolates helps,  as it contains proteins.

Another study tip that I would like to share is to do mindmaps. Mindmaps- a study tool that is highly recommended by my school teachers and many other scholars. Start by writing a heading in the middle and circle it.

Then branch out into subheadings and note down the points. It is recommended that using color markers/pencils help as color helps you remember better (a science teacher said so).

When you jot down the points, use abbreviations and pictures to replace the words. This aids in remembering the facts a lot better!

I use a mindmap for all my revisions and just need to review the important points instead of perusing through those wordy texbooks. Oh, please do your notes first as you will be able to identify the main points. I hope these tips do help students as it did for many others. Eloise

An excellent study tip for those who like to study with music:

Study to music that you don't know the lyrics to, or to completely instrumental music. It stops you singing along (unintentionally too) to every song and allows you to focus completely on the task at hand.

Whether you're into classical music or (like me) not, Satie is pretty excellent to study to. Sagal

In a psychology class I took, we learned that if study conditions are similar to testing conditions, you will probably do better on the test because you are more able to recall the information.  So I decided that I would take my notes to the classroom early (the same classroom I would be taking the test in) and study in that room for about 10 or 15 minutes every day.  I definitely noticed an improvement in my test grades!  This is why it is best not to listen to music while you try to memorize- you wont be listening to music when you take the test.  If you can't study in the room, simply study in a quiet room with no outside distractions, sitting in a chair pulled up to a desk (you will probably be taking the test with these conditions).  It really does work!  Donna

1. The benefit of music that I have found is that drowns out distractions in the background (traffic, phone ringing, door slamming, etc). If there is music on that I can enjoy, it keeps me at my study location and able to stay somewhat attentive. This works for me because I am easily distracted.

2. When doing physics: I write down every complicated formula that I come across. As I progress further into the course I get a better understanding of the root formulas and what is going on. When this great revelation hits, the more I know means the less I have to remember, and so the complicated formulas are removed from my notes, leaving the simple root formulas.  Chris

I'm not sure if this was already mentioned or not.  I like to use a tape recorder to tape the professor's lecture (if permitted).  I can then listen to the lecture until I almost know it by heart. You get word for word content, importance, and the areas that you should most study. I am assuming that you have a portable player and ear plugs and that you can walk around all day and night listening over and over again.

 The other way I use my tape recorder is to record my reading aloud of my text.  This has four benefits - I see it, read it, say it, and hear it.  I then walk around listening over and over until I know it.  What is interesting and a bonus is when you come across a question that you think you don't know so you make a guess and often will get it right.  All that listening is in there somewhere.  Alan

Honestly, for me, in my history class, my teacher suggested that, when learning about battles, important events in history, and other things like that, to make it into a story.  hiSTORY.  Making it into a story helps you better understand the material.  Also, when we leaned about the 2nd Continental Congress, our assignment was to write a CHILDREN'S book on it.  Using a simple vocabulary can always help you.  And making hiSTORY a STORY will help you remember better.  And in my French, actually saying the questions and the responses will help you remember them better.

Emily (8th Grade)

The absolutely worst way to study is by CRAMMING! Cramming is not effective what so ever. Cramming just stores information in your short term memory for a SHORT period of time. So the best method to studying is as follows:

1. Each day after your class go over your notes just for mere 20 minutes. Just reading is going to be effective. Read notes out loud and re-write them either by hand or on the computer. Make sure you understand what you are reading since this will help store this in your long term memory.

 2. On the night before the test you should be ready for the test since you have been studying prior to the test each day. This helps to cut down the cramming. Also, keep in mind cramming results in deprivation of sleep which results in not being able to function at optimal levels during the test the next day. So, the night before the test make up a practice quiz or get a friend to quiz you. This will allow you to determine what areas you need to focus on. Also, keep in mind if you're still having trouble remembering a concept come back to it after 30 minutes or so. Mandeep

I'm a gifted student, but I'm not so great in math. However, I've found an easy way to study it, though it really only works if you're in high school. Please keep in mind that I'm from Canada, so it might be different for people living in other countries. It can be applied to other subjects, too. 

- First of all, know what you will be going over. Most of my teachers tell us what we're going to learn in the chapter that we're going to be covering.
- Read over all of what your class will be doing. You don't have to do in-depth studying, though you can if you want. I find that this helps me learn the subject better, be it math, science, socials or anything. This way, you will be able to retain information given to you in class when you get to it. 
- If the subject is math, and you know the pages that you will have to complete, do it ahead of time - but only if you get what you're supposed to do. Otherwise, you might not learn how to do it properly. If you don't get what to do, just wait for the class  and ask for help if you need it after the teacher has explained it. 
- if you come across something that you sometimes get, but sometimes don't, do the question on a separate sheet of paper. Print fairly large so you can see where you're making the mistake, then correct it. Repeat it a few times with questions you've made up on your own and get a friend - one who knows how to do the material really well - to check it over for you. 
- If the subject is something else, write down questions on a lined sheet of paper. Answer them in as great detail as you can without looking in the textbook. Then, focus on learning what you weren't able to answer properly. After, quiz yourself again on everything. 

I've found this works really well for me, though it might not work the best for you. Almost all of my teachers give handouts on what we're going to be learning in a chapter before we start it, so I find it easy to study what I don't know. However, if you know something really well already (say you wrote an essay on it in a certain grade or something and you still remember everything on the topic), then don't study it so much. Read over it once or twice every now and then, but don't spend a lot of time on it unless you forget things really easily. Save the time to do something you want to do. Ashley

Have you ever heard of the phrase "sleep on it"? When you sleep, your subconscious pieces things together from your day, and tries to make sense of them all. I recommend that if you are confronted with something that just will not seem to sink in... try to cover as much material as you can, sleep on it (8 hours min.) and even repeat the next day if necessary. You should find that after a good night's sleep, the things you learned from the day before make more sense, even if you still don't completely understand them. This is why studying consistently and ahead of time works better for a test than staying up all night and cramming right before you take it. For knowledge to sink into your brain, you need to sleep on it. I find that the stress of making time to study ahead of exams makes far less of an impact on my life than going into panic mode the night before and most likely failing or doing bad on the exam and having to deal with that. Two hours per day for 7 days is better (and easier) than an all day all night study session right before the exam. Mitchell

When studying languages.. remember to pronounce each word CORRECTLY. Not only will this help you when reciting for exams, but when it comes to spelling, you will improve tremendously with accent placement etc. Adanma

If your friend does not understand something, TEACH IT TO HIM OR HER. By teaching it, you're reasserting what you know in your own head, and also if your friend stays up to date with the current topic in a subject, he or she may be able to help you when YOU have troubles next.
If you are studying a language (I learn Japanese), then why not try finding some of that country's music online? There are free radio online streaming sites around the place if you look for them, and although you won't understand all the words in a song, you will actually remember 'EXAMPLE SENTENCES' for vocabulary or especially grammar points. For example, in Japanese I love and sing along with (found the lyrics online too) 'Houki boshi', which has what I used to think was some very difficult and confusing grammar points. Now I know how to use those grammar points with similar verbs, and my pronunciation is 'perfect'. 
Also, if you are studying a language, why not learn a little slang by watching anime or movies in other languages? It will not only help boost your confidence by knowing more about the culture and being able to understand some useful little words that allow you to express yourself in more depth, but it will DEFINITELY improve your pronunciation! *Don't watch too much, though! It CAN GET addictive!!!* It also works for the 'example sentences' tip above.
Try getting two different text books (school-prescribed, or from a local library) on each subject. For that subject, type a 'summary list' from EACH BOOK SEPARATELY, *only* writing things you cannot know OFF BY HEART (i.e.. more than just recognition), then do the same with your class notes. When you have the three different summary lists, ADD THEM TOGETHER. Delete repeats, and put them all in the same word document. Then, save the file twice under two names. One of the files you leave whole for future reference if you want to look at them all, and one you will be periodically reviewing and deleting things you know by heart. Big help!
Ask your teachers for any previous examination papers - they will not only show you the STYLE of questions, but they will show you areas which the moderators FOCUS ON for marks! For example, they will show you to focus on stoichiometry, rather than on atomic theory, in chemistry. That means there are more marks for one topic than another, so FOCUS ON THAT ONE to get more marks! Easy! Saves you trying to do the impossible and memorize every single thing for each subject and topic. Also, LOOK UP THE ANSWERS and **HOW** the moderators have written them. SAVE TIME IN EXAMS BY WRITING SHORTER WORDS IN FULL. What I mean by this, is NOT writing 'avg' instead of 'average', because that will lose you marks. I mean writing 'mean' instead of 'average', and so forth. This saves so much time, and it is best to get into the habit of writing these shorter words when doing practise exams, so that you remember them during the real ones. Amy from Australia

When I study, I usually read it out loud at least 3 times, then, without looking at it, write it out 3 times, and check if I'm right.  It helps because while you're writing it out, you're thinking about it and trying to remember it. Sharon

Having a clear goal of what occupation you strive to have in the future, and smothering yourself with it when you cannot concentrate for that extra kick of motivation. For example, I want to get into medical school while I am studying for undergraduate exams. I bought a lab coat that physicians wear and hang it nearby so that I can look at it when I feel distracted to reassure myself that one day... I will use that coat to attend my happy days at work if I concentrate deeply on my exam material right now. Also, I printed off a page of the requirements for medical school (including the number of people that get accepted compared to the number of people that apply) and pinned it above my study desk so I can glance at it and remember that I need to maintain my GPA to get there. You get the idea.... 

Basically just have your goal and create an environment that reminds you of it and all its glory.

This is something that has really helped me through my stress breakdowns because it reminds me of all the things I need/can have through hard work and dedication.

Last thing.. You can pin up some motivational uplifting quotes related to life nearby your regular study area so that you can look at them on occasion when you feel it is getting more and more difficult to concentrate. Stacey

One of my sixth grade teachers told me once to repeat everything my teacher said in a low whisper to yourself and that after the teacher is done keep reciting as much as possible until you are sure you have it in your head like a daily routine. This helps me and it's the easiest thing to do also when you are taking notes. Your mind will be more focused on what the teacher is saying and you won't miss a thing  Jose

These are my study tips:

Narrate whatever you are reading from a book to yourself, especially if it is a history lesson you need to know. I am a sophomore in high school and I find that very helpful. Since I am in Enriched Print for Journalism I have a tape recorder with me. I use that recorder especially when I am reading an assigned book for class and record things I need to know that are important so that way I don't have to stop and write in my book. I record the page of the book, and what was important about that certain part so I can go back, listen to it and find everything very easily if I need to. That helps me a lot!!! Especially with Biology. If you are in a foreign language class or a class where you need to learn a lot of vocabulary, use flashcards. But, color code the words. For example, for French words, if it is feminine I write the information that is on the notecard in a feminine like color (pink) and same with masculine words (I use blue). This is extremely helpful!!!!!!!! The best thing though is to listen in class. Maybe you can record the lesson your teacher gives. My teacher lets me so I take advantage of that. Be creative. If memory cues help. make a lot of those!!! If singing a song helps, do it!! (I usually do that). If I know the test/quiz is going to be multiple choice, I usually memorize the word(s) I need to know by remembering a certain word in the definition that is most important until it pops out. 

Don't cram!!!! That is the worst!!!! Be organized, and know where to find things in your textbooks. Trust me the tape recorder really helps. Use the computer sound recorder, record your voice when you are reading from your textbook and upload the file from iTunes and put it on your iPod so you can listen to it before the test comes around. (I don't mean cheat, I mean instead of listening to music in the car, listen to your "own little summarized lesson.")  Ymn

Study for yourself, not because your parents want you to but because you are the creator of your own destiny. Abhi

When studying for a quiz, test, or exam, always skim over the notes so you can get the idea of what you're actually studying, then read through it so then it can help you understand the general topics. Or, you can use flashcards. My teacher made me write like a whole stack but it actually helps if you're studying. write the question on one side, then the answer on the other. study the answers, then turn the whole stack over and just quiz yourself. just remember to shuffle the cards! Jazzy

Here is the STUDY TIP:

Einstein said, "Imagination is more important than knowledge," I believe that the best possible way to memorize certain sequences, equations, years, or any ordered data, is to use your imagination to the greatest extent possible. It can help you memorize and recall. For example,

the six noble gases that occur naturally are helium (He)neon (Ne)argon (Ar)krypton (Kr)xenon (Xe), and the radioactive radon (Rn).

Now to remember their symbols, just imagine something like this happening : when he came ne ar (near),I became kr Xe(crazy) and rn(ran). . Now if you remember this picturization, you will remember symbols easily, try it now see after 1 hr you can still name them!!

Only disadvantage is you have to refresh after 5 or 6 days but only for 2 or 3 times. Good luck. Ankit, India

1. Take a break from studies every 30-40 minutes. When you take a break, it means you do not feed any new information into your brain. Allow you mind to process what you studied, by going over the material. Think about it. First the headings, then the sub headings and so on. This reinforces the information you have studied. If you talk to a friend during this break, you would be taxing your brain with a new task at the cost of processing the info you just studied. Taking a break means just that - let your mind relax with as few distractions as possible.

2. During my college days, the theoretical tests were stressful,  because of the sheer volume of the chapters. During the run-up to these tests, I would make it a point to revise whatever I studied in my head whenever I was doing routine tasks, like eating, bathing, etc. I used to eat, drink, sleep what I studied. I kept going over this info in my head all the time. A doctor from India

When I study for an exam I read my written notes rather than read the whole pages in the textbook. It is kind of wasting time reading a long text when your exam is around the corner. Studying hard but not smart enough to manage your time is useless. So, my point is to write and read notes, study smart, and manage your study time properly. Patrick Malaysia

In this age of technology and social networking, it becomes harder to focus on your homework when working on a computer. To combat this problem, first close all applications that you don’t need, or just get them out of sight. Then, set a timer for 15 minutes or so and tell yourself to just work on your homework for that time. Then when the time is up, give yourself a minute or two to make a quick check of Facebook and other internet stuff, then set the timer again for another 15 minutes of dedicated studying. If during that 15 minutes you think of a Youtube video that you must watch, write it down so that you know you will watch it later.  This way, you can cut down on the actual time spent studying, because you are not doing a million other things at the same time. The focused study is much more effective than four hours of studying whilst checking Facebook or chatting with friends online.  Devin, Nebraska

Even if you read attentively, you shall remember 50% after 3 days, 25% after a week and 5% after 10 days. so go through your notes 2 times in 1st week and at least once for weeks after. This shall make you confident and ready for tests. Avadhut, India

While you are studying any technical words or difficult terminologies first try to know their meaning linguistically and then try to relate the topic you are going to study. This will really help you studying smoothly. Guntur

Sometimes taking the notes in hand and reading them while walking in a park or a garden helps a lot in remembering the matter, as the greenery around you keeps you away from sleep and walking slowly helps in keeping you active.

Siddhi, India

Good day! At first, I want to wish you all you want, because you do the great deal- you teach us to learn correctly. It's very important thing as I'm sure.

So, what concerns my study TIP? I think it best that you should combine all kinds of materials, following this scheme: note+audio+video. For example, if you're a law student, you should read the Code (or other act) +listen to interpretation of law by judge/advocate + watch the video from the Court emphasizing and matching articles from the Code to real Court's action. Anton B. Russia

Try choosing your favorite tune and studying your notes to that tune. I have found it work's 100% of the time.  Jessica

I read over the page carefully, then I write a summary in my own words for the first paragraph while looking at the page. Then I cover the first line of the summary, re-write it from memory then do this for all the lines in the summary. I then read over both summaries twice.

After this I make sure on separate days that I review the summaries. I will read the summary then look away from the first line, either out loud or in my head I repeat the first line. Then I move on to the next line etc. I will do this for each summary on 5 separate occasions. Usually after 5 separate times I will remember the notes off by heart.  Renee
For studying I use a technique called '2R & 2Rx40'. The first two Rs are reading the page thoroughly and recording - writing a summary in your own words. The next two Rs are reciting each summary without looking and review - you read over your summaries at the end of the study session. The x40 stands for 40 times. I repeat the last two Rs, recite without looking and review, 40 times for each summary. The 40 times are on separate occasions and I record the number of times at the top of the page of notes. It seems like a lot of work but it really isn't. It ensures that I remember everything. It's really effective, simple and has made my studying so much easier! Louise

          If you have a study TIP that is substantially different from  those above,  please describe it in an Email


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