Developing Successful Study Skills

  • It is important that you develop an effective method of learning and reviewing information so that you truly understand it.

    • Create an appropriate study environment by allowing for full concentration. You may want to choose an area where you have room for an organized and open studying surface. In order to focus, you should also choose a quiet study area with appropriate lighting and minimal noise.
    • Develop a calm attitude by being patient with yourself, rather than beating yourself up. You will see that the less frustration you encounter, the more calm you will feel, and the more successful you will be.
    • Take good notes during class. Pay attention to lectures and write your notes neatly so you can go back to them later. Try to summarize concepts by picking out the most important information, such as main ideas and necessary details. Draw pictures or charts when necessary and when the teacher provides them on the board.
    • Memorize. Create lists and re-read them; also, cover certain information and force yourself to remember it by saying it aloud before uncovering it again to check if you are correct or not. Try using flash cards in a similar fashion by putting matching information on each side; for example, put the main subject on the front and details or definitions about it on the back. Then, try recalling the information from the other side of the card while only looking at one side. Acronyms are also helpful tools when trying to memorize. They are words containing the letters that stand for specific information, which makes it easier to remember; for example, HOMES is an acronym for the Great Lakes (Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, Superior).
    • Focus more on the areas that need the most attention. You may enjoy studying for some subjects more than others, but you may need more time and effort on the ones you enjoy less. Be sure to assess what your strengths and weaknesses are and then use your time accordingly.

    Try studying in a pair or a small group. Be careful not to create more distractions for yourself, but know that studying with others can give you more resources and knowledge as long as everyone involved is participating and focusing on studying. Groups can quiz each other and fill in learning gaps by discussing relevant information.