Over the years, researchers have attempted to classify study techniques and identify the ones that are most optimal for learners. Unfortunately, it’s been hard for researchers to pinpoint which specific strategies are the best. This makes sense when we think about how different we all are as learners. Nevertheless, study behaviors are linked to academic performance.
Study behaviors enable us to acquire, organize, remember and use information. These behaviors include selecting how and where to study, taking good notes, time management, and self-testing. Researchers have divided study behaviors into four main categories:
✦ cognitive-based (e.g., studying with a friend),
✦ metacognitive (e.g., taking quizzes to test self-knowledge),
✦ repetition-based (e.g., flashcards) and
✦ procedural (e.g., time management).
Here are some suggestions, based on empirical research that can help you improve your study behaviors.
Let’s be honest. Self-care needs to come first. You’re not helping yourself if you’re not moving, eating or sleeping properly. Ask yourself whether you get enough sleep, how much sleep you get the night before a test, and if you are getting enough exercise and eating properly.
Sleep greatly affects memory formation.
Ask yourself the following questions and think about what areas you can improve upon.
Remember repetition influences memory formation and recall.
Ask yourself the following:
Also, consider the quality of your notes and consider improvements (e.g., leave more space, use topic headings, and write down examples used by your instructor).
There is a difference between going over material to the point where you “recognize” the material as familiar and deeply understanding it. Students often think they know material if the material is right in front of them. Can you apply the concepts you have learned? Can you answer questions if a friend asked you about the concepts?
Research relating to educational achievement and study techniques show that the following strategies are effective:
Things to Avoid
No specific strategy will work all of the time, for all students, in all classes. Different exams call for different strategies. Your study skills will not improve overnight. Be patient with yourself and keep working on them.