Studying Techniques

Studying techniques are meant to be specific ways of studying that can help you learn and retain information better. Chances are likely that you already have some studying techniques, even if they aren’t great ones. Favorites among high school and college students include highlighting material, reading lecture notes over and over again, and, of course, cramming for tests in the hours or days just before a major exam. These studying techniques, though, may not be the most effective options ever.

Research is showing that more and more high school graduates are unprepared for college. This isn’t because these students aren’t smart and willing to learn. Instead, it’s because they just don’t have the basic studying techniques down that they’ll need to learn for college-level material. What happens when students don’t know and use proper studying techniques? They find that the overwhelming amount of information in college courses is too much, and many of them perform poorly or just drop out altogether.

If you want to avoid being part of this crowd, it’s best to start learning studying techniques as soon as possible. Here are some of the things you need to know about studying techniques:

There is no “right” way to study

Although there are plenty of studying techniques classes for high school and college students that try to say their methods are the only acceptable way to study, this is simply untrue. There is really no correct or right way to study certain material!

The way you need to study depends on you, your learning style, and the type of class you’re taking. For instance, one person might study best by reading material and flashcards, while another person might prefer to listen to a lecture multiple times to get the most out of the material. Every person can benefit from using crossover studying techniques that engage different parts of the brain to make studying more effective, but most people will have a preference for one type of studying over another.

Also, you won’t study for an English exam in the same way you’ll study for a science exam. To learn science concepts, you might try lots of diagramming, making pictures, and, if possible, hands-on learning through experiments that demonstrate the concepts you’re dealing with in class. When studying for an English exam, on the other hand, you might try to make concept maps that show connections between different themes or characters in a work, or you might be required to commit certain passages to rote memorization. Clearly, you’re not going to use the same studying techniques for both types of classes!

Learn what works best for you

The only way to learn which studying techniques work best for you is to try out different techniques. It’s a great idea to listen to professors and teachers talk about studying techniques that might be helpful. However, it’s up to you to try them out.

Some studying techniques, such as studying gradually rather than cramming for a test, really are the best practices for everyone. Others, like taking certain types of notes, outlining material, writing practice answers to test questions, or even highlighting material are take-it-or-leave-it, depending on what works for you.

So, pick a class that you’re already fairly good at, and practice different studying techniques in that particular class, dealing with that class material. See what seems to help information stick best, and what just leaves you feeling bored or repetitive. As long as you’re getting the most possible information from the material and are learning it by memory, you can use whatever study methods happen to work best for you.