Study Skills

Study skills impact all subject areas at every grade level. Students who fail to achieve their academic potential, especially when exhibiting effort, may need to consider their basic study skills. It is easy to assume that students should have mastered this by the time they reach high school, however it is often not the case. High school is the perfect time to learn to master essential study skills and habits.

Establish Study Skills & Good Habits
- Start by assessing current skills/habits. It is important to recognized strengths but also identify weaknesses then devise a plan to overcome them. With a little commitment and perseverance, students can become lifelong learners!

1. Develop Executive Functioning Skills

  • Manage time efficiently - prioritize & control procrastination. Be realistic.
  • Use that planner - homework completion is essential.
  • Get organized - helps to reduce the amount of lost items and be more prepared for class.
  • Be open-minded - explore different ways of learning and memorizing information.
  • Create lists - helps to organize and focus on the tasks at hand.
  • Establish a routine - follow a personalized set system that help with production.

2. Ascertain Learning Styles and cater to it (a Learning Styles Inventory can be found in Schoolinks under Activities tab)

  • Do you devote a specific area to your studying? Are there minimal distractions?
  • Do you prefer working alone or with others?
  • At what time of day to you learn best?
  • Do you actively engage in lessons? Do you actively listen, read, and take notes? Do you ask questions?
  • Is it easier to learn via lectures or through hands-on application?
  • Are you comfortable learning by watching videos or utilizing other electronic educational venues?
  • Do you study in increments and take short breaks or do you try to study for long periods of time?

3. Formulate a Note-Taking System

  • Sit toward the front and center of the class where there are less distractions, where the teacher can be clearly heard and notes seen.
  • First, write down the date and any titles/subtitles.
  • Record any terminology and the teacher's definition. Look up the formal definition in the reading to reinforce the word. Compare and contrast the definitions to check for understanding.
  • If the teacher repeats a concept, or says things like "This is REALLY important," then be sure to jot it down with as much detail as possible.
  • If a concept is still not clear, ask the teacher to repeat it or go to them after class and ask for clarification.
  • Use colored pens/pencils to differentiate concepts.
  • Use "shorthand" to abbreviate words in order to keep up with the lecture.
  • Copy all images used in the lecture or draw a diagram that helps organize the information in your mind.
  • Be sure to jot down examples that support the main concept being taught.
  • Even when the material seems simple and easy to remember during class, write it down. It may not seems so clear a couple weeks later.
  • If the teacher summarizes the material at the end of the lecture, be sure to record as much information as possible. These are the key concepts that should be focused on.
  • Compare notes with a classmate.
  • Types of Note-taking: Cornell Method, T-Method (2 column), Mind-Mapping (web-diagram), Outlining — Click here for examples

4. Create a System for Reading & Summarizing Information in Textbooks

  • Use the SQ3R and the PQRST Methods—are both active reading strategies that is helpful with retention.
  • Chunk the reading into 10-page increments instead of reading everything at once and getting overwhelmed by the vast amount of information.
  • For more information, visit Cornell College.

5. Refine Researching Skills

  • Are you aware of all the sources of information?
  • Do you take the time to plan the search for information?
  • After finding the information, can you evaluate its validity and applicability?
  • Can you properly reference the sources of your information?