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Reading & Study Strategies

Study Smarter Not Longer

Are the strategies you use effective or ineffective?


Ineffective Learning Strategies - lead to an illusion of mastery 8  REALLY EFFECTIVE LEARNING STRATEGIES
  • Cramming (massed practice);
  • Having one study strategy that you use all the time;
  • Repeating phrases over and over to memorize them;
  • Rereading book & notes;
  • Highlighting or underlining.
  1. Ask and answer different types of questions about the material you are learning. Questions help you to elaborate (add details) about concepts you are studying and related concepts. Types of questions you can ask:
    • Factual questions - Who? What? Where? When?
    • Analytical questions - Why? To what extent? What's the significance? How does that compare? How does this information fit together?
    • Application questions - Now what? What might happen in a new situation? What if?
  2. Use spaced practice - spread out your study sessions during the week - focus on a topic for a short period on different days. Spaced out study sessions help your brain process and consolidate the material you are learning.
  3. Mix up problems (interleaving)  - work on problems that are related but are not all the same kind.
  4. Make information personal - relate concepts to what you already know and your personal experience. 
  5. Combine multiple learning modes like words and visuals - represent visuals with words and represent words with visuals. Practice recalling information.
  6. Practice the same way you will be tested
    • Essays - practice outlining different potential essay questions
    • Demonstration - practice going through the steps
    • Short answer - practice writing short answers
    • Solve problems - practice working problem sets out on paper.
  7. Self evaluate - if you do not understand something, you can ask your instructor, tutor, or classmate. If you are not retaining information change the learning mode (visual, auditory, kinesthetic) and study the material differently.
  8. Reflect  - Ultimately learning is your responsibility - reflecting on what you could have done differently, helps you improve your learning experiences and outcomes.  


Additional Resources:

Study Strategies for Long term Retention

10 Study Strategies That Work

Study Smarter Not Harder

5 Steps of the Study Cycle