Six Tips for Improving Study Habits

By improving study habits you can help to enhance your child’s learning process and improve their grades. Do you hate to see your child struggling in school? Does your child spend hours studying for a test but still scores poorly? It may just be that your child is not studying the right way.

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As a parent and a teacher I am constantly searching for ways to improve study skills and enhance learning. Every student has their own learning style and therefore takes in information in some ways better than others. I have compiled a list, however, of general study strategies that can benefit all students by improving study habits and increasing success in school. This list comes from my own experiences and those of other parents and teachers.

1. Take Notes (even if you already have)

The act of reading through information, determining what is important, and then writing it down is a way to actively use the material. This is the key to studying- using the information instead of just passively reading it over and over.

2. Make Flash Cards

Although this may not seem appropriate for older students, it actually works for all levels. Pick out the key vocabulary terms, symbols, or dates from your notes. Write them on one side of an index card and write the definition, answer, event, etc. on the opposite side. Flip through the cards and test yourself. You should do this for both sides of the cards.

3. Redo Problems or Questions

Studying should involve more than just looking over notes. You should also use any in-class problems/questions, homework assignments, and/or quizzes. Cover up the answers to these past problems/questions and try them again (or have someone re-write them for you on a new piece of paper). The actual act of doing the assignment again will let you know if you understand it. Just reading along or following the answer passively does not let you know if you can do it on your own.

4. Make Meaningful Connections

It is easier to remember and understand information if you can make connections between all the different pieces. A teacher presents certain topics, terms, events, etc. in the same unit of study because they are all related to each other. Understanding these connections will allow you to see the big picture and remember all of the individual pieces.

One way to do this is by creating a concept map. A concept map takes the major terms/ideas of the unit and connects them with lines and a description describing the relationship. Connecting important terms together creates a web of understanding.

5. Find a Buddy

Many students find it helpful to study with someone else. You haven’t truly mastered something until you can teach it to someone else. Studying with a buddy allows you to learn the information by explaining it. In addition, you can benefit by having a fellow student explain something in a different way that you may not have considered. This also makes studying a social experience instead of a lonely, isolated task.

6. Study in Small Doses

The worst thing to do is to wait until the night before a test to cram everything in. This will be overwhelming and make the studying seem impossible. Improving study habits requires studying a little bit every day. Each day after learning something new you should rewrite notes, make flash cards, redo problems, and start a concept map. This keeps the information fresh on your mind and allows you to break up your time. Instead of spending a few hours the night before, you can spend about 20 minutes each night.

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