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Study Skills and Strategies


It’s very easy to say “I’ll go study for my test”, but how often do you then sit down with no idea how to start?  Studying is a very individual activity; what works best for one person or subject may not work for another.  You need to find the strategy that works best for you.  Here are some that you can try.

1.  Flashcards – Flashcards work best to help you learn key terms (definitions, events, people, etc.)  Whenever you use flashcards you should:

  • Keep it simple.   You should never be filling up the entire card with information.  The front should have a vocab word, date, or name of a key person, and the back should be no more that two phrases about it.
  • As you practice, keep shuffling them.  You don’t want to just memorize the cards in order because you might get confused on a test when they are not in the same order you studied.  Keep shuffling your cards to ensure you really know each term.
  • Know your cards backwards and forwards.  When you study, don’t just look at your vocab words and try to remember the definitions.  Sometimes, look at the definitions and try to remember the word.  This will make sure that you truly remember each term.
  • Make them as soon as you can.  Don’t make your flashcards the night before your test.  Your brain only has so much capacity to absorb information at once.  You should be making them throughout your unit.


2.  Timelines – Timelines are useful when studying history.  For visual learners, they can really help put events in perspective and help you understand the chronology.

  • Again, just keep it simple.  If you’re only trying to visualize a few key phrases for each event, you’ll have a better chance of remembering them.


3.  Outlines – Outlines are very useful when studying more in-depth concepts and             information.  They are especially helpful in studying history and science.

  • Outlines organize your information from the entire unit starting at the beginning; they show connections between ideas.
  • Visually, outlines organize information by keyword, topic, and importance.
  • Words that are the farthest to the left are the key concepts/main ideas, while the information each step below and to the right are the specifics.


4.  Talking it out – Reviewing your information aloud can be very helpful for some       learners.  Hearing information can help you retain it.  Whether you are talking with another person or by yourself doesn’t matter.  Don’t be afraid of sounding crazy.


5.  Make up rhymes/tricks/silly stories

  • Oftentimes, the sillier the rhyme, the more likely you are to remember it.  If a ridiculous rhyme works for you, it’s good.




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