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A student of the University of British Columbia studies for his final exams using the PQRST method.

Study skills or study strategies are systematic ways to improve learning. They are needed for success in school, especially for college and beyond. Study skills include numerous techniques and skills that help in acquiring and retaining information. Some are assessment tools that help a student see where they need help most.

Learning strategies

  • Time management is an essential skill. Teachers have found a connection between students who can manage their time well, and their GPA (grade point average). The better they manage time, the higher their GPA. Britton and Tesser (1991) found that measuring the time management skills of freshmen was a better indicator of higher GPAs than their SAT scores as seniors. Most students find that by analyzing their use of time, much of it is wasted.
  • mnemonics are especially useful to remember lists or sequences of information. The name Roy G. Biv is an example of a mnemonic. It is an acronym for the colors of the rainbow in proper sequence: Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo and Violet. They also include rhymes, phrases, poems and associating pictures with information. Mnemonics should be used sparingly as they have some limitations.
  • The SQ3R Method. This is an acronym for survey question, read, recite and review. Students learn to survey the reading materials, not by reading every word, but by getting an overall sense of what it is about. The next step is to form questions. Look at the end of chapters or books to see if there are questions. Read the materials to answer the questions. Next, recite what you have learned out loud. Reciting helps the learning process much better than reading alone. Review the information a few hours or even days later. This keeps it fresh in your mind.
  • Skimming and Scanning. Skim reading is a technique to gain the most from reading something in the least amount of time. It is looking at chapter headings, bullet lists of key points in sidebars and key words in sentences.The first sentence of a chapter often is a abstract of the chapter. Scanning involves moving your finger down the page as you read. The object is to try to absorb at least 50% of the text. It is then compared to what was skimmed.
  • Study Groups. Colleges and universities encourage students to form study groups. A study group can divide tasks and each member concentrate on one segment. Students who teach or share what they know with others learn more. A study group uses active learning, a very effective way to learn.
  • Taking effective notes. Note taking skills learned in high school are rarely adequate for college. In college, good note taking involves critical thinking. Professors often lecture at a fast pace. Do not try to write down everything, try to establish what are key points. It is important to develop good listening skills. Key skills to good note taking are:
  • Pre-reading the materials. This helps in understanding lectures.
  • Review your previous class notes.
  • Have everything you need at hand. Make sure you have pens, pencils, notebooks, and textbooks.
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