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study skills A teachers secret guide to your best grades
Master the 7 pillars of school success

Improve your grades and lower your stress
A-Z Video List
studying cat good study habits
Study Tip # 1. Organize with color    This can include many different items. You can set up your notebook based on different colors. Science could be red,Math blue,and Art another color. You can also set up folders by colors, and also put some color in your notes and notecards. Your brain likes colors and can be really helpful when organizing.
Study Tip #2 Reward yourself with study breaks, but move during these breaks.  Your brain needs the oxygen,and it helps to wake you up. The movement can be walking, crunches, juggling, push ups, yoga, stretching, it doesn't matter, just move. I personally just like to walk about.
Study Tip #3 Do the work,but work smart    At some point you have to put in some work. If you want to run a good marathon you have to run the miles. If you want to be a guitar God, you have to practice. If you want to become good at anything, at some point you have to work at it. The same goes with learning new material.
Study Tip #4 Use a planner and check it daily    When life get's more complicated, and you have several classes at a time, it helps to keep up with everything. This is when a planner can be your best friend. Some people love a paper planner, others prefer an electronic version. It really doesn't matter as long as you check it often. The world's most organized planner is of no use if you don't check it . 
Studt Habit tip 1 | colorful folders/organize with colors
colorful markers #good study habits
reward yourself with study breaks  people running
Good study habit tip 2  move during study breaks girl doing pushups
Study Tip #5 Avoid weapons of mass distraction     We all have our own items that distract us and send us off into another directions instead of learning material. These distractions can include our phone, having many tabs open if using a computer, music, television, and frequent interruptions by other people. You will get more done in a shorter amount of time if you avoid these distractions.
tired runner after working hard Do the work for good grades
use a planner #good study habits
check mark
Study Tip # 6 Draw pictures or diagrams in order to help you memorize information  Your brain likes to make connections and have hooks to hang the material on. These pictures and diagrams help accomplish this, and can be fun to create. Be sure to use different colors, and include pictures in order to help your brain learn the material.
good study habit mind maps memorize information by drawing a mind map #good study habits
#good study habits mind map
cartoon of distracted man
Good study habit 5 three young adults playing on phones avoid distractions while you study
cartoon of dog running #good study habits
Study Tip # 7 Just say no to multitasking       In a perfect world we could memorize a difficult list, solve math problems,check instagram, and talk on our phone, all at the same time, but research has found that multitasking actually increases mistakes and extends the time it takes to complete a task.
lady multitasking in a car good study habit/avoid multitasking
Good Study Habit # 8 Use a timer    A timer is a simple tool that helps you stay focused. You can set the timer for a set amount of study time and stay focused until it goes off. It can also be used to time your study breaks which can become longer than your study time if you’re not careful.
Good study habit 8 hand setting a timer when studying
Study Tip # 9 Get adequate sleep   Research has found humans live longer, have less disease, age slower, and generally function better on 7 to 8 hours of sleep. 
good study habit cartoon lady sleeping on desk study tip 9 get sleep
Study Tip #10   Repeat what you studied to another person  This is helpful in a couple of ways. First, it gives you a good an idea whether or not  you know the material, and it is a method of repetition that your brain uses to help you memorize material.
good study habit 10 people sitting in a circle study tip 10 repeat what you studied to others

45 Research based Study Skills

Good Study Habit # 11 80% of success is showing up. Make studying and learning new material a habit and a goal.

Study Tip # 12 Organize your notebooks every two weeks. If you have a set date when this will take place you will increase the odds of this happening. For instance, you could tell yourself you will clean and organize on the 1st and 15th of every month.
6 notebooks study tip 11 organize notebooks every two weeks
Study Tip #13   Convert your notes into flashcards  Highlight the most important areas of your notes and then write these highlighted areas on flashcards for quick review. 
Study tip 13 convert your notes into flashcards
Study Tip #14   Create a sentence or story If you need to memorize random facts, or items that seem unrelated try making a sentence or story of the facts
study tip 14 create a sentence or story
Study Tip #15   When memorizing lists, countries, or numbers, chunk the materials into smaller groups. The groups should contain three or four items. For instance, we memorize phone numbers by breaking a long number into chunks. 

good study habit 15 create a sentence or story for lists study tips

Enjoy this list of research-based Study Tips

Good Study Habit #16 Quiz Yourself   After you have studied your material for a period of time, create a quiz, take it, and see how you are doing. Creating a quiz is simple, quick, but very effective in learning new material.
good study habits/create a quiz two girls taking a quiz
Good Study Habit # 17    Set goals   Why set goals? Simple, goals work. Your brain likes to know where it is going, and goals help accomplish this. They can be weekly goals, daily goals, school goals, study goals. Just be sure to set goals that work for you.
good study habits /set goals
Good Study Habit # 18 Memorize by visualizing  When memorizing facts, places, names, or notes associate what you are memorizing, with a visual picture. For instance, if you had to memorize thirty names of people in a class you can try the following. As the person states their name, you associate the first letter with an animal, and then visualize the person as this animal. Hello I’m Sarah, who becomes Sarah the snake, and you remember her thin arms that look like snakes. Sounds strange, but it works. I memorize my students names this way every year.
good study habits/memorize by visualizing teacher and kids in classroom
Study Tip # 19 Listen in class and participate in class discussions  This sounds simple enough, and you may be thinking "duh," but listening in class is a skill that many students lack, and what top students accomplish on a daily basis.
good study habits/listen in class/student listening
Study Tip # 20 Use Mnemonics to help memorize facts. 
For example ROYGBIV helps you remember the colors (Red,Orange,Yellow,Green Blue,Indigo,Violet) or SOHCAHTOA helps you remember tangent. Think of a mnemonic as a hook that your brain uses to hang on to information.
good study habits use mnemonics person hanging
Study Tip # 21 Record your notes on your phone and listen to them. If you want to go for a walk, or just move around, quickly record your notes on your phone, put in your earbuds, and start moving and learning. With a little research you can find many of the topics you are studying already have recordings that you can download. There are podcasts on almost any subject and every podcast is free.
good study habits/study tips/record your notes/girl listening to recordings
Study Tip # 22 Stay hydrated A hydrated brain is a happy brain and is more focused than a dehydrated brain.
good study habits stay hydrated bottle of water
Study Tip # 23 One Key is the number three If your teacher repeats something three or more times in class, there is a very high likelihood it will be on the test. Make note of this by writing down these key statements. 
good study habits three keys
Study Tip # 24 Actively listen to your teacher  When you actively listen to your teacher you reflect on what is being spoken, you are able to create questions, and you can paraphrase what was spoken to others. In other words active listeners question, reflect, and paraphrase.
good study habits actively listen/ dog with big ears
Study Tip # 25 Be Bold with the Bold  The words written in bold text are important and learning these words will help you succeed in the class. These words can be highlighted, converted into flashcards, written in your notes, or any other technique that helps you remember these important words.
good study habits/ high lighter
Study Tip # 26 Turn in every assignment  In your daily planner have a section that you read every day that reminds you to turn in your assignments, or take a second and set reminders on your phone, or even use the old method of writing a reminder on your hand. 
Study Tip # 27 Plan to avoid the cram Set a goal of never waiting to the last second and cram for a test You can accomplish this by looking at your syllabus, writing in your calendar, and checking your calendar often. Research has found test scores are higher when you study for a shorter amount of time but over several days compared to trying to learn all the material in one sitting.
good study habits/turn in every assignment/planner
good study habits/avoid cramming person cramming
Study Tip # 28 Repeat out loud material you need to learn Repeating text out loud uses multiple parts of your brain, which in turn helps to increase neural pathways, which increases your chances of recalling the information.
Repeat outloud material you are learning/skull
Study Tip # 29 Check out Studious If you love your iphone and need help remembering assessments and test dates try Studious
This app will help keep you organized, remind you of important events, and even silence your phone in class.
Study Tip # 30 Vary the type or method of material studied  Research has found that recall of new material improves when you vary what or how you study. For instance during a study session you might work on vocabulary, then read about the subject, and then maybe repeat to yourself a summary of what you just read. Variety is the key. Play around with this, and see what works best for you.
Study Tip # 35 Create a graphic organizer A graphic organizer helps you organize the material and therefore the new information doesn't seem as random, which increases your chance of remembering this information.

Study Tip #36 Focus, hook, recall In order to memorize new material get in the habit of practicing these three steps.
1. Eliminate factors that dilute your focus. The enemies of focus are distractions, and dividing your attention.
2. In order to hook your information use some method that allows your brain to create a hook to hang the information upon. Some methods are mnemonic, pictures, visualizing, songs, creating sentences, graphic organizers or any other technique you use to help your brain organize new material.
3. Finally, practice recall by testing yourself with active recall. This can include creating mini quizzes, telling someone else the new information, or answering questions about the new material. 

Study Tip #37 Break your studying into timed blocks. Set a countdown timer for 15 to 40 minutes and work on your study task. When the timer goes off get up and do something completely different for five to ten minutes. 
Study Tip # 38 Try reading your notes out loud as you review them. The process of reading new material out loud helps your brain store the information more efficiently.

Study Tip # 39 Create stories As you create a story your brain uses this elaboration as a way organizing the material, which increases the odds of remembering the information. For example, say I need to memorize 7353419. First I will chunk the information into 735 and 3419. Next I will imagine a jet with 735 written in large numbers and 3419 as the address of a package being loaded on the plane. Sounds bizarre or silly, but with time and practice this technique works.

Study Tip # 40 Relate to your life As you learn new material try to relate this new material in any way to your own life and personal experiences which will increases your odds of recalling the information later. Think of new information as a single apple in a large orchard. In order to remember new material your brain has to find this information, much like you finding a certain apple in a huge orchard. The more paths or signals pointing to the apple the easier it is to find. If you can relate new information to your life it provides your brain additional pathways to this information.
Study Tip # 41 Create a song Pick a song you like and create lyrics of the new information you are learning. Creating a song helps move information into long term memory. I can still sing the lyrics from songs I learned in high school but can’t even remember teacher’s names I had.
Study Tip # 42 Combine visual and verbal cues The combination of visual and verbal cues is like super charging your brain and gives your brain several different paths to retrieve information later. For example, say you are learning the steps of mitosis. You could draw a picture of each step and then have a label underneath each drawing with a short description. 

Study Tip # 32 Think of your brain as a muscle. Like pumping iron you need to stimulate your brain. Here are two easy methods, ditch the calculator on some calculations, and use an old fashion map occasionally for directions. Bottom line, challenge your brain to solve problems daily.exercise. Research has found that exercise is healthy for your brain and this in turn gives you an edge when studying.

Study Tip # 33 Develop perseverance At some point to accomplish anything worthwhile you must develop the skill of perseverance, or the ability to keep going even when you feel like quitting. An easy way to start is by picking one item each day that you tell yourself you will not go to bed until this task is completed. Start with an easy task and as you develop this skill you can increase the difficulty
Study Tip # 43 Learn or practice playing a musical instrument 
You may be thinking “How is this a study tip?” Think of your brain as a muscle. A stronger muscle can run faster, lift heavier weights than a weak muscle. Learning to play a musical instrument is like working out your brain, and can be really fun. This gives you an edge in learning new material and problem solving.
Study Tip # 34 Put in the time I will begin this study tip with a quote “Hurt me with the truth, don’t comfort me with a lie” The bottom line is this, in order to learn new material you have to spend time learning this new material. It takes time to train your brain to learn something new. Develop the attitude that in order to have good grades I’m going to have to put in time studying, organizing, and preparing for my classes. Would anyone show up to a marathon without running before the race, and expect to do well?
Study Tip # 31 Train your memory The more you memorize, the more efficient your brain becomes at memorizing new objects. During breaks from school you can try to memorize different items. Pick items that are of interest to you. I like running and stocks so I could memorize stock symbols and mile splits.

picture of brain/ train your brain/ good study habits
Think of your brain as a muscle and train it/picture of man in starting blocks/good study habits
good study habit/develop perseverence/picture of cyclist
put in the time/good study habits/picture of stop watch
lady reading/read your notes outloud
graphic organizer/good study habits/create a graphic organizer
airplane on ground/create stories
pink clock/break studying into timed blocks
baby being held/relate to your own life the facts the facts you learn
focus hook recall/good study habits/one finger
focus hook recall /two girls carrying surf boards
focus hook recall/three giraffe
musical notes/ create a song
use verbal cues to help remember.boy yelling
allligator eye/use visual cues to help remember
wooden guitar/learning a musical instrument gives you an edge in school

Good Study Habit/Train your Memory

Study Tip #44. Become a private eye    After your first test carefully investigate the test to figure out your teacher’s style and how they design their tests. If you break the code it can be a huge advantage
good study habits/private eye
Study Tip #45. Use Blue Research say’s you remember best when it is written in blue ink
Study Tip #46. Link ideas  

If you have to remember a list you can link the ideas together by creating a story in which one event connects to another event in order to help you remember the list. Let’s say you have this short list:
Keys, watch, wallet, passport, bug spray

A red car is your anchor of the story. 
You go to your red car and insert your keys in the door, immediately a clown asks for your wallet and you notice the clown has a huge watch on their wrist, and a passport in their shirt pocket, you think fast and spray the clown with bug spray. 
If you have objects like states or countries you can take the name and try to associate it with a real object then create a story.

For example, Georgia, Maine, Tennessee, Utah, and Michigan
Georgia = George Washington
Maine = man
Tennessee= Ten (like ten monkeys)
Utah = unicycle
Michigan = Mimi (my grandmothers name)
Next you create a story like you did before, with an anchor and each event connecting to one another.
Anchor = swimming pool
While sitting at the pool, you see George Washington in a bathing suit talking to man with ten heads riding a unicycle, and Mimi is serving them cupcakes.

​Study Tip #47. Peg Memory System

The peg system is helpful because just like you use a peg to hang items you use peg words to hang ideas on, which in turn reminds you of what you need to remember.
Here is a common version of the peg words.
1 One-Sun             6.Six-Sticks
2 Two-Shoe          7.Seven-Heaven 
3. Three-Tree       8. Eight-Gate
4. four-door          9.Nine-Wine
5. Five-Hive         10.Ten-Hen

Next, you associate the items you need to memorize with each peg word.
This link gives a great explanation and an example. This system has been used for years and works.

Peg Memory System Explained

Study Tip #48. Change Rooms while studying
Research has found that you if you study different subjects in different rooms your recall increases for each subject compared to studying everything in the same room.

Study Tip #49. Take a journey and memorize a list 

Use a familiar route to help you memorize a list. First identify a familiar route. This may be your drive to work, from your bedroom to the kitchen, or a walk around your block. As you journey in your mind around the block you identify key landmarks. Next, you associate each item on your list with a familiar item. For instance, if you are memorizing states Alaska could be a bear, and Alabama a banjo. Finally, you match your landmarks and associated items together. Here is a case study using this method to memorize the fifty states.

How I used the Journey Method to Memorize all of the Presidents
#good study tips/blue pen
#study habits/chain/link ideas
peg memory system/peg for hanging items
Study Tip #50. Be willing to do what others are not willing to do  
Most students will not study on Friday or Saturday afternoon. Develop a mindset that you are willing to do whatever it takes to improve my grades. Maybe start by making it a game and see how many Friday afternoons in a row you can study. If you don’t like Friday afternoon challenge yourself to study thirty minutes to an hour each morning before school. 
Study Tip #51. Create an encouraging ,fun ,but serious study group that meets at a set time. I have used this technique for over twenty years with my running. I have a group that meets Saturday mornings to run. There are many Saturday’s that I would not get out of bed if I didn’t know I was meeting other people. Once I get up, meet my running group and start running, I’m always happy I got out of bed.
Study Tip #52. Organize, Organize, Organize  Anyone can be organized, but it takes some effort. The reason why many people are disorganized is because they don’t put any energy into becoming and staying organized. Also, think of organizing as a skill you must learn and master. The more energy and time you put into organizing the better you will get at it.

  • You can start by writing in your agenda daily
  • Create a daily to do list
  • Organize your papers and notebook weekly

Study Tip #53. Condense your notes or a reading passage down to bullet points or a list.

I have used this technique many times. If I had pages and pages of notes or a reading passage that I needed to learn I would convert the notes or passage into bullet points. I tried to keep the bullet points short and to the point. As a result I would have a nice, condensed version of many pages of notes that I could quickly review many times. 

red car on road/journey method memorization
create a study group/three males with computer
organize/three notepads,black,white,yellow
change rooms while studying/black white house/ #study tips
sky diver/be willing to do what others not willing to do/#good study habits
condense notes/building in vise being squeezed
Additional Study Tip Resources