Study Skills / learning strategies

Tips To Improve Study Skills

Learning strategies or study skills determine the approach for achieving the learning objectives. The strategies are usually tied to students needs and interests to enhance learning and are based on many types of learning styles. However, not all of our students develop strategies to deal with their studies spontaneously. Sometimes teachers need to make students learn how to learn. Here are some strategies that can help your students be successful in their studies.

Study Skills / learning strategies

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Set small, achievable goals

Encourage students to start with small steps to reach higher targets. For example, for an English class student, these well-defined objectives are pretty achievable:

  1. try to learn 10 new English words or phrases every day.
  2. Set a 30 minutes study session every day.
  3. Learn the lyrics of an English song every week and try to understand its main content.
  4. Read and try to understand one short English text every week

Setting small targets is much better than setting a huge goal that students cannot achieve. Remember that “small drops of water make the mighty ocean”

Plan studies

It is important for students to know that planning their studies gives meaning to their work. If they know all the steps necessary to achieve a goal and these steps are written down on a piece of paper, it will be easier for them then to see the whole picture.

Be motivated

The secret to success is that your students should be motivated to learn. Students should try to avoid boredom by having fun in what they do and try to find a positive aspect to studying. For an English learner, he may find these activities fun and hence be motivated to study English.

  1. watch your favourite film in English
  2. Listen to your favourite English songs and learn the lyrics.
  3. Read about your favorite stars in English websites…

Remember, we learn better and fast things we really want to learn.

Manage time

In order to manage their time successfully, having an awareness of what their goals are will assist your students  in prioritizing their learning. Time management provides students with the opportunity to create a schedule that works for them, not for others. This personal attention gives your students the flexibility to include the things that are most important to them.

Set a reward

Encourage students to set a reward for themself that they can look forward. For example, when they reach a goal, they should give themselves a reward:

  1. Watch a movie.
  2. A delicious snack.
  3. Meeting their friends.
  4. Going to the café.

Create an appropriate study environment.

In order to have an encouraging and fruitful experience when studying, students must be in an environment that allows for full concentration. A focused study environment requires quiet and no distractions.

Develop a calm attitude.

Studying also requires the correct attitude. Students should be calm and patient with themselves as they review the material. Complaining will do no good. Students should try to open their minds as much as possible by putting other things aside and dispelling frustration.

Take good notes (and pay attention in class).

Class time is when much of learning (or the guiding) takes place. Students should pay attention during class. Paying attention in class familiarizes students with the material. Encourage students to take notes for further studies. Some good note-taking strategies are:

  1. .Using abbreviations or symbols for commonly used words (e.g. lge for language, b/w for between… etc).
  2. Singling out the most important information for the record (main ideas, necessary details).
  3. Using clear headers to organize information.
  4. Drawing pictures or diagrams rather than expressing “visual concepts” in words.

Develop effective memorization techniques.

Students memorization is often called into use.The following is a list of some common techniques of memorization:

  1. Drawing: Things are easily memorized if the are visualized. Encourage students to draw things for easy later recall
  2. List: When memorizing dates, formulae, etc., some find useful the most bare method of all, the list.
  3. Flash cards: Flash cards are a valuable resource as well. They work much like a list, but instead of putting the corresponding information in columns, students can use index cards (or paper, etc.) and put matching information on either side. They could then look at one side of the card and try to recall the information on the other side. This method is very similar to the list, but easier to quiz oneself with. It does, however, require more preparation (in creating the cards).
  4. Acronyms/acrostic: Acronyms are valuable in memorizing information as well.  An acronym is an abbreviation consisting of the first letters of each word in the name of something, pronounced as a word.  By remembering  the acronym, it becomes easier to remember the related words. An acrostic is similar to an acronym, but instead of creating a word one can create a sentence in which the first letters of all the words correspond with the first letters of the objects of memorization. For example, in the sentence “Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally” the first letters correspond to “parenthesis, exponents, multiplication, division, addition, subtraction,” which is the order of operations in solving mathematic equations.

Focus on the areas that need the most attention.

Many students feel that any time studying counts as real studying, but studying is less effective if you do not target the areas that need study.Students should assess their strengths and weaknesses and distribute their time accordingly.

Work with others.

While distractions are bad in a study environment, studying in a group or pair can be very useful, as long as everyone involved is focused on studying. Study groups allow the student to use other students as a resource.It is is especially useful when the teacher with the necessary information is not available.

Develop crucial essay writing skills through practice.

A commonly overlooked aspect of study is the student’s ability to discuss a topic in depth, or to organize his thoughts in an essay

Developing study skills in  school is a wise mode of preparation for later studies and for the real world. As students move on through life, the study skills they’ve developed in school will be useful to them in every aspect of their lives, teaching them patience, organization, well-prepared planning and goal setting.

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