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How Can I Develop an Effective Study Routine?

We know students learn differently, so how can you as an individual develop an effective study routine? These experts weigh in with some quick study tips.

Silhouette of person sitting at desk with laptopJay Chakrapani
Vice President, General Manager, Digital
McGraw-Hill Higher Education
We know that students learn differently and therefore study differently, but we also know that by taking the necessary steps to study more efficiently and effectively they can maximize their potential and performance. The best first step you can take to develop an effective study routine is to create a plan. Sit down and look over your course load. Read through your syllabi and determine what needs to be done and when. Once you have a good idea of what’s on your plate, prioritize your work. When creating your study routine, the most important tip to keep in mind is to allocate enough time for each task to avoid cramming. Find out which study method works best for you and use effective study tools. And finally, take time to relax. Don’t burn yourself out, that will only hurt you in the long run. 

Michael Milone, PhDMichael Milone, PhD
Educational Consultant, Research Psychologist, and Writer
Get ready to be brilliant. You’re about to discover a secret that’ll help you learn more effectively. The two most effective learning techniques are practice testing—asking yourself questions about what you studied—and distributed practice—studying in relatively small segments over some time, according to a study published in Psychological Science in the Public Interest. If you have something to learn or remember, distributed practice and self-quizzing will be helpful. Although those are the most statistically helpful, any method that helps you learn better is worthwhile. So here are all 10 techniques examined in the study so you can choose which learning style, or combination of them, works for you:

  • Elaborative interrogation: Generate an extensive explanation for why an explicitly stated fact or concept is true.
  • Self-explanation: Explain how new information is related to known information, or explain your steps taken during problem-solving.
  • Summarization: Write summaries of various lengths for texts you’re in the process of learning.
  • Highlighting and underlining: Mark up potentially important portions of materials while reading.
  • Keyword mnemonic: Use keywords and mental imagery to associate verbal materials with memory for later recall.
  • Imagery for text: Attempt to form mental images of text materials while reading or listening.
  • Rereading: Review text material again and again after an initial reading for better retention.
  • Practice testing: Self-test or take practice tests over materials you’re attempting to learn to simulate the atmosphere of in-class testing.
  • Distributed practice: Implement a schedule of practice that spreads out your study activities over time into small, more digestible portions.
  • Interleaved practice: Implement a schedule of practice that mixes different kinds of material and problem-solving within a single study session.

There are more great study tips where these came from if you check out the tag “studying” here on CollegeXpress!

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