Building Strong Study Skills Series:
Study Habits You Should Knock Part II
Note: This series details how to study smarter, not harder, to help students succeed in their academics. All information in this series draws upon principles from psychological research on learning and memory.
Most school course curriculums do not teach students to develop study skills, which poses a great barrier to academic success. And in some cases, some students are taught study skills that either don’t work or are extraordinarily inefficient! Last week we detailed some of the worst study habits. Read on to understand three more of the least effective study habits.
Effective studying involves gaining a deep understanding of the material, to the point where you could even teach the exact material that you were taught in class or in your texts. Keywords are only snippets of the information you are expected to know. Even if you understand all of your keywords really well – do you know why you’re learning these keywords? Why do they matter? How do they relate to the overall topic? How are the keywords connected to each other?
Writing Text Summaries
Summarizing your text is helpful in demonstrating that you are able to condense a large reading into a brief writing. However, it does not necessarily demonstrate a deep understanding of the material, nor does it help you master the material. Where it might help is connecting ideas – but there are more effective and efficient ways to connect ideas.
Making Flashcards (Often, But Not Always)
Flashcards seem to be the go-to study skill for many students. Perhaps the most helpful part of flashcard studying is the process of making them. But the process itself takes a long time and is often an inefficient use of study time. Even if you are the speediest flashcard maker, flashcards should not be used as a sole study technique.
Making and studying flashcards before a test typically does not help you gain a deeper understanding of the material nor does it effectively help you encode that material into your long-term memory beyond the date of your test. We will detail the proper use of flashcards later in this series.
Keywords and writing text summaries are ineffective and inefficient study habits. Although making flashcards may be useful at times, this study technique is often misused.
Keep up with our weekly Building Strong Study Skills series to learn the most effective study strategies and succeed in your academics. Schedule a session with one of our expert tutors today to receive all the information and guidance you need to gain a deeper understanding of your academics and perform better on your tests! Building effective study habits takes time, so the sooner you get help, the better prepared you will be by the time finals roll around.
Terry, W.S. (2018). Learning and Memory: Basic Principles, Processes, and Procedures, Fifth Edition. New York, Routledge, a Taylor and Francis Group. ISBN 978-1-13-864591-2.
Rhodes, M.G., Cleary, A.M. and DeLosh, E.L. (2020). A Guide to Effective Studying and Learning: Practical Strategies from the Science of Learning. New York, Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-021447-0 (pbk).
Drew is Hodis Learning & Music’s Founder and President. He has been tutoring and teaching music for more than 10 years. Drew earned his B.A. in Psychology from the University of Southern California and is pursuing a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology at Adelphi University.
Drew is Hodis Learning & Music's Founder and President. He has been tutoring and teaching music for more than 10 years. Drew earned his B.A. in Psychology from the University of Southern California and is pursuing a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology at Adelphi University.