Study Skills are like any skill that needs the practice to master. They require learning the craft and paying attention to practicing the skill before the skill becomes automatic. Just as when first learning how to drive, it takes all of one’s mental energy to think about the direction, speed, pedals, mirrors, and steering wheel to execute the task. At first, study skills also require time, attention, and energy before becoming automatic.
Top Study Skills
“Begin with the End in Mind means to begin each day, task, or project with a clear vision of your desired direction and destination, and then continue by flexing your proactive muscles to make things happen.” – Stephen Covey
Study Skill #1: Studying in an Optimal Environment
The act of studying implies focus and attention on the new subject matter, thereby maximizing the possibility for success. The methods of studying should be based on personal preference, and different environments work better for different individuals. For example, some students require a quiet environment when working, while others do better with soft background music. Some students like low lighting with lamps if they are sensitive to overhead lights, and others need a bright and well-lit location to do their best work. Some do better in study groups with others to process information, and some do better all alone. It is a skill to have the discipline to create and put yourself in the right environment to focus, attend, and retain content knowledge!
Study Skill #2: Learning Tools
The same study skill learning tools for one student may not work for another. For example, some students may better write everything down and practice facts or study new knowledge, while others may better listen to such information repeatedly auditorily. Others may prefer typing the info out and learning from a device/app. It will take practice to find how to use a skill and tailor it to different learning styles. Ask your child the questions of whether they like podcasts or reading books. Do they like using a device or prefer pencil/paper tasks? These questions can help guide your student to the learning tools that will work best based on their preferences.
Study Skill #3: Time Management/Self-Assessment
Time management and Covey’s Habit #2: Putting First Things First is essential when studying. Helping students become self-aware of their distractions and setting them up for success by prioritizing expectations. This goes back to prioritizing which strategies work based on students’ understanding of their own needs or potential for distractions. Some students do better if they allow themselves frequent breaks. Others do better working straight through. Some students can handle a cell phone/device nearby without constantly checking it; others may need it silenced and located in another room to remove the temptation. Please help your child decide how to manage their time best to execute their other study skills most effectively.
Going through school by making the best study time can elevate the school experience to be more positive and fulfilling. We hope students and parents will take these ideas to heart to help maximize student potential for success and content mastery through effective studying!