Study Strategies

  • Study Strategies

    Studying Tips . . . 


    Phrases teachers use to signal importance include:

    -    "Write this down."

    -    "Let me summarize . . . "

    -    "Let me say it again . . . "

    -    "This is important."

    -    "I'll write this on the board."

    -    "Remember… "







    o   Study in chunks

    o   Use daylight hours

    o   Study actively

    o   Find the right place to study




    Active Reading Strategies when reading a textbook:

    -    Review the chapter and section headings and convert them to questions. For example, the header, "Causes of the Persian War" might be changed to "What are the causes of the Persian War?"


    -    Review the words, phrases, and sentences that appear in bold type to denote their importance.


    -    Study the pictures and tables.


    -    Look at the sidebar information.


    -    Review and answer the questions at the end of each chapter.

    When possible, use colored highlighters or Post-it notes to flag important information in textbooks and class notes. This will help you review the material more efficiently.




    The following Memory Strategies may help you with those details and facts that just won't stick:

    -          Crazy phrases: If you need to remember a list of items in order, such as the planets in the solar system, come up with a silly sentence using the first letter of each item on the list. The following is an example many teachers use to help students remember the nine planets in order: Kids Prefer Candy Over Fancy Green Salads.  (kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus, species)

    • Acronyms: When the order of the information does not matter, you can take the first letters of each item on the list and try to form them into a word. For example, to help remember the systems of the body, the acronym "RED CRaNES" can be used:
      a - (no system - place holder)

      Endocrine                                                                                                                         Skeletal



    -          Cartoons or pictures: If you are a visual learner, it may help to make cartoons to illustrate concepts (e.g., history, science) or to draw small pictures to trigger your memory for vocabulary words.


    • Word associations: You can make connections to other information you know by using the sounds or visual representations of words. For example, if you have to remember that the word "distinct" means "different or unmistakable," you can find another word that sounds similar, such as "stink." If something stinks, it is definitely different and unmistakable!



    Vocabulary Learning Tips

    • Vocabulary Learning Tip One: Read, Read, Read! Most vocabulary words are learned from context. The more words you're exposed to, the better vocabulary you will have. While you read, pay close attention to words you don't know. First, try to figure out their meanings from context. Then look the words up. Read and listen to challenging material so that you'll be exposed to many new words.


    • Vocabulary Learning Tip Two: Improve your context skills. Research shows that the vast majority of words are learned from context. To improve your context skills pay close attention to how words are used. Doing a search on a word using or will give you many examples of how that word is used in context.


    • Vocabulary Learning Tip Three: Practice, practice, practice. Learning a word won't help very much if you promptly forget it. Research shows that it takes from 10 to 20 repetitions to really make a word part of your vocabulary. It helps to write the word - both the definition and a sentence you make up using the word - perhaps on an index card that can later be reviewed. As soon as you learn a new word, start using it. Review your index cards periodically to see if you have forgotten any of your new words. Also, do a search on a word using  to get many examples of how the word is actually used.


    • Vocabulary Learning Tip Four: Make up as many associations and connections as possible. Say the word aloud to activate your auditory memory. Relate the word to words you already know. For example, the word GARGANTUAN (very large) has a similar meaning to the words gigantic, huge, large, etc. You could make a sequence: small, medium, large, very large, GARGANTUAN. List as many things as you can that could be considered GARGANTUAN: Godzilla, the circus fat lady, dinosaurs, etc. Create pictures of the word's meaning that involve strong emotions. Think "the GARGANTUAN creature was going to rip me apart and then eat me!"


    • Vocabulary Learning Tip Five: Use mnemonics (memory tricks). For example, consider the word EGREGIOUS (extremely bad). Think EGG REACH US - imagine we've made a mistake so bad that they are throwing eggs at us and a rotten EGG REACHes US. Such funny little word pictures will help you remember what words mean, AND they are fun to make up. Also, find out which learning style suits you best. Everyone learns differently!


    • Vocabulary Learning Tip Six: Get in the habit of looking up words you don't know. If you have a dictionary program on your computer, keep it open and handy.  Find them and look up any word you are not absolutely sure of. Use a thesaurus when you write to find the word that fits best.


    • Vocabulary Learning Tip Seven: Play with words. Play Scrabble, Boggle, and do crossword puzzles. These and other word games are available for the computer, so you are not dependent on a partner to play. Also, try out the Franklin Electronic Dictionary that features built-in word games.


    • Vocabulary Learning Tip Eight: Use vocabulary lists. For the serious vocabulary student, there are many books that focus on the words most commonly found in standardized tests.  There are also many interesting word sites on the Internet, many of which will send you a word a day by email.


    • Vocabulary Learning Tip Nine: Take vocabulary tests. Playing games that test your knowledge will help you learn new words and also let you know how much progress you're making.  There are many online sites and books available to help you increase your vocabulary.