You have BRAINS in your HEAD.
    You have FEET in your SHOES.
    You can STEER yourself any
    (Dr. Seuss)


    "But I don't know how to study!"

    Here are some memory strategies ("mnemonic techniques") that have been found to help with studying!

    Probably the first thing you need to understand about studying is that it is deliberate and effortful, and usually must be self-instigated. That means that studying, and consequently, learning doesn't just "happen". It requires a deliberate and conscious effort on your part! Studying also requires self-monitoring. That means that as you study, you need to regularly stop and check to see if you understand what you're studying, and if you remember it. If not, it may be time to go back and reread, practice some more, return to an earlier point, or take a short break from studying.

    A study tactic is a specific technique you may use to help you as you study, for example, underlining, highlighting, making an outline, summarizing, and self-questioning, just to name a few. Your study strategy is a combination of all the different techniques, chosen by you, that you use as you study. (Research has shown that good studiers are able to choose from and use a variety of tactics).

    Here is a list of study tactics or "study aides". Think about the ways you study for tests, and check all those that apply:

    ___ Highlighting; underlining; outlining.

    ___ Skimming before reading thoroughly; rereading; adjusting your reading rate depending upon the difficulty of the material.

    ___ Self-Monitoring, such as asking yourself, "Do I understand what I just read?" and if your answer to this question is "No", then going back and rereading it more slowly and carefully. Some research even supports reading the information out loud or whisper-reading.

    ___ Rehearsal - involves repeating the material to be learned again... and again!

    ___ Organizational Strategies - reorganizing information into meaningful groups that are easier to remember; i.e., concept webbing, outlining, note-taking, "chunking".

    ___ Time-Management Strategies - keeping assignment books, using a calendar to plan study activity and to carry out longer assignments, organizing study time around task difficulty and importance.

    ___ Self-Testing –i.e., practice tests, looking away and reciting material, flashcards, etc. - to determine if it's "safe" to stop studying (research suggests 3+ consecutive days of “knowing” the material before it is “safe” to stop studying).

    ___ Relaxation exercises (meditation, playing with your pets, taking a walk) and self-motivational strategies (allowing yourself 10 minutes of listening to music after every 20 minutes of studying).
    ___ Make it fun! Remember words, definitions, etc. by putting them into rhymes, songs, silly poems, etc. For example, say you have to remember the four food groups: dairy, meat, grain and fruits/vegetables. First memorize key words that can be associated with numbers, for example, one with bun, two with shoe, three with tree, and four with door. Then create in your mind an image of the items you need to remember using the key words. For example, imagine cheese on a bun, cows wearing shoes, bags of bread hanging from a tree, and opening a door and seeing a giant strawberry. The sillier the better! In order to be memorable, the image should be unusual or even ridiculous!

    ___ Play letter games! For example, to help remember the names of the Great Lakes (Superior, Michigan, Heron, Erie, Ontario), use the first letter of each lake to make a sentence - She Made Him Eat Onions. Or create a word (when possible) using the first letter of each lake: HOMES

    ___ Link words or ideas together to help you remember them better. For example, to remember the capital of Maryland (Annapolis), picture two apples being married (when you sound out "Annapolis", it sounds like "An apple is" (being married in Maryland!).

    ___ Recite/Read aloud! Reading aloud is likely to increase your level of attention and improve your memory because now, you're not only seeing it, you're hearing it too!

    Try some of the above techniques, and see if it helps you remember and learn more! Above all else, remember that "cramming" for a test (studying the night before or even the morning of) is not an effective way to study! It doesn't work! Learning, and remembering, require frequent review of information. Did you know that you will lose 46% of what you read after one day, 79% after 14 days, and 81% after 20 days?!?!?! Study often, and in small "doses".

Quotes for Students

  • The biggest mistake a person can make is to not learn from their mistakes. Maybe you treated another student unkindly; apologize or treat them kindly the next time you see them! Maybe you failed a test because you didn't take the time to study; plan ahead or ask someone to help you organize your time better! Maybe you overreacted to a situation; take a few slow deep breaths to help you calm yourself! If you need help dealing with a mistake, ask a teacher, counselor, or other trusted adult for help!