What are study skills?

These are skills and strategies which can be applied to learning not only at school or work but through your entire life. Good study skills help children to be successful in school and to get good exam grades and once learnt they can be helpful for learning anything through life.

There are a large number of different study skills which can be helpful in organising new information, making it much easier to learn and retain things. There are many online web sites and books available which give advice and techniques for such skills. Whether you are taking courses in finance or are studying towards a Marketing degree, you need to find out what study method is best.

To ensure that study skills work for you, you first should decide what type of learner you are and that will enable you to choose the correct memory technique for you – either active, auditory or visual memorization. These memory based techniques work best if you take sufficient rest and eat regular small amounts of food throughout the day and that you carry out study in a place with no outside distractions.

study skillsWhat type of study skills are there? 

There are a number of different study skills but all are techniques which improve a student’s learning abilities and their chances of passing exams.  These skills are techniques that can be used in most studies and are learned over a short period of time.

Study skills can include methods such as:

  • mnemonics, which help you to recall lists of information by using a fact or phrase as a trigger
  • knowing how to take efficient notes
  • effective time management, and
  • techniques for improving motivation

Another study skill method of learning is using visual reminder cues such as flash cards with pictures on them. They can have short summaries on them instead which help you with self-testing.

Are there any other methods available?

Summary methods are another way of learning and involve taking large amounts of information and condensing it into much smaller, easier to remember chunks which can then be reduced again into key facts. For example, you might have a law course with many small details you need to break down into more retainable snippets of information.

Diagrams are also effective for connecting concepts, and spider diagrams and mind maps are one of the most effective ways of doing this.  Spider diagrams retain a topics logical structure while using connecting lines to provide a visual summary. Many people benefit from taking material from their verbal studies and using a visual imagery method to help them learn and retain that information in their memory.  

There are a number of things unrelated to studying itself that can also be improved to boost the effectiveness of learning such as improving your sleeping patterns and diet.  By improving time management skills, you can ensure that they focus most on the things that provide the greatest benefits to their learning. 

A simple way of ensuring that this is done is to use a traffic lights system of highlighting information in different colours.  For example; using a green highlighter for the most important topics; an amber one for those that should be studied second and a red for those that should only be studied if there is time.    

Amy Harris writes for Financial Training– which helps British and international students find the right financial courses in the UK (such as ACCA accounting courses and business degrees). She is an American expat who enjoys helping people with their education and career search.

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