Study Skills & effective independent learning

Research suggests that the most successful students are the ones who not only have a number of study and learning strategies to draw on, but who also know when to use each strategy.

For example, what study skills and learning strategies should I use when I am beginning to learn something, and what strategies should I utlise when I want to deepen my understanding of concepts I already know about? These resources will support you in developing a toolkit of strategies to use when learning and studying, as well as giving you the knowledge of what strategies you should go to at which phase of the learning process.

Developing Good Study Skills:

Create a healthy routine

Once a routine is established, studying and focusing will be easier and motivation will come. Try to study at the same time, at the same place (depending on where student is most comfortable)

– use a study schedule

– plan out daily goals/action plans (working toward weekly goals)

– also refer to monthly, Term or yearly or overall big major goals regularly to sync with

Find a good location

Best to find a location with minimum distractions which enables better concentration (e.g. backyard, park, library, study centre)

Study resources and ergonomics

Comfortable chair, table, well-lit, have all the resources needed (stationery, pens, electronic devices or good internet connectivity) which allows for solid study and not distract away from it

Evaluate study preferences

Discover your learning styles using the VARK (Visual, Auditory, Reading/Writing or Kinesthetic (physical) method and then find an environment and study method which suits for maximum concentration and productivity (there will need to be some effort put into researching and generating plan of action) – You can take the self-assessment quiz* to find out here.

*N.B. The student self-assessment quiz is just a basic guide to help you and not a diagnosis or a professional assessment

Organise your notes to study SMARTLY

Summarise in own words, use a diagram, use of key words, watch videoclip which explain the concept or themes clearly, use mind-maps or flash-cards for better memorisation.

You can use SMART goals:

Specific — i.e. they are straightforward, precise, and can be easily defined.

Measurable — i.e. they imply a clear tool or points of reference you can use in order to assess whether you are successful in progressing toward or reaching the said goal (or not).

Attainable —i.e. they are realistic, in terms that you have a reasonable amount of time, money, and skills to successfully reach them.

Relevant — i.e. they hold certain importance within your life, the project you’re currently working on, or your business as a whole.

Time-bound — i.e. they “bind” you with a specific time frame you’ll have to work on reaching the goal, in order to call your efforts a success.

Study with others

Study with a friend or in a group who have the same goals and aims

– quiz each other

– discuss ideas and plans (get feedback from each other)

– consult with a teacher to clarify any problem areas

Take regular breaks

eat nutritiously, sleep well, exercise moderately and hydrate regularly)

Reward yourself for your hard work

At the end of the week, do something fun or reward yourself (e.g. play games, watch favourite movie, videoclips, get your nails done or chat with friends on Social Media). Rewards don’t have to cost money but should only be after work or any achievement has been made. If you feel you didn’t achieve too much then aim to rest up, don’t stress and work on better organisation