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What Are Some Study Tips?

Several students are all taking the same subject, and of course they all get different grades. Part of this is natural ability. But we all know anecdotes of obviously intelligent individuals who do poorly, and seemingly average students who do far better than expected. So what are the missing factors? Is is just more time studying? Or are there effective techniques for learning more material in less time?

Better Memory with quizzes

Some people will retain a fair amount of information from just reading. Other people need to rephrase the information and memorise it. But all people will remember more if they do quizzes and tests on the material. This gets the facts and concepts into the long term memory, where it is almost always retained long term. This is far more effective than passive reading.

Spaced Repetition

Hardly anybody will claim to like rote learning. But we do have to learn facts and figures when starting a new subject, or a new section of a subject. When we were young we had to learn the alphabet before we could write words or sentences. So some rote learning is inevitable.
If we try to rote learn something is a day we will do poorly. But if we repeat the same things for several days we do far better, even if we sped the same time on the material. After this we can further the memorisation by using the material constructively/creativity. Put new words into sentences, problems based on the new mathematical concepts.


This technique goes back to ancient times. We can sometimes help our memory by using acronyms, letters that stand for the information we are trying to remember.

The order of operations for maths is – Parentheses, Exponents, Multiply, Divide, Add, Subtract. We remember this as – Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally.

Necessary is often misspelled. NeCeSSary can be remembered as Collar, Sleeve, Sleeve (on a shirt).

Or that ’30 days has September …’ rhyme.


Regular, quality sleep makes all the difference to our cognitive functions. If we sleep poorly then our learning suffers, and our ability to recall information becomes erratic. Lack of sleep occasionally gives us some creative insights, but even that is haphazard. Do whatever it takes to keep a regular sleep schedule.

Get Past Procrastination

Almost nobody is completely free from procrastination. But there are simple ways to get past it. Use a timer to study a single subject for 25 minutes, then have a 5-minute break and a reward. Remove all distractions and just get on with study. Make a chart of terms to memorise. Keep undertaking the 25-minute study/5 minute break pattern all day.

Typing up notes can help memory, especially if you reword them. This is effective study.

Avoid the habit of just highlighting a text. You need to remember the information. So write summaries and memorise formulas and concepts.

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