Study skills are often referred to as study strategies and academic skills and are considered as an effective approach to learning. These include an array of transferrable life skills that helps a student to acquire good grades in school.
What are Study Skills?
A study skill is a technique that will help a student in studying, recalling, and retaining information. It can be easily learned and applied to every field related to studies.
These are a blessing in disguise and can prove a boon for every learner who wants to know the intricacies of how to learn effectively. He can be a part-time or a full-time student, an individual who had to leave his education mid-way and is now returning to complete it, and even a person who is trying to achieve professional growth and development.
Key points about study strategies are
1. Personal approach
Some things work for a person and not for others as effectively. The study strategies help to develop a personal approach that is specific and will meet the individual needs of the learner.
It has been rightly said that practice makes it perfect because a learner has to practice a lot to develop and hone his skills and strategies for effective learning.
It is a practice that helps to master various skills, increase awareness about things that should be done and gain confidence so that it can prove beneficial not only at that point but throughout the life of the learner.
3. Study strategies are generic
The best thing about study strategies is that the learner can use it in almost all the areas of study. It is generic and not subject-specific. Developing such skills will help the learner in understanding the ideas, theories, and concepts relevant to a specific subject.
4. Study strategies are transferrable
These skills are not just for students who are interested in finding effective ways of learning but are transferrable as it helps the learner throughout his life in new contexts like self-discipline, problem-solving, time management and organizational skills.
Types of study skills
The following types of study skills and techniques will make the journey easy for a learner –
1. Getting organized
Until and unless a person is organized, it becomes impossible to use all the available resources to your advantage. The various steps involved in getting organized are
- Find a suitable place to study, for instance, a library or a secluded corner in your home, which is free from unwanted interruptions. Make sure that the place is clean, and it has a good source of light during both day and nighttime.
- Organize all the materials that you will need to study in indexed files. Create a system where the labeling is clear and easy to read at first glance
- Finding a place where all the required materials like books, computer, notes, etc. will be handy
- Determine the best time to study to achieve a positive balance.
- Create a support network for study and include students and teachers that can offer help in case you are struggling at any given point.
2. Finding the time to study
One of the most crucial study strategies is managing time so that the learner can have the maximum time for studying. Plan it for a healthy work-life balance and for avoiding anxiety and stress later on. Remember, time management can break large tasks into manageable sub-tasks that are easy to achieve. The various steps involved are
- Develop a study timetable that is specific to your needs. It will provide a structure and help to focus on the particular task at hand, review each section on a priority basis, and establish time slots for all of them
- Planning helps to organize time around other regular commitments and activities which you cannot avoid
- The timetable will help to find the ideal time slot when the learner is at his most alert
- Creating a timetable helps to avoid procrastination and unnecessary distraction and dithering
- Include some free time in the timetable that can be used for relaxation. A learner needs some me-time where he can give his mind a rest and let it ponder in peace. The free time can also be used in special circumstances where the learner might need to study for a few more hours to catch up with any leftover study
3. Sources of information
An important aspect of learning is to use materials, theory, and research to back up your study. The learner needs to find various sources of information, and it becomes essential to know where to look for it, access it, and then how to use it for personal advantage.
The various sources of information include
- Online sources – An incredible amount of information is available online through catalogs, social media, forums, blogs, and web pages. Choose relevant and reliable information and note down the date as well as URL for future reference
- Library sources – Access to a library can prove a boon if you are interested in effective study strategies. In the case of journals and books, note the page numbers so that it proves helpful later on.
- Bibliographies – An essential source of information is a bibliography of related books or core texts.
4. Effective reading
Reading is a vital study strategy that requires understanding opinions, making links, research, and apply whatever you have learned to your studies. The goal is to know about the factual information that can be used practically. The various reading materials include
- Core texts – The core texts in the reading include journals and books whose aim is to expand on the given subject
- Course materials – It includes books, hand-outs in lectures, and also online material via VLE or virtual learning environment.
5. Writing styles
Identifying and knowing about various writing styles will help in understanding the one specific style that is best for a person. It is the writing style that tells others how you have interpreted a document and what are the things that you consider important. The various writing styles include
- Academic writing style – It is found in textbooks and academic journals and ensures that the words are clearly understood, and there is no scope for doubt
- Journalistic writing style – This style of writing includes broadsheet that has specific points-of-view and tabloid papers that are sensational and have strong editorial bias
- Online news – This type of writing is written for an expected audience and has a global perspective
A learner comes across innumerable information in a day, and it is not possible to remember all of it. Note-taking is a process of concisely recording useful and essential information that will help the learner to recall it later on. It includes
- Using short and concise points, short sentences or phrases
- Using numbered lists and billets to your advantage
- Concentrating on key points
- Using words that you understand and which makes sense to you
- Use a shorthand system if only you are used to it
- Writing in your style
- Writing key information in full, for instance, name of contact, details, dates, URL’s, etc
- Using diagrams, charts, graphs, index cards, sticky notes, and highlighters if you think them useful for that specific study
7. Using mind maps
Visual elements are considered very helpful as it helps the learner to retain information. A mind map is nothing but a visual framework that helps a person to
The purpose is to
- Take notes
- Brainstorm ideas
- Find important ideas
- Revise for examinations
- Store information
8. Revision skills
The act of revising whatever a student has learned up to that point is known as revision. Suitable skills are a must for passing an exam. Important tips include
- Be honest with yourself and identify everything that needs to be revised
- Mark all the sections based on their priority
- Make sure that you are participating in other activities that will encourage proper revision, for instance, revision classes and past sample papers
Importance of Study Skills
The importance of study skills are as follows
- Study strategies are important as it helps in cultivating self-motivation
- Study methods help in improving the organized skills
- Study skills strategies are important because it helps in improving the retention power in students
- Study strategies boost the level of concentration amongst the learners
- Study methods help to achieve higher grades
- Study strategies have proved a boon with time management
- Study methods help a student in studying, recalling and retaining information
Study skills are strategies that help in improving the process of effectual learning. Numerous strategies can prove a boon to this road, but one should always identify and adopt the ones that will be able to meet his or her specific requirements to the fullest.