Five Study Techniques that Actually Work

December 24, 2019
Understanding and remembering information can be challenging for some. In this article, you'll learn about some strategies to help you do this, especially when you're trying to learn something you're not too excited about.

There are many study techniques to choose from because not everybody learns the same way. What works for you, won’t necessarily work for someone else. Some people learn by watching and others learn by taking notes, reading, or listening.

In this article, you’ll discover five study techniques that work. You can even combine them!

1. Highlight all the important bits

An article by the National Distance Education University in Spain states that highlighting words helps you remember the most relevant parts of the information you read.

This makes it easier to manage time because, in a second reading, you’ll focus on what you highlighted. This way, you’ll skip past the unimportant thing.

Highlighting is a way to sift through the most important things in a paragraph. Afterwards, when you do a second reading, you’ll pay more attention to the highlighted parts.

Study techniques are great for remembering a lot of information.

2. Read aloud

The second study technique that works is reading aloud. Doing this will make you focus your attention if you’re bored with whatever your studying. In addition, reading aloud helps you understand what you’re studying and it can prove helpful when you need to memorize something.

In all, reading aloud allows you to repeat whatever you find the hardest to understand, making it easier to explain it with words. This is a very effective study technique that yields great results.

3. Write a summary

Many people study by writing summaries of their subject studies. They love studying through these summaries. However, sometimes they find it hard to know what’s important and what isn’t. This is why our third study technique can be less successful than the first two.

After you write a summary expressing what you’re studying in your own words, take the time to highlight the important parts of your text. This will make your summary more concise and easier to study.

Outlining information is one of many study techniques.

 4. Outline your study subject

Some people find it hard to study through summaries. They believe it’s a step they can skip because outlining their study subject works better for them. This is the case with people that learn visually. If this is your case, you’ll see more clearly what’s important and what isn’t.

In all, outlines can help you understand significant concepts in a short time. This allows you to explain what you learned in your own words. To make this possible, you need to read the entire program.

To create a good outline of your study subject, use short sentences, loose concepts, and a structure that keeps things to the point and allows you understand the summary. This is a very personal technique.

5. Use mnemonic devices

If you’ve discovered that outlines work best for you but you still find some concepts difficult to learn, you could use mnemonic devices. Although this requires some training, they’re extremely useful.

For example, the Texas Statewide Leadership for Autism has a great strategy for test-taking, called PIRATE.

The PIRATE mnemonic device goes like this:

  • Prepare to succeed.
  • Inspect the instructions.
  • Read, remember, reduce.
  • Answer or abandon.
  • Turn back.
  • Estimate.
  • Survey.

Whenever you need to take an exam, remember the PIRATEs, which is easier than remembering the rest of the information. This last study technique can be used in many ways and it’s great to remember lists, for example, when you go grocery shopping.

A probability exam with a calculator, a pen and a pair of glasses.

Which of these study techniques that work do you use? Have you tried combining them? Try to study using one or even all of these techniques or just know you have other options available if the ones you use aren’t working for you.

“The art of reading and studying consists in remembering the essentials and forgetting what isn’t essential.”

-Adolf Hitler-

  • Camarero Suárez, F. J., del Buey, M., de Asís, F., & Herrero Díez, F. J. (2000). Estilos y estrategias de aprendizaje en estudiantes universitarios. Psicothema, 12 (4).
  • Pérez, V. M. O., & Barberis, L. T. (2005). Análisis de los hábitos de estudio en una muestra de alumnos universitarios. Revista Iberoamericana de Educación36(7), 1-9.
  • RIFFO, BERNARDO, CARO, NATALIA, & SÁEZ, KATIA. (2018). CONCIENCIA LINGÜÍSTICA, LECTURA EN VOZ ALTA Y COMPRENSIÓN LECTORA. RLA. Revista de lingüística teórica y aplicada56(2), 175-198. https://dx.doi.org/10.4067/S0718-48832018000200175