Effective Studying and Learning

Three tips for learning, straight from
A Guide to Effective Studying and Learning

Elaborate, elaborate, elaborate
You’ll learn better if you elaborate on the material by forming associations.

Example: Instead of passively reading a text, start making connections. Ask yourself how the chapter is related to a past chapter. Jot down questions to answer on the material. Consider how you’d explain the material to a friend.

Spread it out
Learning will happen best when spread out over time in short sessions, a practice the experts call spacing.

Example: Schedule study sessions for an exam that’s a week away in 30-minute blocks each day.

Testing is your friend
Testing shouldn’t just be used to measure what you’ve learned. It’s a learning strategy in itself. Test yourself on information, rather than simply reading or studying it.

Example: If you were learning about the French Revolution, you could create a question like, “Discuss the major causes of the French Revolution,” and test yourself. This strategy works best when you’re forced to generate answers, not just recognize them like in a multiple choice test.

A Guide to Effective Studying and Learning is the primary text for Psychology 152, or The Science of Learning, offered as an All-University Core Curriculum course since 2015.

Additional tips for effective learning and strategies for success can be found through TILT Workshops.


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