Ohio University

Study Strategies

Improve Your Study Strategies

College learning often requires students to change old study habits and methods of retaining information. The university has many helpful resources linked from these pages to assist you.

If you want to learn more about successful study strategies or how to overcome the challenges of an online learning environment, consider scheduling a one-on-one appointment with an Online Learning Navigator, experienced peer tutors who know how to navigate Blackboard, stay on top  of assignments, connect with students and faculty, and find campus resources that will help you manage your progress at OHIO University. Schedule online through TutorTrac or by calling the Academic Achievement Center at 740.566.8888. You can also call the number or email tutoring@ohio.edu with any questions. 

Plan your semester using the Semester Study Planner [Excel].

The Study Cycle

This 5-step approach can help save you valuable time and help you create a regular habit and pattern for studying more efficiently.

  1. Preview: Before class, skim the chapter, note headings and boldface words, review summaries and chapter objectives, and come up with questions to ask. 
  2. Attend: GO TO CLASS! Pay attention, ask questions and take meaningful notes. 
  3. Review: Within 24 hours of class, review notes, fill in gaps and develop any last questions you may have. 
  4. Study: Do 3–5 short but intense study sessions per day, and weekend student sessions where you read notes from the week and make connections. 
  5. Assess: Check yourself and ask "Am I using effective study methods?" and "Do I know the material well enough to teach others?"

Study Sessions

Study Sessions: Not sure where to get started or what is the best way to study? Try the following tips for a short, intense study session (ISS). Research has shown that shorter sessions and spaced repetition over a period of time is MUCH more effective that a cram session the night before! The key is to have a goal or purpose for your study time and to be sure your study environment is FREE FROM ALL DISTRACTIONS (yes, that includes your phone!)

  • Set Goal 1-2 min.
    Decide what you will accomplish in your study session.
  • Study 30-50 min.
    Interact with material: organize, concept map, summarize, process, re-read actively with highlighting and annotating
  • Reward 5-10 min.
    Take a break: walk around, get a snack, relax.
  • Review 5 min.
    Go back over, summarize, wrap-up what you studied.

Intense study sessions are designed to work with the way your brain learns best: in short, focused increments. Schedule 3-5 intense study sessions per day in order to keep up with and learn more effectively in your courses.

More Study Strategies

How can you get the most out of your time studying? It can be difficult to know where to start. And what about coping with the problems of motivation and stress? Most every student at one time or another procrastinates or faces stress of having so much to do or problems maintaining focus. A few key steps can help you get going again or get started!

Procrastination and Motivation

Fight procrastination with the Pomodoro Technique: One of the biggest problems for students is procrastination. Some may struggle with just getting started and others with sustaining focus. You can do anything for 25 minutes with out distraction, right? That is exactly what the Pomodoro Technique is about. Break down those longer study sessions into shorter bursts of 25 minutes of focus. The key is to have a very specific goal for that time, a timer, no distractions (put away the laptop and phone. The following 2-minute short video explains the system well.

Concentration and Focus

College Info Geek Thomas Franks shares tips for building concentration and focus and phone apps that help you avoid distractions while you study.

Student Burnout

Students with demanding schedules often end up burning out after long periods of constant stress.

 

Time Management

Students often reported struggling with time management. Too often it seems there is not enough time to get everything done! Especially during "crunch times."

Some common concerns students often have:

  • How much time should I plan for studying and when is the best time?
  • What is the appropriate balance between my studies and my personal time?
  • How do I set up a schedule and time management system that works for me?

Looking for an app to help you manage everything from your class schedule to assignments and tests? My Study Life is an app that can provide complete calendaring and task management across your devices.

My Study Life app advertisement

Determine how you spend a typical week.

Go to Time Management Tool

Getting Large Amounts of Work Done

Is there a secret to getting a lot of work done? Thomas Frank explains how he handles distractions!

 

Calendaring

Looking for ideas of how to organize the many different task and scheduling tasks before you each week? This video explains one person's system that can be adapted to suit your needs and style.

Note Taking

Are your notes disorganized or of little help when studying for exams? Need help finding a note taking system that works?

A common question is which is better, taking Notes on my computer or on paper? This short video by the College Info Geek shares the research on which is more effective.

Test Taking

Test and exams are a major part of the grades you earn in most college classes. In some classes, your entire grade can depend on 2-3 exams. Exam preparation and test taking strategies can make a positive impact on your exam outcome. Some common concerns students often have:

  • When should I study for an exam?
  • How effective are my exam preparation methods?
  • How do I get organized to prepare for my exams?
  • How can I do my best when I take the exam

If you want to earn better test grades, these tips will help. Some of the tips in this video cover the days leading up to an exam, while others deal with strategies you can use while you're actually in the testing room.

Exam Preparation

Cramming is ineffective. Planning out your exam study schedule at least five days in advance is highly recommended. A Five Day Study Plan is a helpful way to map out strategies and space your study time instead of cramming. We know that spaced practice in shorter intervals is much more effective way to learn the material. Final exams paper requires some additional planning. Below are temples for a 5-Day Study Plan and Exam Study Schedule.

How to Not Make Stupid Mistakes on Exams

Thomas Frank, aka College Info Geek, provides some a helpful advise that can help DURING the exam.

Test Anxiety

Exams can cause a lot of unnecessary stress, but you can reduce that stress in several ways. Some stress is actually good! In this video, College Info Geek looks at common test anxiety concerns and covers ways to deal with them.

General Study Tools

Many online tools can make your study time productive and interactive! We have compiled a few of the most recommended sites for reinforcing information, helping to explain concepts, and for creating your own study tools.

Planning calendars

These helpful calendars can be printed and posted in your dorm of office. We highly recommend using these for overall semester planning of major exams and projects and for weekly plans and special study planning for upcoming test and papers.

Organization

The College InfoGeek has compiled a list of helpful resources and links for organizational tools from backpacks to helpful Time Management Apps.

Go to Resources list

Khan Academy

Khan Academy

With over 3,200 videos on everything from arithmetic to physics, finance, and history and hundreds of skills to practice, Khan Academy is on a mission to help you learn what you want, when you want, at your own pace.

Wolfram Alpha

Wolfram Alpha

Wolfram Alpha: answer questions, do math, instantly get facts, create plots, calculators, unit conversions, scientific data and statistics, help with homework—and much more.

Quizlet

Quizlet

Quizlet is the largest flash cards and study games website with over 12 million free sets of flashcards covering every possible subject. It's the best place to play educational games, memorize vocabulary and study online.

GoConqr

GoConqr

Concept Maps are a great way to facilitate learning complex material. Check out GoConqr to create your own or to utilize some that others have created for a variety of disciplines.

Cramberry

Cramberry

Cramberry helps you study with online flash cards. Make your own cards on Cramberry or choose from their FREE public flash cards. When you study, Cramberry analyzes your progress and shows you the cards you need to study!

Discipline Specific Study Tools

A great many online tools are available to help students in specific disciplines enhance their understanding of key concepts and prep for exams. We have included just a few of the most recommended ones by our SI Leaders, Peer Tutors and Study Skills Instructors.

Economics

ThinkEconomic

Through interactive graphs, ThinkEconomics illustrates basic economic principles that are taught in a college-level introductory economics course. These graphs enable students to develop analytic and deductive reasoning skills by manipulating graphical elements of the economic models. Students also learn how to apply these models to analyze and understand economic phenomena.

Math

MATH Video Explanations and problems from Algebra to Probability and Statistics to Differential Equations!

PatrickJMT

PatrickJMT [Just Math Tutorials]: making FREE and hopefully useful math videos for the world!

Chemistry

Bozeman Science

Speaker Paul Andersen offers hundreds of science videos that have been viewed millions of times by learners around the world. His video essentials for AP Biology, AP Chemistry, AP Environmental Science, and AP Physics 1&2 are aligned to the AP curriculum.

How to Study Chemistry: The 5 Elements of Success [blog post]

Natural Sciences

"A guide on how to better comprehend what you read, how to read more and read faster and how to study more efficiently."[PDF]

A guide for students written by Scott M. Moody, Ph.D., Emeritus Professor of Biological Sciences

Anatomy

The BioDigital Human

The BioDigital Human simplifies the understanding of anatomy, disease and treatments. Interactive tools for exploring, dissecting, and sharing custom views, combined with detailed medical descriptions provide a new format to learn about the body.

Zygote

Zygote is devoted to showing the world the beauty and miracle of human life through its 3D anatomy products.

Science Prof Online

Science Prof Online is a free science education resouce for students, teachers and anyone with questions about the natural world. Students, need help with your homework? Instructors, need a ready-made PowerPoint lesson, or even an entire curriculum? We've got it, and it's free! Seriously.

Psychology

The Psych Files

The Psych Files is a Psychology podcast hosted by Michael A. Britt, Ph.D. I release 2-3 episodes a month, each about 20-30 minutes long. The Psych Files is aimed at anyone curious about human behavior, though students taking a course in psychology, those majoring in psychology, and instructors of psychology will find the podcast particularly of interest.