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, consider scheduling a one-on-one appointment with an Academic Coach. Academic Coaching appointments focus on helping you establish goals, calculate GPA, connect to campus resources, and create an individualized plan for success. Schedule online through TutorTrac or by calling the Academic Achievement Center at 740.593.2644. You can also call the number or email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
Choosing the right place to study and complete your academic work is important. If you need to do concentrated deep reading, you probably need a quiet and distraction-free space. When you need a place to rehearse your group presentation, you have other requirements. Sometimes it is inspiring to be around others working hard on their academics. Being in the right place for your needs impacts your productivity.
Study spaces are available throughout OHIO's campuses and offer a variety of environments to meet your needs, including a variety of furniture, hours of availability, reservation options, and more.
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.
- Preview: Before class, skim the chapter, note headings and boldface words, review summaries and chapter objectives, and come up with questions to ask.
- Attend: GO TO CLASS! Pay attention, ask questions and take meaningful notes.
- Review: Within 24 hours of class, review notes, fill in gaps and develop any last questions you may have.
- 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.
- Assess: Check yourself and ask "Am I using effective study methods?" and "Do I know the material well enough to teach others?"
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 than 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 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.
Students with demanding schedules often end up burning out after long periods of constant stress.
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.
Determine how you spend a typical week.
Getting Large Amounts of Work Done
Is there a secret to getting a lot of work done? Thomas Frank explains how he handles distractions!
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.
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.
- Cornell Notes - How To: Section Notes [Word]
- Cornell Notes Sheet - Questions & Notes [Word]
- Cornell Notes Sheet - Topics & Details [PDF]
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.
Many time management experts recommend using some type of “to-do” list to help you keep organized and productive. Crossing off things off your list can be very motivating! If you want to keep that list with you wherever you go, try one of the Apps below:
Available for both iOS and Android, Google Keep is a note-keeping app that uses a pin board format, allowing you to pin notes, lists, photos and voice memos, easily search for previous pins, share your list with others and receive location-based reminders.
Remember the Milk
Lets you check off your virtual to-do list, ideal if you ever feel overwhelmed with tasks. Remember the Milk syncs with all your devices and integrate with your calendar, emails, Twitter and other time management tools.
Practical strategies can help you be more efficient and effective with your textbook reading.
Thomas Frank Video presents on how to read your textbook efficiently and effectively
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 a more effective way to learn the material. Final exams paper requires some additional planning. Below are templates for a 5-Day Study Plan and Exam Study Schedule.
- 5-Day Study Plan [Word]
- Exam Study Schedule [Excel]
How to Not Make Stupid Mistakes on Exams
Thomas Frank, aka College Info Geek, provides some helpful advice that can help DURING the exam.
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.
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.
- Weekly Calendar [Excel]
- 3-Week Study Planner [Excel]
- 5-Day Study Plan [Word]
The College InfoGeek has compiled a list of helpful resources and links for organizational tools from backpacks to helpful Time Management Apps.
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: answer questions, do math, instantly get facts, create plots, calculators, unit conversions, scientific data and statistics, help with homework—and much more.
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.
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 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.
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 Video Explanations and problems from Algebra to Probability and Statistics to Differential Equations!
PatrickJMT [Just Math Tutorials]: making FREE and hopefully useful math videos for the world!
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]
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 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.
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.