Study Skills for Students | Definition of Study Skills | Study Skills Strategies, Techniques for Higher Education & College Students

Do you want to stay a step ahead of your peers by learning the right study skills? Worry not for we have now collected for your use, the ultimate range of study skills for successful students pdf. Study skills are a set of techniques that help you approach the learning process in an improved and organized manner. By learning these study skills techniques you can memorize and recall information whenever you want.

Possessing study skills also boosts your ability to take in and process knowledge quickly and effectively. Study skills for higher education are highly beneficial as it is during this time that students need effective study strategies that include time management, familiarity with the syllabus, active listening, memorizing hacks, test-taking, and other motivational techniques. Read ahead to know the smart study skills for college students and other academic courses that will help you achieve better results.

Study Skills Definition

Study skills are a set of learning techniques that help you ace the exam and score better grades. It is an umbrella term for an array of studying tactics that include active listening, summarising concepts, and dividing topics to be studied based on their priority level, and others.

Knowing the right study skills will give you an edge in competitive and academic exams. Self-testing, forming study groups, managing time, staying motivated, and choosing the right study environment are all skills that come to use for your future.

Types of Study Skills | Effective Study Skills Examples

Study skills strategies can be categorized into several types. They are:

  1. Rote Learning, Rehearsing
  2. Reading and Listening method - the READ method
  3. The PQRST method
  4. Flashcards
  5. Summary Method
  6. Visual Imagery
  7. Mnemonics and Acronyms
  8. Time Management
  9. Studying Atmosphere
  10. Self-testing

1. Rote Learning, Rehearsing

Rote learning is a popular memorizing technique that is based on repetition. The individual eschews the knowledge they need to memorize repeatedly. The idea is to recall the material learned faster every other time. This is an intentional mental process that occurs by going over the text again and again; reading it aloud or rewriting your notes.

The information which is taken in is typically formulas, definitions, poems, diagrams, multiplication tables, periodic tables, etc. This study skill, even though the easiest and the most popular, has its weaknesses. It is a form of passive reading and re-writing which harms one’s creative and intellectual mental faculties.

2. Reading and Listening method - the READ method

During the student’s very first encounter with the subject to be studied, the REAP method is extremely effective. The READ method stands for - Read, Encode, Annotate, Ponder. This technique helps students develop a proper understanding of the text so that they can explore what the author meant.

  • Read - Read through the text to grasp the concept.
  • Encode - Simplify and paraphrase what is written in the book into your own words.
  • Annotate - Add notes and comments on sections that need critical understanding for future revisions.
  • Ponder - Think about what you learned and engage in the process of discussing the material with others and going over other related reference materials. This is a very advanced and fruitful study skill that you must master.

Through the process of encoding and annotating, you can add your meaning to whatever you have learned. This learning process is highly effective. Also Read: Why is education important?

3. The PQRST method

There is another method called the PQRST method which focuses on the information in a manner in which they will be asked in exams. The full form of PQRST is Preview, Question, Read, Summary, and Test.

  • Preview - Gloss over and familiarise yourself with the major headings and pointers of topics included in the syllabus.
  • Question - In this technique, the student ought to form questions in their mind and answer them by thoroughly examining the topic.
  • Read - In this step, the students properly read any reference material by emphasizing the information which relates to exam questions.
  • Summary - Once the student summarizes or paraphrases the topics, they put into use their understanding of the matter. Summarising can be done through making notes, flow diagrams, mnemonics, voice recordings, or labeled diagrams.
  • Test - This enables the student to examine themselves on their memory and knowledge by answering the questions they formulated themselves previously.

4. Flashcards

In recent years, studying using cue aid has become very popular amongst students. Among them, visual cues are the most helpful as your brain tends to retain them better. Flashcards serve as an important visual cue to students. This usually comes to use while revision before the exam. Flashcards can contain short summaries of topics or dates of historical events and other information that might remind you of other related information which is important.

5. Summary Method

Summarising entails condensing a large section of information to something short and succinct. Often, organizing summaries will require you to have a good grasp of the chapter or topic beforehand. So, this method prepares you adequately to answer questions that might require you to be to the point. Summarising can be done in two ways:

  • Organized summaries - This contains outlines, keywords, definitions, and other relations in a tree-like structure.
  • Spider diagrams - This is sort of a mind map which is an effective way of yoking together the concepts you have learned. You can use this technique to write an essay and essay-type answers for exams.

6. Visual Imagery

Learning by employing visual aids will greatly benefit your memory. Visual techniques are way more effective than verbal ones. It helps you preserve what you have learned for longer. Diagrams are popular visual aids that help you collect all the information you need in an organized manner. Diagrams are also great visual study aids for last-minute revisions.

7. Mnemonics and Acronyms

Mnemonic is an amazing way of aiding your memory. There are certain techniques that a mnemonic inspires, and it refers to a way of organizing the information and then memorizing it. For example, mnemonics can be categorized into 4 types. They are -

  • Narrative mnemonic where you rely on stories or the sequence of events real/fictional.
  • Visual mnemonic where you use mind maps, diagrams, flashcards, and other images to act as a substitute for what you have learned.
  • Sonic mnemonic where you use repeated sound or rhythm. Textual mnemonic where you use certain textual patterns known as acronyms.
  • Topical mnemonic uses mental landmarks such as the features of a familiar place to remember facts.

Other types of mnemonics include name, music, ode, connection, and spelling mnemonics. Mnemonics are also constructed in the form of a phrase or fact that leads you to access a larger section of your memory.

8. Time Management

This is a major study skill where you manage your time into clear sections of work and break. Procrastination is never the problem but the inability to set up a tight schedule is. Manage your study session time and aim to make it productive by using the Pomodoro technique which entails 25 minutes of studying with 5 minutes of break for as many sessions as you like. There is another interesting method called the traffic light system where you recognize the important topics and assort them in the three colors of the traffic light.

  • Green: Topics that are to be studied at the very first. These are important and simple to learn.
  • Yellow: Topics that are important but time-consuming. To be read after the first set.
  • Red: These topics are complex and do not have much importance attached to them. So, they are to be read at last.

To increase their productivity, students need not only time management but a proper sleep schedule and diet as well. So, lifestyle changes are a great source of staying motivated and productive throughout the day.

9. Studying Atmosphere

Lastly, your studying atmosphere poses a great deal of influence on your productivity. If you are wondering how you can improve your study skill by changing your study environment, here’s why - choosing a peaceful study environment where you can concentrate is also an essential study skill. If your studying space is filled with distractions, you will end up having no work done.

10. Self-testing

Self-testing is another important way to increase your chances of retaining information. Self-testing helps you practice answer writing and self-evaluation as well. You can witness how much you know and how much more you have to study.

Study Skills Techniques and Activities

The following are some of the most commonly used activities or techniques of study skills that can affect your learning process in a good & productive way:

  1. Create a list of all the subject topics that you need to learn and review. Check the boxes as you proceed with them.
  2. Make a summary of all the important topics in your course.
  3. Studies suggest that peer communication can also help in constructing a good study habit. You can form a study group with your peers and come up with cues that help you access your memory easily. A cue can be anything - a quote, a short phrase, a movie name, or even a song.
  4. Create a list of questions that can come in exams.
  5. Prepare wall posters that will add a visual aid for memorizing topics learned.
  6. Prepare a proper schedule so that you don’t have to cram the night before the big day.

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FAQs on Study Skills Strategies

1. What are the 5 major study skills?

The 5 major study skills are - Rote learning, Time Management, Creating Visual Images as cues, Reading and Active listening, and Creating Mnemonics and Acronyms.

2. What is the importance of study skills?

They are important because they help you climb the ladder to success at a faster pace and make you more productive in the process.

3. How to improve study skills?

You can improve your study skills by practicing all the skills listed above thoroughly.

4. What is the most important study skill?

The most important study skill is to not passively listen, speed read, and re-write notes but actively paraphrase what has been said/written and make your summary.

Concluding Thoughts

Hope that this blog informs you about essential study skills for high school students and college students alike. You can find other studying-related information on our website We write a great deal of content on education, teachers, studying tips, etc. Feel free to explore our website and let us know what you discover about your study skills!