Study Tips

Strategies to improve retention

Listen to memory skills

Your brain can be trained.

The ability to store and remember information is an invaluable skill for any occupation. Whether you’re a student, a doctor, a mechanic, or a parent, every job requires you to remember many facts and procedures. A regimen of strategies can help you improve your ability to retain information.

Keep Your Neurons and Synapses (Brain) Healthy

The connections between your brain’s neurons, called synapses, are important in maintaining cognitive ability, according to Massachusetts General Hospital’s “Mind, Mood, and Memory.” Protect your synapses by reducing stress, stimulating your brain with new experiences, exercising, challenging your mind and behaving healthily–especially avoiding too much alcohol.

Beginning Strategies

In his book “Your Memory: How it Works and How to Improve It,” Dr. Kenneth L. Higbee, professor of psychology at Brigham Young University, suggests several beginning strategies for improving retention. The first is repetition. But instead of repeating the information you wish to retain several times over an hour or so, repeat it a few times every day over an extended time–at least two weeks. 

You can also use visualization. Imagine the information–not in the form of words, but what the words represent. Also, sharpen your focus. Relax so you can devote all your attention to the information. 
Finally, be aware of context. Rather than learning something you will need for an exam when you are at the beach, for example, learn it in an environment similar to the classroom.

Advanced Strategies

You can also make the information meaningful. One way to do this is to increase your familiarity with it by spending time learning about similar things. This will not only increase your exposure to the information, but it will also make it more meaningful by putting it into context. You can also associate the information with things you already know, like associating the map outline of Italy with a boot. Next, organize the information into patterns or, if possible, rhymes. You can also organize the information into categories or chunks. Higbee cites a study in which people asked to organize material remembered it as well as those instructed to learn it.

How Tos'

How to use study tips to pass a test

School is just starting and already those dreaded midterms are looming, waiting to bring dread and frustration into the hearts of students everywhere. There’s no need to be afraid of that you’re not going to pass. These study tips and techniques will help you out with any test, whether you’re studying for one of those killer exams, certification test for work, or need to help your seventh grader prepare for a social studies quiz. Use these tips to make studying for tests more fun, efficient, and effective.

Be a Smart Learner!

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Things You’ll Need:

Writing UtensilPaperCopierNote CardsHighlighters

Decide where to study for the test. If you have difficulty concentrating, pick one place as a study place and refrain from watching TV, eating, sleeping, etc in that area to train your self to concentrate. If you can concentrate well, vary your study places. This will increase your ability to remember the information in the test setting.

Use assigned textbook or power point material to make an “easy” outline. Don’t worry about formal outlining. Just write down chapter titles, headings and subheading. Do not include details and study it for about 15 min after you have finished. This will help you create organization in your long term memory to get ready for the test. Then, when you study details, your brain will recognize where to “store” them, and when you take the test your brain will be able to find the information more easily. Its like putting shelves, drawers and hangers in your closet because finding a shirt is faster in an organized closet than a pile of clothes on the floor. This technique is very useful for essay tests as well as multiple choice. 






Make photocopies of any diagrams, boxes, or maps in your notes or book. White out the information and labels in the diagrams and then make at least 5 copies from each whited-out diagram. Then, use the original to practice filling in the blanks. After you do a couple of practice ones, start trying to do as much as you can without looking. Aim to do 2-3 complete diagrams without looking. A great visual method, this technique can help break up long, boring study sessions and gives you feedback on how you are doing in the days working up to the test.

One of the best studying techniques is to teach the material to someone else who is unfamiliar, or struggling, with the subject. It is amazing how much success this creates when it comes to doing well on tests. If you are a parent helping your child study, have them teach you the material. It sounds silly and he or she might be embarrassed to try, but it works. Make sure your “student” asks questions. Teaching someone else helps draw new connections and think about the material in more “big picture” ways. You can also sit down with the textbook and explain the pictures to your “student.”

Rent a movie. If you’re studying history, social studies, or science rent a documentary (not a fiction film) about the time period, make popcorn, and invite friends from your class to watch it with you. Parents can make it into a “study sleepover,” but make sure the movie is age appropriate. If you’re studying for a foreign language, many DVDs can be played in French or Spanish. Watch something you have seen before so that you can go without subtitles. Disney movies are awesome for this as you already know the plot and the grammar easier to follow.

If you are studying for math, go to the chapter reviews and do some problems that seem more difficult than what might be on the test. It will make the test material seem easier, and you will be able to take the test more quickly and with more confidence.

Another good study tip is to write out a list of bold words from textbooks and power point lectures. Then, as you read the material, add any other words you think might be important for the test, such as subheadings or key concepts. Use the glossary to make flashcards from your list and the text to fill in any definitions that are not in the glossary. Be efficient when studying with flashcards. When you have gotten one correct twice, take it out of the pile so that you only spend time studying what you don’t know.

Study in the shower
Don’t waste your shower time! To use this unusual study technique, stick a diagram, outline, or notes in a ziplock bag and tape it to a hanger. Then hang it in the shower so you can study and rinse at the same time.

Tips & Warnings
•    Use study techniques that you enjoy so that you will actually study for the test
•    Always be flexible – what works or is fun one day might not be the next
•    Try to use a couple of different tips for each test
•    Start early! Studying early lets you experiment while you’re not under pressure to figure out what works for you in that class

How Tos'

How to get better grades in Math

Math is one of the most challenging subjects in school for many people. Here are some tips and pointers to help you perform better in math courses, and help you get better grades.

Things You’ll Need:

  • Your brain
  • Raw Determination – a “Yes I Can Attitude”
  • Paper 
  • Pencils

Practice math! No matter what level math you are studying, the most important thing in succeeding at math is to practice. To some, math concepts come naturally, and to others, they comes more slowly. The best thing you can do in either case is to practice, practice, practice. Practicing can lead to more comfortable performance during tests which can help you get better grades in math.

Understand your homework! Lets say you are having trouble with algebra (or geometry, trigonometry, calculus, or linear algebra) and you have 15 problems assigned to you for homework. The best thing you can do to really help yourself in the long run is to really try to understand and finish all the assigned problems. Don’t just breeze through it just because your homework is graded on completion, rather than accuracy.

If you are still having trouble understanding a concept, or getting answers right, go to the back of your math book and see what answers are given to you. Then, without looking at the answers, try to solve extra problems that weren’t assigned to you and check your answers in the back.

You should always keep up with what you are learning in class, and not fall behind. In other words, even if you finish a homework assignment, make sure you know you understand it as soon as possible. This is because many concepts in mathematics build off of each other, so if you don’t understand something from an earlier date, it will make it harder to learn new concepts.

As for tests, if you can, try to take practice tests before your actual exam. This will help you get a feel for what exam problems are like for a given subject matter. During the test, take your time and do the problems you know how to do first, then go back and try to finish everything else. Hopefully, following these tips will lead to you getting better grades in math courses!

How Tos'

How to be a better test taker

Have you ever felt nervous and anxious before or during a test? You study for hours on end. You know the material inside and out. The test is in the bag….

You sit down, take one look at the test and totally freeze. You are not alone. there are many who suffer from test anxiety.

In this article, there are different tips that can help you become a better test taker. It also contains methods to help you stress less before and during your very important test.

Quick Tips

Things You’ll Need:
•    A good night’s sleep 
•    A healthy and hearty (high protein -low carbohydrate) breakfast the morning of the test. 
•    Ten deep breaths before opening the paper helps reduce adrenaline and cortisol (this chemical reduces memory).

It is always important to get a lot of sleep the night before the test. You want have clear and focused mind.

Know your stuff. Make sure you have studied all the material that this test covers. The more you know, the more confident you will feel.


The night before should not be the first time you are looking at the material. Try not to cram everything in the night before. It will be difficult to do well. All-night studying is a bad idea. This does not work! They just leave you very tired and it’s hard to concentrate when you are sleepy. Sleep your normal time or slightly earlier.

Try not to focus so much on how important this test is and the consequences you will face if you don’t do well. Just think of it as a bunch of questions that you are going to answer to the best to your ability.

Golden tip When Writing the Exam:

When faced with multiple choice questions, usually two out of the four questions are definitely NOT the answer. Cross them off immediately. Then you are left with two that could possibly be the answer. Usually there is one question that is close to the correct answer or could be the answer. Make the choice that answers the question best. Make sure you read the question carefully. Underline important key words and phrases that will help you understand what they are asking. Make sure you answer every question. If you leave it blank, it is definitely wrong! If you aren’t sure, make the best guess you can. You never know it may be the correct guess!

When you are faced with essay type questions, you should definitely use scrap paper and just write down everything you know about that topic and organize the information so you can understand it better. Think about how you want to organize your essay. Be sure you read the question carefully. Make sure you understand what they are asking. Answer the question to the best of your knowledge using the information you jotted down on your scrap paper. Make sure you back up your answer with examples. This will show your understanding of the material.

Great! You are at the last step! Always check your work. Make sure you have every question answered. Proofread your essay. Be certain you have answered every part of the question. Don’t forget, make sure your essay is well written and organized.

Study Tips

Ways to improve IQ

Challenging your brain improves your IQ.

IQ, also known as one’s Intelligence Quotient, is a term used to measure one’s intellectual capacity. If you want your IQ to be at optimal capacity, you must keep your brain stimulated. A higher IQ can get you better grades, a better job, more confidence and help you solve complex problems more efficiently. Raising your IQ takes a combination of mental and physical approaches.


Read every day. Reading expands your knowledge by exposing you to new ideas and new concepts. Your brain takes in these new concepts and synthesizes them so that you will be able to apply what you read later. Combine light reading with denser material to continually challenge your mind. Your vocabulary will expand and you will learn to make connections.


Write to further exercise your brain. Writing forces you to articulate what you have learned or are trying to express in your own words. It is like a personal review, as you convert your thoughts, ideas and emotions into more concrete forms. You can write personal letters to friends, essays for school or even summaries of what you have read. This will help you remember things better.


Exercise your body. Physical exercise increases blood flow to your brain. This helps your brain work faster, keeping you on point. You can choose what sort of exercise you wish to do. Running, weight lifting, yoga and just about any activity that will increase your heart rate is effective in also increasing your IQ. 


Eat a healthy diet. Keeping yourself physically fit benefits your mental capacity. Making sure you get your dosage of daily vitamins is beneficial. Eating fish will be especially helpful as fish are loaded with the same fatty acids that make up your brain. Your brain needs energy, so make sure to ingest lots of proteins and carbohydrates.


Listen to music. The University of California conducted a study where college students listening to Mozart raised their IQ scores by 9 points. Although this “Mozart Effect” has faced scrutiny, there is no argument that listening to music stimulates your brain. It can help relax you and keep you focused, which is key to attacking challenging problems. 

Study Tips

School organizational skills and Study tips

Concentrating on homework can be difficult for many people.

Good organization and study skills are crucial to maximizing your potential as a student. Whether you’re in 4th grade or graduate school, knowing the secrets to taking notes, studying and managing your time makes learning easier. Not everyone will be able to learn using the same techniques. Take the time to find out what works best for you.

Listen to study tips

Taking Notes

Always carry a notebook to class.
The first step to increasing your effectiveness as a learner is to make sure you are studying the right information. This starts in the classroom with note-taking. Don’t copy word-for-word from the text book. Your notes should only highlight the main points. Make sure to include samples and real-world examples. For math you should complete two to three problems in your notebook, with comments on each step. For science, you should translate any technical words into terms you understand. Your notes are for you; if you were teaching this information to someone else, how would you word it?

Asking Questions

Label your notes carefully to avoid confusion later.
Clarify any confusion in class. You may not have access to the necessary information and books when you are at home. Don’t be afraid to ask your teacher to explain or demonstrate anything that is unclear. Include these questions/answers in your notebook. Your teacher is there to teach you, but they aren’t mind readers. Be in charge of your own class experience.

Preparing the Night Before

Don’t bring unnecessary items to school; it’ll just weigh you down.
Prepare for school the night before. Make sure all of your writing utensils, tools, books and notes are in your backpack. If you have project materials to carry with you (posters, displays, models) set them against the front door or load them into your car the night before. Many people also find that having an outfit laid out and brown bag lunch prepared saves time getting ready. The less you have to worry about the morning of class the better.


Many schools provide students with simple agendas.
With doctor’s appointments, sports, extracurriculars and travel time, there’s already too few hours in the day. Adding homework and school projects to the equation makes scheduling an indispensable part of your organizational toolbox. Plan the coming week on Sunday. Make sure that you have listed all of your appointments and deadlines on your calendar or agenda. Google calendar is a free and easy way to track your family’s schedules. Be sure to leave space for recreational activities.

Divide and Conquer

When time is tight, the best way to tackle large projects is piece-by-piece. Whether you have to read a book or design a model rocket, make a list of the steps you need to take to complete the project. Look at your calendar and set smaller due dates to help guide your progress. For example, if you have to read a 100-page book in 10 days, read 10 pages a day.

Work Zone

Set up an area of your house as your work zone. This will be where you go to study and do homework. Make sure that everyone you live with knows where your study zone is, so they can avoid disturbing you. Remove distractions from your work area such as televisions, radios and toys. Try to study around the same time everyday; if it is a habit , you’ll be less likely to put it off.


Study and pay attention

Use your notebook to guide your studying. As you have already summarized the lesson, you will save time flipping through the text book looking for material. Outline the concepts you need to learn and focus on one at a time. If you get stuck, move on to the next topic, but be sure to try to tackle the problem again. Write down any questions you have, so that you can consult with the teacher later. Whether you have a test or not, spend some time—about 30 minutes—every night reviewing your day’s lessons. Talking with a parent about what you learned at school is a great way to improve your retention. 

How Tos', Study Tips

How to study for the big exam

Today, you find yourself, like so many other students, stressing out over an exam that will determine whether you pass or fail a class. So, you have turned off the football game and are preparing to study for that killer test. Your laptop is open, your notes are scattered across your desk, and you have every color of highlighter imaginable. How can you use these tools to get a decent grade? Here is a concise guide on how to obtain an A on your next exam.

Things You’ll Need:

•    Highlighter 
•    Notes 
•    Textbook 
•    Paper 

Pre Game Preparation: Look over your notes, and see what information you might struggle with. This is the information that needs the most time. Highlight important facts, people, numbers, and concepts, so that they will be easy to find later. Try to see if your book contains practice questions for each chapter. Can you answer them? If not, highlight them for another time. The most important thing during this period of time is to identify potential problems and important information.

Warm up: Rewrite or type out your notes. Reorganize them so that they will be easier to read and understand. This way, you will get a general feel of the material, and you will be able to find the information more quickly. If you find there is a section of your notes that you do not understand, open the book and look it up. Fill all holes in your information.

If you have a horrible memory for dates, or you can’t remember that Avogadro number is 6.02 X 10^23, there is an easy solution. Turning them into phone numbers will make them easier to remember. Using Avogadro number as an example, you could write it as 602-1023.

Look at the questions in your book. Answer them as completely and correctly as possible without flipping through the pages. Once you have completed this step, try to rewrite your answer with more information from the text. Then, if you still feel that you do not have a clear understanding of the answer, try the questions again.

– Good Study help

Test yourself. Predict questions that will be on the test, and write them down on a piece of paper. If you are studying for an English or History exam, include two short essay questions. This allows you to see what subjects you have a good understanding of, and which ones you still need to work on.

Ok, this one might sound a little goofy, but memorizing facts through songs and rhymes actually does work. Once, I had a teacher sing all of the Chemistry Elements to us. We never forgot it, no matter how hard we tried. Also, using mnemonics to memorize lists has proven to be a steadfast technique. For example, many beginner music students learn the mnemonic All Cows Eat Grass, to memorize musical notes.

Group study sessions are great when you do not understand a certain aspect of what you are studying. Study groups allow you to share your strengths and learn from others. Quiz each other, ask questions, and explain the key concepts.

Know your limits: If you feel like your brain is about to explode, take a break. A stressed out, tired mind is not going to register any of the information that you are studying. Take a little time to do something that you enjoy and helps you relax, or switch subjects for a little while. Also, if you feel that a technique is not working for you, don’t use it.

Make sure you get a good night’s sleep, eat a good meal in the morning, and try not to stress. If you really feel the need to cram some more information, wake up a little earlier than you usually do, but do not try to pull an all-nighter. Studies show that people perform their best when they have a good night’s rest and a full stomach.

Tips & Warnings

Not all of these steps will work for everyone. Experiment with them and see what works for you.

How Tos', Study Tips

How to study for any subject

Most students have heard about figuring out your learning style… visual, auditory, kinesthetic (learning by doing), etc. Most people, however, learn by way of a combination of styles. Yes, it is important to discern your primary learning style, but don’t sell the other styles – or yourself – short. Here are a few simple steps to tap into the most effective way to study any subject with your own unique “combination” style:

Do the assigned reading. This introduces you to concepts and purpose, and it is helpful for visual learners.

Go to class. Seriously… go to class. You will be introduced to the information once again, but this time through listening. Hmmm… haven’t you heard this before? Nope, that was your reading.

Take notes. The information goes in for the third time, as you write.

Complete your homework assignments. This is the fourth hit with the same information, but a different style. The act of applying information assists with information retention. You will find that you know a lot of the material since you have been exposed to it three times already. What you don’t know, you look up, and suddenly you are hit with the information a fifth time… and you haven’t even begun studying yet!

Test yourself… or have someone else test you. You’ll realize that you’ve already retained many of the key concepts… this means you can focus your studying on those items you haven’t quite gotten.

Repeat. This is where the studying actually begins. Your choice: re-write your notes, re-read your notes, choose additional chapter problems… whatever works best for you. Some people will choose to do all three. Others choose to re-read over and over until the information is basically memorized. No matter how you do it, the key here is repetition. You will probably find you already know most of the information because you have been exposed to it so many times.

Exercise. No joke. Exercise gets the blood moving through your body and supplies oxygen and nutrients to all of your systems, including your brain. It will help improve memory and aid in retention of concepts.

Test yourself again. You’ve pretty much got it down by now, don’t you?

Tips & Warnings

•    Create pictures, acronyms, rhymes, associations, and other mnemonics to help you remember lists, key words, etc.
•    Teach others the material… many people learn by teaching
•    Take breaks and rest well… give your mind a little down time

How Tos'

How to study for an important test

Studying has its rewards…

No matter how much time you spend studying, you can always fail an important test if you don’t have the right information. Important tests can create lot of stress if you feel that you might not be studying the right information. With some planning and directed studying, you may learn that studying for an important test is as easy as pouring a glass of water. Learning a few study tips can save you a lot of time.

Things You’ll Need:


Stop spending your time watching television or browsing the Internet. Instead, gather all the materials and information your teacher has given out for the past chapter or section.

Record important notes that your teacher repeats in class. Taking this action will reduce your preparation time, which means you could get right to studying earlier. Study your notes, because most of the things on your notes sheet are most likely going to be on the test.

Choose the information from your notes and books that you know are important and that you believe will be on the test. Underline it or copy it on another sheet. Start by going from one category to another that you have made in the last step. If your teacher has reviewed a topic or fact more than once, include this in your list.

Transfer the chosen information to flashcards by writing the question on one side and the answer on the other side.

Study the flashcards by making a stack with the question sides facing up. Attempt to answer each question before turning the card over to check whether you have answered it correctly.

Organize every worksheet, book and information notes into three categories: notes taken, book information and notes given by the teacher. Doing this will save time for future studying for specific tests.

Tips & Warnings

•    Never cheat on a test; this is a certain way to fail.

How Tos', Study Tips

How to study – Make exceptional grades

We are all rather intelligent people. But some of us know how to learn and some of us do not. Those who do, make those of us who don’t look weird. It’s time to fix that!

Most people will make the statement that they are a visual learner, or perhaps an auditory learner. What they mean is that they readily remember what they see visually or what they hear (auditory), respectively. But they are only talking about their main way to learn and not fully understanding how we all learn.

when you want something you’ve never had, you have to do something you’ve never done

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Have You Thought About This?

Why not accept the fact that we are all multi-sensory learners and then use all of our abilities in the learning process. This is a simple task that requires you to know and understand more about yourself.

When we sit in a classroom and are passive in our learning, we will not do well. When we are active, we will achieve. At least be active when you are studying at home or going over class notes for an exam or test. Here is how you can be active. With these very simple steps, you will become known for your superior learning ability in a nice way.

See and say at the same time. Read out loud so that you are involving both the senses of seeing and hearing at the same time. Visualize a word you are trying to learn to spell. Visualize the paragraph in the textbook you are studying. Write – don’t just underline – but write to get the kinesthetic/tactile/touch sense into play. If you are doing math, write with a finger on sandpaper. It works!

Learn your information paragraph by paragraph in your textbook. Go through a page and then close the book and go back over that page. Do you have it? If you think so, try making out simple questions as if you are the instructor. See how many questions you select will be on the exam or test.

Serious Tips & Warnings

•    Use your notes the same way you use the textbook. Learn them page by page.
•    You may find others wanting to study with you. Be ready to share your learning secrets.