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.

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' 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

Listen to audio

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.