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Study Effectively

What does effective studying mean?

Effective studying mean that you are learning actively from texts, readings, lectures, and labs. Active learning means you are engaged with the content – understanding it, absorbing it, questioning it, and connecting it to the content from other parts of the course.

We've included below several of our favourite strategies for studying effectively.

If you have questions about how to adapt these strategies to your courses or if you'd like more information and techniques to study effectively, you can book an appointment to meet with a learning specialist or learning peer helper.

Use active study strategies

Use your senses, think outside the box, and test your recall to help you learn course material thoroughly and understand it at a deeper level.

  • Teach material to someone else. This is one of the best ways to learn it yourself.
  • Create your own slides to demonstrate your understanding of a concept or theme in the course. 
  • Use concept maps or matrix charts to emphasize the relationships between course concepts and to study in a non-linear format.
  • Create a condensed one- or two-page study guide of course material. This will help you separate key concepts from small details.
  • Verbalize information instead of reading silently: this increases sensory input to the brain.
  • Use the 3 R's: Read, Write and Recite the material.

Predict and answer test questions

Predicting questions and answering them will help you spend time practicing using course material, rather than just reading through it. It's also a good way to identify what you know and don't know.

  • Use the course outline, quizzes, course notes and other materials to predict test questions.
  • Stay away from simple questions that ask you to repeat knowledge. Try using verbs like "apply," "evaluate," or "justify" to create questions that aim for a deeper level of understanding.
  • Create questions that emphasize the relationships between course topics. Can you choose two or three course concepts at random and create a test question that integrates the concepts?
  • Create questions with a study partner or study group. Their perspectives will help generate a variety of possible questions.
  • Practice answering questions to test your recall of knowledge.

Find a study partner or study group

Working with someone else can give you a different perspective on course materials, and a lot can be accomplished by sharing skills and resources with others.

For more information

Specific study methods can help you increase your active learning, as can approaching your reading with thought and analysis. The following pages have information on methods to help you study effectively:

Learning online

  • Read Online Learning for strategies for studying and maintaining motivation in an online environment.

Reading techniques

Methods for integrating and organizing course content

Strategies to maintain focus

Resources to help with studying

Guide: Master Time ManagementGuide: Study EffectivelyGuide: Succeed at Exams

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