What is a Study Skill?
Definition of a study skill: Study skills can also be called as study strategies and are defined as approaches which are employed while learning. Study skills can also be defined as an array of study skills, which may tackle the process of organizing and taking in new information, retaining information, or even dealing with assessments (Preston, 2001). Broadly speaking, study skills are any skills applied while studying to boost an individual’s ability to study and hence pass the exams. They are therefore generally vital to student’s success in their school work, and are hence considered as essential in acquiring excellent grades. They are also useful in the learning life of an individual, either school work or throughout one's life.
Where do Study skills come from?
Study skills come from different areas of learning. These different areas may be from learning from study skills books and guides, from teachers/ instructors, friends and parent’s advice, emulation from others among other areas. However, the best, study skills and their tips always come from those people who have used them and through those study skills found them to work effectively for them.
Different types of study skills
There are no two individuals who have similar study skills. The type of study skills that work for one individual may not work for another and vice versa. There are different types of study skills used by learners. This include; commitment to being a successful student, time management, note taking, listening skills, task management, test taking, studying, writing – communication skills, using flash cards, acronyms., mnemonics among other study skills. However, in this paper, we only study time management, flash cards, and using acronyms.
Time management: Time management is very important in study skills. When you know how to manage your time you gain control, rather than busily working here, there, and everywhere (and not getting much done anywhere), effective time management helps you to choose what to work on and when; this is essential if you're to achieve anything of any real worth (Kranyik & Florence 1963).
This include; preparing term calendar, weekly schedule, keeping a diary where one writes everything in it and take it everywhere one goes, keeping a time planner to enable one to know what he/she to do at what time, writing all deadlines in ones diary and especially on the right date, planning ahead and sticking to a schedule. Also, it is important for one to decide what he or she want to accomplish and the duration he or she will spend on every assignment or subject, then break one’s workload into different small manageable work. Procrastination should be avoided in time management as it only puts off various important tasks in study skills. In the term calendar, one should include/record school assignment/ activities and out of school activities separately.
Also, it is important for the time management schedule to take into consideration things like; review your class notes from the previous week to see if you need to add any school activities, adding any out-of-school activities in which you will be involved during the week and be sure to include times for completing assignments, working on projects, and studying for tests as well as taking breaks and extra curricula activities (Kranyik & Florence 1963).
Flash Cards are visual cues on cards which have numerous uses in teaching and learning, and which can also used for revision; they are a powerful tool that can help students remember information such as the meanings of vocabulary words, mathematical formulas, history facts, and the correct spelling of words (Preston, 2001). Students usually make their own flash cards for filling, revision taking writing short summaries and other uses for learning and retaining knowledge.
Flash cards also help one to choose the most important facts or concepts from each chapter one reads or lecture attended, help in using one’s own words unless a specific definition is required as the students labels the cards with a subject heading and date, to be able to put them into categories for various types of quizzes and tests (Preston, 2001). Flash cards therefore helps a student take advantage of the short periods of time that he or she has throughout the day due to their portability due to small size. Also, due to their separate and discrete nature, they have the advantage of allowing students to re-order them, pick a selection to read over, or choose randomly to for self-testing (Kranyik & Florence 1963).
Acronyms: This are basically a collection of the first letters of the items you need to memorize (Kranyik & Florence 1963). One is required to write down all the items that one need to remember. Then, one takes all the first/begining letters of every item and then form/create a word which is easily remembered. If there exist no possible combination which can be turned out into a word, one can therefore arrange them in a fashion which will be easily remembered. For instance, many people use acronyms in several subjects such as in mathematics to remember the proper way of taking action in equations, as one is needed to do things in the right order – parenthesis, exponents, multiplication, division, addition and subtraction, or PEMDAS for short (Kranyik & Florence 1963).
For one to use the acronym in study skills, one should; write the facts one need to remember, underline the first letter of each fact and If there is more than one word in a fact, underline the first letter of only the first word in the fact and finally, arrange the underlined letters to form an acronym that is a real word or a nonsense word you can pronounce (Tamilo Books, 2010).
How to pick a study skill?
To pick the best study skills, evaluate what type of a learner you are. Are you a slow, moderate or fast learner? Also evaluate what type of study skills matches with your learning category and pace. Consult your teacher on what type of study skill is the best before picking.
For instance, I am a moderate learner if not a fast learner. I do not forget some taught skills easily especially through revision. For now, I do my study skills and especially using time management. However, I am also committed to being a successful student, take notes, using listening skills, task management, test taking, and studying. I however would like to try using acronyms and flash cards.
What study skills can do for you?
Broadly speaking, all types of study skills help build individuals learning skills and boost their ability to study and pass their exams. For instance, study skills have helped me a lot in my time management. To begin with, I am now capable to organizing my time well, set reasonable and timeliness goals, break big tasks into different sub-tasks as well as schedule each task, complete assignments on time, work on different assignments daily, arrive on time and also reward myself after studying.
In addition, I have also improved in my note taking skills; taking notes when its important to recall what the teacher said, using teacher’s cues to guide me in note taking, taking abbreviated notes, writing legible notes, labeling and appending dates on notes, taking notes on assignments and periodically reviewing my notes to make sure I understand well. Due to better study skills, I have been able to approach my exams with courage and equipped with adequate information hence improving my grades.
Kranyik, R. & Florence V. (1963). How to Teach Study Skills, New York, NY: W. H. Teacher’s Practical Press.
Preston, R. (2001). Teaching Study Habits and Skills, Rinehart. New York, NY: The National Academy of Sciences.
Tamilo Books. (2010). Word Identification-Acronyms. Retrieved from