Study Skills

One of the most important, but seldom taught subjects, is how to study. Study skills are any method a student employs to help them learn material and demonstrate that they know the material. These skills may include note taking methods, memorization methods, annotation skills, homework strategies, and time management. Teachers often incorporate study skills into their daily lessons, but they don't think to take the time to formally "teach" these methods. This is where I come in. I analyze each student's learning style and show them specific study skills that utilize modern psychology and learning techniques in order to help them achieve their potential.

The Psychology of Learning

There's been a push throughout colleges and some highschools to utilize the Ebbinghaus forgetting curve for optimal learning. The idea is that reviewing content about five to seven days after initial learning will dramatically increase retention rates. In addition, any review should be done in the form of self-testing. Reviewing notes, reading the textbook, or watching review videos are great, but there is an overwhelming amount of evidence that shows self-testing helps memory far more than other means of study because it requires recall, connecting information to other prior knowledge, and a deeper level of encoding that sticks with you longer.

According to the forgetting curve, information reviewed four times over a month will be about 80% recollected, verses 50%, 30%, 10%, and 5% for one fewer review session down to the initial learning, respectively.


As a tutor, it is my job to help students test themselves on not only recently learned material, but recent material that they would otherwise forget. Assuming, as most students do, a learner learns material, reviews it once before a test, and then takes a test, their recollection of the material will be about 30% if the learning is spaced out over a week. The issue with classic schooling and study habits is both the downtime between chapter tests and a final, and a lack of solid review throughout the year.

Let's put a weekly session in the mix, where I provide test-like questions that spur recall and deeper encoding. The content is reviewed weekly, about four times a month, in addition to the two or three normal increments of study. This pattern will result in an 80% recollection rate over the course of a month, and less forgetting over time.

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