Types of study

There are 5 main types or reasons to study. In practice you will probably combine elements of all of these:

1. To gather information (formulating a complete set of notes method):

  • identify the information you need to learn
  • organise, condense and record this information in a format that promotes your learning
  • verify the completeness & accuracy of your notes

2. To learn information  (moving information from short to long term memory method):

  • repeated recitations of material
  • flashcards – ‘hard copy / paper based’ or app / web based
  • recall everything you can based on a keyword
  • place incorrect recalls in one pile and correctly recalled ones in another

3. To check learning

  • identify what has and has not been learned. This type of study requires a way to self-test method – for the material you think you have learned:
  • look at the main point only and recite / write everything you know
  • check for accuracy
  • if you recall accurately and completely 1st time you could consider this material learned
  • if you recall incorrectly or incompletely you know the material has not been learned fully

4. To refresh

  • prevents you from forgetting and requires regular review and reciting method:
  • prevent ‘fading’ of knowledge through regular material review
  • you could do this independently or as part of a study group
  • if you are an auditory learner, re-listen to your material 2–3 time per week

5. To improve learning skills

  • this is the most underdeveloped learning skill students possess method:
  • critically reflect on each test / exam to evaluate your study technique
  • identify which study methods (e.g. diagrams, flashcards, recital, mnemonics, visual techniques) result in the correct recall of information and vice versa
  • modify study skills that result in low scores / grades

 Main ways to improve learning skills

 There are 4 main ways in which you can improve your learning skills. 

  1. You should apply critical reflective learning to measure and assess how effective a given method of studying is for you. Your grades and how you feel all combine to provide you with an individualised study aid tool kit.
  2. Break down the effectiveness of your learning skills by identifying:
  • answers that were answered completely – ask yourself ‘what learning skills were used here?’
  • answers that were incorrect or where you lost points – ask yourself ‘what learning skills were used here?’

c. Modify / replace learning skills that resulted in lost points

d. Use all the available resources you have access to, for example:

  • study groups
  • app / web based systems
  • colleagues / lecturers
  • audio options
  • the tools and techniques given here