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Study Skills Checklist

Study Skills:  Study Smarter Not Harder


  • Repeat to remember. Study and practice using the information regularly
  • Talk out loud about what you’re learning. For example, explain out loud to a friend, your goldfish, or yourself.
  • Review notes and readings within 24 hours of learning the information.
  • Use mnemonic devices such as acronyms and acrostics.
  • Make up songs that will help you remember important information.
  • Associate new information with information that is already familiar to you.
  • Create colorful visuals that correlate with new information you learn.
  • Use flash cards to memorize vocabulary terms.

Note Taking

  • Focus in class. Avoid all distractions (put your cell phone away!!)
  • Use neat handwriting.
  • Leave space in between main points to fill in later.
  • Review your notes within 24 hours and add key words, visuals, and other tools that will help you summarize, understand and recall information.
  • Identify topics you have difficulty understanding with a “?” or another symbol – review these topics with your tutor or during professor’s office hours.
  • If you fall behind when taking notes, leave blank space and get the notes from a classmate or the instructor after class.
  • Use a binder and loose leaf paper (writing by hand improves memory).
  • Differentiate between essential and non-essential information in lectures.


  • Identify at least three concepts, strategies, or tasks that you can learn from each course you take and determine why the information is important.
  • Set challenging, but realistic goals for each course every semester.
  • Introduce yourself to your instructors.
  • Introduce yourself to at least one person in every class and exchange contact information with that person.
  • Identify study partners that you can count on if you need help or want to schedule consistent reviews.
  • Locate a distraction-free study environment.
  • Identify your strengths and weaknesses as a student.
  • Keep track of your grades and semester and cumulative GPAs.


  • Preview the chapter before you read it. Pay special attention to the bolded words, definitions, and any pictures or diagrams in the chapter
  • Read the chapter introduction and any learning outcomes, if available.
  • Break large reading assignments into smaller chunks.
  • Ask questions about the material before you read the chapter, and then work to answer those questions as you read.
  • Underline or highlight 10% or less of the reading assignment.
  • Review what you have read within 24 hours.
  • If you find words you are unsure of, use a dictionary or online resources.
  • Read summaries at the end of each section or chapter, if available.
  • Complete practice quizzes at the end of each chapter, if available.

Test Taking

  • Test Prep
    • Review material daily, weekly, and monthly.
    • Predict test questions.
    • Ask the instructor what to expect on the exam.
    • Form study groups.
    • Study in advance. Avoid taking in any new material the night before the exam.
    • Test yourself before the exam to be sure that you know the material.
  • During the Test
    • Read the test directions carefully.
    • Scan the entire exam and plan your time accordingly.
  • After the Test
    • Review the exam after it is returned.
    • Conduct a post-exam survey.
    • Talk with the professor about questions you missed on the exam.

Time Management

  • Maintain an assignment calendar.
  • Schedule your study time.
  • Plan to study two hours outside of class for every hour in class.
  • Create prioritized to-do lists.
  • Use a planner.
  • Create balance between academics, work, and social time.

Study Smarter Not Harder