Study Tips

Written by: Marlee Ruark, Student Writer (English Major and Christian Studies Minor)

With finals coming up, we are all having to crunch down and study hard. I have always been really extra when it comes to studying because I try to push myself to do my best. But before I figured out what study tools worked best for me, I had no idea where to begin. I thought I would share some study tips that I have found throughout high school and college that might be beneficial to others. Before you go through my tips, it is important to know what type of learner you are. There are typically three types of learners: visual learners, auditory learners, and kinesthetic/tactile learners. Visual learners learn best by seeing, auditory learners learn best by listening, and kinesthetic learners learn best by doing. Take the test ( to discover what type of learner you are. After taking the test given above, I discovered that I am 35% visual, 35% auditory, and 30% tactile. Because of this, it is important that I make sure I use study tips that aid each area of learning. No wonder I have to use multiple forms of studying to be successful! 39BEDED8-9C68-4A50-9F34-CFDC42E66BD9


  • Read the Chapter Before Class
I have not always been one to read the chapter before class as most teachers push/expect us to do, but I have found that skimming through the chapter (if I do not have enough time to read it fully) before class helps out a ton. The professors reiterate what I read, so I learn the material first visually by reading, then again audibly. It is much easier to follow what the teacher is saying in class if I have exposed myself to the material beforehand. I can come to class prepared with questions I might have had from the chapter, and I will be prepared for any planned or pop quiz.
  • Teach Someone, and/ or Read Over Your Notes at the End of Each Day
Over the years, I have found that if I teach someone or verbally state the information I learned in class within 24 hours, I am more likely to recall it later on. In addition, if I read over the notes or chapter I was taught at the end of each day, I typically retain the information better later on. I advise everyone to do this. This method is helpful because instead of cramming all the information at one time, you will be more prepared throughout the semester and your cram session will just be a refresher.  


  • Take Good Notes
If I am not doodling or taking notes while the professor is talking, I cannot pay any attention to what is happening. As a result, I try to take notes that I will be able to read well when studying later, and I try to make my notes easy to picture in my head when I must recall the information. I know people who take notes in different colors, and that is a great tool. Personally, I like to stick with a black pen, but write in different fonts. I write headings in either cursive or all capital letters, I bold important points, and I typically take my notes bullet point style. This way, my notes are neat and easy to read when I am studying later, and it organizes the information in a logical way. I can picture my notes in my head as I am recalling the information because of the different fonts. Also, if you write the information as you hear it, you are more likely to recall it. This is because you are covering all three learning types: auditory by listening to the information being presented, visual by seeing the information written down, and kinesthetic/tactile by physically writing down the information.
  • Create Pictures, Graphs, and Charts
If you are a visual learner, it might even be easier for you to see the information you have to study if it is not in words. While I do not use this tip frequently because the content I study does not allow me to do so, I have found in the past that creating pictures and graphs for certain subject areas is beneficial. Based on the content you are studying, feel free to create graphs, charts, or pictures to better organize your information. You will be studying as you create them, and then the information will be organized in a more visually pleasing way for when you go back to studying later.  


  • Record Yourself to Quiz Yourself
I have used this technique since I was in middle school, and I usually find it very beneficial. If I have a study guide, vocabulary words, or something of that sort, I go onto Voice Memos on my iPhone and record myself as if I am quizzing someone. I ask a question, pause to give my (future) self time to answer the question, and then I state the answer to check myself in the future. As I record the voice memo, I find myself studying through the process since as I am recording, I am going over the information, reading it, and reciting it aloud. When I have finished recording, I can use it to quiz myself. I typically listen to the recording the morning of my exam while I get ready to see if I can recall the information and also so I can multitask and not have to sit and read the information to review. Because I live two and a half hours away, I also listen to these recordings as I am driving to and from school so I can get some studying in, since the only thing I can do is listen as I drive.
  • Create Rhymes or Songs
In the past, if the content I have studied allowed me to do so, I have turned the information into something catchy and memorable. For example, I set the books of the New Testament to a tune when I was younger, and I have remembered the order of them ever since. I also recently found a song that put the books of the Old Testament to a tune, and I now can recall each book in order. If I have to study an organized list, an order of a process, or things of that nature, I come up with sayings, rhymes, or songs to help me recall the information. Saying things to the tune of a popular song is typically beneficial.
  • Watch Videos that Explain Your Topic
While I do not use this tip a lot, I have found that watching videos for certain subject areas can be very helpful depending on the topic. An auditory learner learns best by hearing. Listening to multiple videos that explain a topic might help because each person might explain things differently, which allows exposure to different explanations that can help better your understand.
  • Pay Good Attention to Lectures
For an auditory learner, this shouldn’t be a problem. I have found that paying good attention while the professor is lecturing really helps, especially when they include information on tests that they spoke rather than what they derived from the study guide or textbook. From my personal experience, I have seen that teachers include bonus questions from class lectures rather than readings to make sure students were paying attention during class.
  • Avoid All Distractions and Study in a Quiet Space
Auditory learners get distracted by sounds since they learn by listening. Getting in a quiet space is important so there will not be any distractions.  


  • Do Things Hands On
If I am trying to learn the process of how to do something, I go through the process myself rather than just reading or watching. For math, I find it works better to work a problem out step-by-step as someone is showing me. Kinesthetic learners learn best by doing; touch, move, build, or draw what you learn.
  • Fidget While Studying
I have to fidget constantly. I tap my foot, chew gum, or bounce my leg while listening to a lecture or while studying. I get easily distracted if I am just sitting still. Having movement while learning or studying is helpful to tactile learners because they are most engaged while moving. These small movements are just enough to keep me engaged in what is going on.
  • Create Flashcards
Creating flashcards provides a more hands-on style. Rather than just listening to someone tell me the information or reading my notes, creating and studying flashcards are great ways to get things moving around. I study as I write them and as I quiz myself. Flashcards make it easier to separate terms and ideas into groups. I can separate the ideas I know from the ideas I do not know well, and I can also group them if they are similar. I tend to use this study tool especially when learning vocabulary words or terms with short explanations or definitions.
  • Take Frequent Study Breaks
If you are a kinesthetic learner, it is hard for you to study and stay focused for long periods of time. That’s okay! Study in small sections. I typically set goals for myself to make, and then reward myself with a break. Think “after I read these ten pages, I can get on my phone for ten minutes,” or even “if I can study this information for 30 minutes, I can get a snack after.” Just make sure that the breaks taken between studying aren’t longer than the time spent studying.  

While utilizing every study tip listed above might be unrealistic, I hope that you can find a few that work best for you. Do not be scared to try something new. The majority of these tips have helped me be successful throughout my high school and college career, and hopefully they can help you too.

Happy studying!

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