On many occasions, students do not find a way to learn or memorize a certain topic; either by the difficulty of the same, the little interest that is had towards him or due to problems of attention or learning. For this, there are study techniques that will help the students to facilitate the learning of diverse subjects; which we will talk about throughout this post.
What are the study techniques and what are they?
The techniques or methods of study are strategies used to improve learning in different areas, which are highly necessary for greater performance in school or university. Practically any technique or strategy that allows to improve the skills of a person at the time of studying or memorizing content that will be evaluated, is considered as a study technique.
These strategies can be learned in a short period of time, since they are usually easy to apply; In addition, they can be used in practically all fields or areas. However, there are techniques that are applied in specific areas, since they were designed for that purpose or are the most recommended for that field.
On the other hand, although in most cases it was usual to let the student have control over their methods when studying; nowadays, more emphasis is being placed on the use of these techniques. The reason is that students who acquire knowledge on this topic, usually increase their academic performance; because it is common that even classes dedicated to study techniques are included in the first months of college.
What are the types of study methods?
There are several types of study techniques that can be used to improve learning. As we mentioned, some of them can be applied to any topic in general; while others have been designed specifically for specific areas. Next, we will mention the existing types and explain what each of them consists of.
You can find memorization techniques, communication skills, didactics, information condensation, images, acronyms, test strategies, text comprehension and many more. In turn, some of them are divided into several methods; so there is a great variety of types that can be used according to the field to be studied, the student’s abilities and their preferences.
Memorize the information to study
This type of study techniques are the most used, since it is something basic. When we study any information we usually repeat the reading, for example, which facilitates the learning of it. However, it is not about learning the written text at face value, but rather understanding what it is about and being able to acquire the necessary knowledge to be able to be used when answering any question related to the subject.
Many people think that studying is the most effective way to learn something, but nothing is further from reality. When knowledge is acquired in this way, it is often forgotten shortly after presenting the evaluation; In addition, in many cases when forgetting a part of the text, it is also difficult to remember the rest.
Use the PSQRST method
Having already mentioned the problems of the prior art, those that are based on communication skills are much more effective; since these allow to develop critical thinking. In this we can find the PQRST method, which by its English acronym is known as “Preview, Question, Read, Summary, and Test”, which would be translated as “Preview, Ask or Question, Read, Summarize and Evaluate”.
- First you should review the topic you want to learn.
- Then you will have to leave questions that you must be able to answer at the end of the study.
- Look for information that allows you to expand the information on the subject.
- Use various techniques or methods to make a summary.
- Finally, you should evaluate yourself by answering the questions asked previously.
Cards with other study techniques
The cards are used enormously by the students to record summarized or specific information on the subject to be treated. These can include both written and visual notes, so it is up to the student to choose the methods that will complement this technique. Normally, they are usually used for summaries or to formulate specific questions that they can then use to carry out a self-evaluation; On the other hand, in case of presenting an oral evaluation, these can serve as support material in difficult points to remember.
Mind maps or spider diagrams
These strategies are part of the condensation methods of information. They use short notes and keywords to summarize the information presented in the most important elements of the subject. It is one of the most used techniques and they usually teach it to us in the first years of primary education; which encourages creativity to relate images with concepts and thus have a visual summary.
Visual image techniques
There are people who learn more effectively by using visual tools or methods of study, which help to retain information more easily. Among them are also mental maps and the technique to memorize with drawings; which consists of using drawings created by students to recognize the acquired learning. For this, they must be created through the images that pass through the mind of the person at the time of reading the information, thus remembering the study much more easily.
Ideas can be represented with images making use of representation, similarity, semantic relation and free association.
- The representation is usually used to literally draw what is being said, such as a brain.
- Similarity, on the other hand, is normally used in terms that are said to be the same but are written differently. For example, draw a mouse (animal) when it refers to the device.
- The relationship is used most of the time for abstract ideas, such as drawing a heart to refer to love.
- Finally, the association is to use drawings that relate to the text; how to draw the Statue of Liberty to refer to the United States or New York.
It is one of the techniques of studies based on strategies for examinations, in which the underlining of different colors is used to represent different meanings. Black is used for the most important things in a question, red for definitions or terms that we must know and green for things that can be difficult to remember when making a test.
Understanding the text
Text comprehension is one of the most effective study methods, since within it we will find different study strategies that will allow us to understand the information that we wish to study. Among them we find the global reading and paragraphs, represent the read, memorize and apply.
- The global reading allows us to inform ourselves about the topic to be learned and to recognize if we have knowledge in this area. To apply it, it is enough to read the titles and subtitles of the content; being able to extend to read the first paragraph following each one of them.
- Paragraph reading gives us the possibility to recognize the main and secondary words and ideas. For this, we can use the marking of relevant words and the different types of underlining.
- Representation allows us to assimilate everything we have read; which we will express by means of the use of the summary or elaborating schemes with the main concepts, that is to say, making use of the known conceptual Map.
- Memorization is the ability to remember what is read, which should be explained by the preferred means (written or oral).
- Finally, the application is what allows us to remember what has been studied, something that happens when in specific situations we need to rescue this knowledge; which also allows us to look for new information that will help us expand our knowledge.
What are the most commonly used study techniques?
Once explained the aforementioned study methods, we will expand the information on each of the most used study techniques, such as underlining, notes, cards, mental or conceptual maps, tests or tests, brainstorming and mnemonic rules.
Underlining aims to highlight the main or primary ideas of a text. In this way the student will be able to remember what they have learned just by reading what they have underlined. To underline it is necessary to first understand the text and what should be highlighted what is extremely important. On the other hand, you can use both a highlighter and any pen to draw lines below these ideas or keywords.
The cards and notes
Once you have understood the material to study, you can create notes with the most relevant information in the text or with that which is difficult to remember. In the same way you can use the well-known cards, of which we spoke earlier referring to the name of “cards”.
Mental and conceptual maps
Depending on the subject and our learning skills (remember that there are people who learn better with visual material); you can make use of mental or conceptual maps (also known as schemas). The first will help us to relate the images and key words with the information to be studied; while the second allows recreating the information in a summarized way by using concepts and keywords. This method together with underlining are one of the first study techniques that we usually use while at school.
Make use of tests or tests
The tests or tests do not need to be defined for obvious reasons, but it is part of the study strategies that can help not only to evaluate our knowledge in different areas, but also to evaluate our learning ability. There are books that include small tests, as well as they can be searched on the internet to test our knowledge; In addition, it is also possible to create them ourselves or ask for help from an external person.
Rains of ideas
This is one of the less known study techniques, but with great efficiency. This method is a group tool that allows you to find new ideas on a topic. Due to the participation of several people, a great variety of ideas are usually found or explained in different ways, but with the same meaning; which will help improve learning and have several options to choose from at the time of an evaluation. In order to perform this technique, criticisms must be eliminated, all ideas must be written down and free expression allowed, as well as trying to find as many ideas as possible and also trying to combine or improve them.
Study techniques are fundamental tools at the time of study, especially for people who do not have an ability to memorize above average; which, as mentioned in the entry, besides being an advantage, can also be a problem in the future, since the use of learning the texts “literally” is easily forgotten. We hope that from now on you will use some of the methods explained and that studying is a much simpler process for you.