Are you trying to teach your students how to study? Have you sat at your desk and marked their exams, only to think, Geez, did they study at all?
I know I have. So I went in search of videos to show students study skills examples. Because, for whatever reason, my explanations of how to study better were just not working and I hoped that using videos would help my students better understand effective study skills.
And, with the growth of digital and distance learning at the moment, as well as asynchronous learning, using videos is a great way to ensure you are catering to students both inside and outside the classroom.
Best of all, these videos are free. Not a penny and all on YouTube. Best of all, many of them model how to complete study skills such as
- taking notes
- researching for papers
- organizing time to study
- managing procrastination and concentration
- prioritizing reading
- planning and organizing study tasks.
- maintaining a healthy body and mind
If you’ve seen any of the CrashCourse Study Skills videos, you’ll be familiar with both Thomas Frank (who presented) and some of the tips outlined in this video. The series is basically a study skills checklist presented in video form.
The first main study skill that Thomas Frank suggests in this video is spaced repetition. This study skill has the strongest evidence for information retention, and Frank shows two different examples of how to use this study skill.
- Using websites such as Anki, Quizlet, and Tinycards to create digital flashcards that the website automatically spaces out during practice
- Using index cards and a system such as as the Leitner System of spaced learning
Another study skill example that Thomas Frank shows in this video is to study in short, concentrated bursts.
Frank then suggests using the Pomodoro technique and setting a timer for a study session. He also gives examples of how to use the study skill tip using websites such as tomato timer.
Study tips not included in the CrashCourse videos, but included in the thirteen study tips include:
- try easier problems when you get stuck on difficult problems, as the difficulty often comes from the combination of concepts
- using mnemonics such as rhymes, acronyms, stories, or songs to remember information
- interleaving: switching between types of problems and concepts (to prevent wasting time by ‘overlearning’ one concept or problem)
- going for a walk after a long study session so your brain can use both focused (while studying) and diffused (while walking) modes of thinking
- do a few review sessions in a group AND individually
- use study sounds that work for you
- protect your sleep as your brain can’t encode memories when you are sleep-deprived
This 9-minute study tips video may resonate with your students because the presenter is so young.
John Fish’s tips boil down to three main ideas: right body and right mind, right environment, and right work.
- Right body and right mind: as a part of your body, you need to take care of your body to take care of your mind. Basically, eat well, do a small amount of exercise to maintain mental clarity, and get enough sleep.
- Right environment: study in the same spot with the same ‘cues’. His study skills example of a ‘cue’ is studying at his desk with a cup of tea while playing his study sounds.
- Right work: be efficient with your time and focused with your energy (using the Pomodoro technique), set goals for study sessions, keep track of what you need to do, and prioritize your work.
This video is good for showing students how physical health and mental mindset can affect their ability to study.
Scott Bruckner, Organizing Your Study Time
Part of a long series of free study skills videos uploaded by academic learning instructor Scott Brukner from Long Beach City College, these two videos are about organizing study time effectively (part 1 here and part 2 here)
My husband is currently studying and he recommended these videos.
He was so frustrated, that (in his words), ‘I’ve done three university degrees, and nobody ever taught me how to study’. Until he found these videos, that is.
Both free study skills videos are over 45 minutes long, so they will not be suitable for every class. The videos are targeted at college- or university-level students so would be most useful for older students aiming for college or university.
Throughout the videos, he gives examples of study skills such as organizing your study time effectively.
He demonstrates using a calendar and timetable to block off times unavailable to study due to work commitments, family commitments, and sporting commitments.
Then, he shows students how to create a study plan for the times that students have available to study.
The study tips are not ground-breaking and cover much of the content of previous videos. But they are comprehensive and detailed.
And while many of the study skills examples are likely to have been covered in high school, sometimes exposure to the ideas in a different setting can finally make it ‘click’.
Maybe it’s a matter of people paying more attention because they’re paying for the class, or they are just in a more receptive frame of mind.
How can I find the time to teach study skills on top of a crowded curriculum?
Ok, I hear you. You have a million things to teach, assessments to grade, planning to do, and parents to contact. How are you ever going to squeeze study skills instruction into your crowded curriculum and non-existent planning time?
A great way to teach study skills and show students examples of how to study effectively is to show videos.
This post has several excellent videos to start with, but others include the CrashCourse Study Skills videos, available free on YouTube.
CrashCourse also has some Study Hall videos dealing with written composition.
The Study Hall series is also great if you teach rhetoric, editing, quoting and citing, and critical thinking, and developing arguments. But these videos are most suited to university- or college-bound students.
It doesn’t have to take a long time to teach study skills. And while it is one more thing to squeeze in, the benefits of explicit instruction for academic skills such as note-taking, planning and organization, writing essays, and studying for exams are well worth it.
How can I use this knowledge in my classroom?
So, you’re convinced, you want to teach study skills in your classroom, but you’re not sure how to start.
The list below gives some examples of ways you can implement this in your classroom or help students apply it in their lives:
- Give pop quizzes that periodically review material so students are forced to try and recall ‘forgotten’ information
- Model how to create a study calendar for students and then give them class time to plan their own
- Scaffold the process of completing longer assessments such as research essays by giving students approximate dates of when they should complete each step
- Get students to create flashcards of questions/answers on index cards as exit tickets and then periodically hand them out and make them answer 5 before they can leave class, go to the bathroom, or do instead of homework that night
- Get students to explain a concept as if they were teaching it to their baby brother or sister
- Model the technique of elaboration by having class discussions and/or mind-mapping
- Have students journal about similar topics at intervals throughout the unit. One might be a brain dump of what they already know at the start of the term. This might be followed by a revision after they’ve learned some content. Finally, they might do a written response at the end of the unit.
- Get students to create visual notes
Want more examples of study skills to teach your middle or high school students?
Want more examples of study skills to teach your middle or high school students?
My blog posts with study skills ideas:
- 8 awesome reasons to focus on study skills in ELA
- Avoiding procrastination: 10 tips to teach your students how to stop procrastinating
- What is metacognitive strategy? Plus 6 easy tips for teachers to use it
- Fear of test taking: 7 tips to help your students overcome test anxiety
- Spaced repetition: what is it and how to use it in your classroom?
- Teaching students to study: 7 fast + easy tips
- 7 Easy tips to teach tweens and teens how to manage study time
- 7 fast and easy ideas for teaching study skills
- 9 quick and easy study skills lesson plans for high school
Check out these other blog posts and websites:
- Two excellent blog posts by Cult of Pedagogy about research-baked study skills are: 6 powerful learning strategies and 4 research-backed strategies every teacher should be using
- Two cognitive psychological scientists created The Learning Scientists website which publishes infographics, videos, and podcasts about how to learn
If you’re looking for study skills activities…
- Check out this study skills worksheet bundle with visual note-taking worksheets for all ten of the Crash Course Study Skills videos (or you can get them here on TPT).
- Check out this research skills worksheet bundle with visual note-taking worksheets for the Crash Course Navigating Digital Information series (or you can get them here on TPT)
Last updated: 3/1/24