Many students, not just teens, have never been taught how to study.  If this is the case, knowing how to study will enhance your ability to not only do well on planned tests and quizzes, but knowing how to study will allow you to always be prepared in class.  Acing top quizzes and homework will skyrocket your self-esteem.

This study skill utilizes 5 steps: 

     Step 1:  Survey.  You should survey the entire reading assignment, looking at and thinking about all headings, topics, sub-topics and captions under pictures and drawings.  Surveying also includes reading any questions at the end of the chapter.

      Why do this?  This prepares you for the information that is covered in the chapter.  Knowing what the chapter covers will help you to focus on the material.

      Step 2:  Question.  Moving from heading or sub-heading to the next one, you should turn that heading into a question.  For example, if a heading within a textbook reads  “The History of Nigeria”, you might think to yourself the question, “What was the history of Nigeria like?”

     Why do this?  This forces you to focus on the main ideas in the section, helping with retention.

     Step 3:  Read.   With the question in mind, you should read the section looking for the answer.       

      Why do this?  Reading to find the answer to the specific question will help to maintain focus so you do not reach the end of the section with no clue as to what you’ve just read.

      Step 4:  Recite.  This is simply saying back to yourself what the answer was to the question formed.  At this point, it is helpful to jot down brief notes that answer the question.

      Why do this?  This step forces you to think about the information you’ve just discovered, and this knowledge will then be placed into your short-term memory.

Steps 2, 3 and 4 should be repeated for the entire length of the assignment, questioning, reading and reciting and writing the answer to the questions in your notes until the end of the section.  At this point, you would have briefly outlined the reading assignment while cementing the knowledge in your memory.  In order to perform this effectively, notes must be in your own words and thoughts and should be brief enough to do it by memory.

One trap at this point will be that you might want to copy the reading passage.  If you cannot jot down notes from your memory, you should return to the section, question the topic and find the answer, and then write it down, keeping very brief and without looking at the reading passage. This will help you to keep focus and remember what you’ve just read.

      Step 5:  Review.  When the entire reading section is completed, you should return to the beginning and, moving from topic to topic, question and recite the answer, return to the material if it has been forgotten, and review the entire assignment in this manner, using the notes you’ve jotted down.

      Why do this?  This final step will enable you to move the information into your long-term memory, retaining it not just for the chapter or unit test, but for your own knowledge base.

This technique may feel like it takes longer, but the outcome is that you will remember the material, you will be able to pass any unannounced quizzes or tests, and cramming will not be necessary when the time arrives for the exam.  You will merely need to review the material.

Being prepared for anything in school certainly boosts your self-esteem as well as grades, and you will enjoy school much more when you feel you’re doing a good job academically.