5 Study Methods That Have Proven Effective Through Research

One of the main roles of a teacher is to make a student’s learning process smooth, effective and productive. This will be good for both the student and the teacher since the performance levels are greatly boosted. In line with this, a teacher can provide valuable guidance to learners through their learning process by helping them avoid poor study techniques and promote effective ones. As a result, students’ performance outcome rises accordingly.

Many students have a popular belief that the more time they spend studying, the higher the chances of becoming academic gurus. However, this is usually not the case. Studies have proven that top students spend little time studying but they do it more effectively. Therefore, teachers can help students learn better by providing more effective learning techniques for them to master.


With the current wave of social media adoption and computerized diversions, numerous students and grownups consider doing several tasks concurrently. The fruitfulness of multitasking has for a long time been a pipedream since much of the time went through is squandered on setting exchanges on context. This way the brain gets to reorganize and refocus.

There’s an equation that gives a logical relationship between work, focus and time. It shows that the amount of work done within a given duration of time depends directly on the magnitude of focus. For instance, a learner who wants to accomplish a certain task but is constantly getting distracted by some social media texts will possibly not achieve satisfactory results. The output will be relatively less than the input invested, in this case, time.

Meanwhile, a student who puts a lot of concentration on the task at hand will have higher chances of achieving sufficient results within a short period.

The main difference between the top students and the average ones lies in proper time management skills. The former chooses to avoid multitasking at all costs, and instead focuses on single tasks but with full concentration. They generally avoid any form of distraction when performing a task. They apply this technique when studying, leading to proper absorption and retention of knowledge.


Numerous students are susceptible to applying learning techniques that consume a great deal of time since they seem to result in great mastery of the subject. They immediately get proficient in the topics and fail to remember the content sometime later because the learning method did not promise a long-term grasp of knowledge. This results in poor test results whereas a lot of time was spent during preparations. Eventually, the student loses.

The following are some of the ineffective methods of learning:

  • Spending a lot of time studying.
  • Spending hours reading up on a single subject and trying to memorize the content by spelling out the phrases in a repetitive manner. This method is known as massed practice.
  • Looking into a single topic several times before transiting on to the next, is popularly known as blocked practice.
  • Repetitive reading of texts.
  • Highlighting and reviewing important sections of a text. 
  • Review of notes.


Studies have proven that the methods listed below increase the rate of knowledge retention over time and increase the sustainability of learning environments when embraced by students. They are not easy to adopt and initially reduce the pace of learning. But with constant application, they gradually boost the student’s mastery of the field of study. They have proven to be more beneficial in promoting long-term retention than ineffective methods. The following are the research-backed methods:

1. Taking pre-tests.

Exploring questions on a given subject before learning the subject itself has proven to boost prospective learning abilities in students. A student who gets early exposure to quizzes about a given topic will find it easier to grasp the content of the said topic during study time. 

2. Learning within regular time intervals

Studying a concept at different intervals of time is more effective than trying to grasp large volumes of information in a single sitting. This is possible if the study sessions are carried out consistently and frequently. The massed practice attracts fatigue and boredom as soon as you hit your absorption threshold. Although the spaced practice is effective for long-term knowledge retention, it makes studied content easily forgettable and reacquiring it is usually difficult.

Another way of enhancing the effectiveness of spaced practice is via the use of flashcards. The creation of varied piles during the review of flashcards is paramount for students. It is advisable to review cards that are easier to handle after three days while the more complicated ones should be reviewed after two days. Finally, those that they failed to answer correctly ought to be reviewed the following day.

3. Personal assessment

Many students don’t usually welcome the idea of taking tests. But in this case, the tests are a perfect way of determining retention and comprehension levels in a student. It even gets better when done at personal levels. Teachers should therefore motivate their students to give themselves sets of random questions after learning a concept. As they study, they should be thinking of questions to ask during the test.

These quizzes should be a norm during revision sessions, as they allow the student to gain a firm grip on the concept.

4. Interleaving practice

Some students may develop a lot of confidence in the blocked practise technique when studying complex equations and problems. It assures most students of mastery of the subject. However, there exists a more fruitful way of studying that entails dwelling on problems with similar structures or within the same field of study until you exhaust them. You will have to cluster the problems in terms of structure and complexity and then work on them one from each cluster at a time. Use different strategies to work on every cluster. This method is more effective than working on each cluster at a time.

5. Paraphrasing 

Many of us have read a few paragraphs in a textbook only to realize that we didn’t retain a single concept or key point presented in those paragraphs. To show your students how to combat this, have them utilize intentional learning strategies. These include relating what is being learned to prior knowledge, thinking about how they would explain the content to a 5-year-old, and reflecting on and asking questions about the content

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