Choose the Right Study Strategy

Passive Strategies:

don’t require you to think about the material deeply leading to superficial understanding of the concepts. Examples include:

  • Flashcards (sometimes!)
  • Rewriting notes
  • Rereading chapter summaries
  • Looking over chapter outlines
  • Rereading textbook
  • Reviewing highlighted material from your textbook

Active Strategies:

require you to think about and reorganize information to promote long term understanding of concepts more deeply. Examples include:

  • Explaining material in your own words, from memory, without using your book
  • Developing a concept map or a flow chart to reorganize the material
  • Answering practice questions on the material (self-developed or from textbook or old tests) – avoid “pattern matching”
  • Relating theories to made up stories or real life, personal examples
  • Looking at the charts and diagrams in your textbook and explaining what is going on in your own words – “break” diagrams
  • Answering Higher Order Thinking Questions – Why? How? What if?

Learn more tips and strategies in our online video series or by scheduling an individual academic coaching session.

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