The Best Study Methods That Help Students Retain Information

The ability  to remember information can greatly impact students’ success in their academic pursuits. When a student can recall key information from previous lessons, students perform better on their tests and maintain a stronger comprehension of the subject.

Here are some of the best study methods to help your students retain the information that you’ve provided them during class or studying at home.


Section Off Study Periods into Bite-Size Chunks

Information retention starts to diminish after 25-30 minutes of concentration. Suggest to your students  that they set a timer for 30 minutes to focus entirely on the key details and core concepts of their lesson. After the timer goes off, the student should get up and take a small break to give their minds a chance to relax. Then the student can jump back into another 30-minute study session.

Create Dedicated Study Areas

The trap for many students  is that they study wherever it’s convenient. While on one hand you want it to be very easy for students to jump into studying, it can be helpful to designate  areas for studying that are separate from other parts of their life.

It can be detrimental to memory retention to attempt to study where one does other activities like sleep, play videogames, watch TV, and so on. The ideal scenario would be to have a desk meant exclusively for academic work.

Use Effective Note-Taking Strategies

Every student is unique and although you can recommend note-taking strategies, it’s up to the students to know what process works the best for them.

For example, some students will use a consistent template, while others may just write as much as they can during class and go back later to highlight key sections. Some students may make flashcards or even draw out confusing concepts.  You can offer feedback throughout the year, paying attention to major tests or essays to help them figure out if their current methods are effective, and possibly figure out other strategies that would also work.

Try “Teaching” the Content to Someone Else

One of the best ways to test one’s own understanding on a topic is to explain it to someone else. Students can “teach” lessons to their peers as part of an in-class activity, or go home and “teach” siblings, parents, or friends what they have learned as a strategy to see how much they are able to remember on their own.

Avoid Cramming for a Test

Although it can be tempting for students to stack up all of their textbooks, notes, and assignments and wait until the day before a big test to study, this can be ineffective. Anxiety may be higher for students when they don’t feel confident about the material and know they have to spend long hours trying to get a better grasp of it. Reviewing core ideas from the lessons periodically each week can help to improve overall comprehension of the topics before there’s a need to cram.

Discussing study habits with your students allows for an opportunity to engage in why such skills will come in handy in the future. Test these strategies with your students, and continue to check back on the TCI blog for other ways to encourage student learning in and out of the classroom.