Students need to have study skills to exceed at a college level

Evidence-based learning strategies are key to getting better grades

While in UNIV 150, we had a speaker come to our class to talk about evidence-based learning strategies. Dr. Katie Wissman from the Psychology department discussed our study skills and how to improve upon them. 

I know as a freshman last year, I didn’t have very many tests that weren’t open-note. This year is a completely different ball game: we must study for our tests. 

This might be a struggle for some of you, as it is for me. For freshmen, I imagine that you are stressing about ways to study and how to start good studying habits. Don’t worry, I’m about to share some tips with you.

Concrete examples 

To understand key term definitions, you can try using concrete examples. This is when you study examples of abstract concepts. In other words, you must know what the definition is and apply it to some area of your life.

By applying it to an area of your life, you are more likely to remember it. You could even put this key term in a sentence that makes sense to you. It doesn’t matter if this sentence makes sense to anyone else, just if it makes sense to you, and you are ready to ace it when it comes to the test.  

Dual coding 

A phenomenon whereby people are exposed to a stimulus more positively, they evaluate that stimulus. An example of dual coding is when your roommate frequently plays repeated songs through their speaker, you begin to like those songs. To use dual coding, you can find visuals that go along with the to-be learned information. You can also incorporate images into your notes that may help you remember the term.  


This is adding new information to an existing memory. To use elaboration, try practicing and explaining concepts to yourself or to a friend. It might also be helpful to think about how the lecture relates to something you already know or have  experienced.  


This is practicing different kinds of problems together in an intermixed order.  For example, do a few math problems and then study for that exam for a little bit. Then go back to the math problems and repeat. 

Interleaving works when you study more than one idea or topic at a time. It would also be beneficial to map out a study schedule in which you think about when you are going to study and how you are going to study different topics in one sitting, as well as for how long you will study each topic.  

Metacognitive reflection 

This is planning, monitoring and evaluating your learning. Engage in critical thinking. Come up with a game plan on how you are going to do well on that exam. To monitor and evaluate, make time to reflect on what you learned in that class.  By going over what you learned at the end of the day, you are going to be more likely to recall the information. 

Retrieval practice 

This could be using flashcards, taking practice tests that are provided in your textbook, writing down anything you can remember from your lecture or practicing recalling what you need to know or taking notes on.  

Spaced practice 

This is when you are not slamming your studying until the night before the test. To use spaced practice, map out when you will study and go with that plan. Study in small increments, rather than just the night before.  

Although these are just a few practices I learned in my UNIV 150 class, there are other ways out there to study as well. Keep in mind that everyone studies differently and at a different pace.  

For me, I like to use spaced practice. Every night before I go to bed, I look over the information that is going to be on the exam and do the same thing in the morning. Along with this, I will go over my notes between classes, so I am able to recall the information when it comes time to take the test. By doing this, I will not be trying to cram in the information the night before the  test.  

I know everyone likes to study in their own ways, but these are just some suggestions to get a good grade on that test and by using these suggestions, you will be able to recall the information a lot later in life as well.  

I hope you can take these ideas I learned in UNIV 150 and apply them to your study skills.  Maybe we will all get better at taking tests. 

Leave a Reply