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How do I: Learn Studying Strategies

This guide covers Information, Media, and Digital Literacy concepts and Digital Citizenship for Gr. 9-12 students, as well as teacher and parents.

Quiz Yourself

Try using flashcards, creating a game, or simply creating your own practice quiz.  These programs and tips will help:


Identify what key concepts that are going to be covered on your test or exam before creating review questions.

Write Summaries

Try writing summary notes as part of your study strategy.  

The below templates can help:

Did you know that although writing summaries is a good study strategy, it can be ineffective if you do not combine it with other strategies?

Group Study Session


How to Study for Exams in a Group:

  • Determine what you are going to study in advance (the unit, chapter, etc.)
  • Set an exact start and finish time for the group to meet - ensure that the group stays on task
  • Have realistic expectations for the study session (time vs. quantity of material)
  • Go to the meeting having already reviewed the material - it is best if you can identify questions that you have in advance 
  • Bring review questions to the study session

Study Habits to Avoid

Simply re-reading, highlighting, or underlining class notes is not an effective way to study.  

As this study method requires little mental effort, it typically does not help students to remember or understand material.

Also, be warned - being familiar with a concept does not mean that you know it well enough for the exam.

Explain your Understanding

Q: How do I do this?

A: Simply speak aloud to yourself while studying, explaining what you have learned.  This study method is particularly useful for problem solving.  It is recommended that you process your understanding out-loud by identifying new concepts and how they relate to concepts that you already know.

Example questions to ask yourself when problem solving:

1. What information do I need to know in order to solve this problem?

2. Where dan I find this needed information?

3. Do I have all parts of the information I need to solve this problem?

4. Does my answer sound right?

Did you know that research shows this is one the best ways to study?

Drawing Images & Diagrams

Drawing images and diagrams helps you visualize information.  This can be helpful for memorization, understanding, and connecting concepts.

The below software can help:

Did you know that associated words with pictures is an excellent memorization technique?

Elaborative Interrogation

Q: What is elaborate rehearsal?

A: It is a study method that helps you to memorize facts.


  • ​Use your own words to rephrase definitions/descriptions  
  • Think of familiar examples – things that you can relate to
  • Use familiar acronyms, acrostics, analogies, codes, musical jingles and rhymes  
  • Relate new information to knowledge from other courses (past or present) or to life experiences  
  • Relate theory to everyday practice  
  • Think about how the information relates to the “big picture” within the subject area: What is the significance? Why are you learning this? What is the impact of learning this? 

Learn more...

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Are memorising and learning the same thing?

Tip: Try using mnemonic devices like the ones below to help you remember facts for your exams:

Mnemonic Device Example
Visual Image - Associate a visual image with a word or name to help you remember them better. To remember Rosa Park and what she's known for, picture a woman sitting on a park bench surrounded by roses, waiting as her bus pulls up.
Acrostic - Write a sentence where the first letter of each word represents the initial of what you want to remember.  In the sentence "Every good boy does fine" to memorize the lines the treble clef, representing the notes E, G, B, D, and F.
 Rhymes and Alliteration - Rhymes, alliteration (a repeating sound or syllable), and even jokes are a memorable way to remember more mundane facts or figures. The rhyme "Thirty days hath September, April, June, and November" to remember the months of the year with only 30 days in them.
Chuncking - This is when you break numbers or information into smaller, more managing chunks. Remembering a 10-digit phone number by breaking it down into three sets of numbers: 555-867-5309 (as opposed to 5558675309).
Method of Ioci - Imagine placing items you want to remember along a route you know well, or in specific locations in a familiar room or building. For a shopping list, imagine bananas in the entryway to your home, a puddle of milk in the middle of the sofa, eggs doing up the stairs, and bread in your bed.
Acronym - An acronym is a word that is made up by taking the first letters of all the key words and ideas you need to remember. The word "HOMES" to remember the names of the Great Lakes: Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, and Superior.

Source: How to Improve your Memory

Did you know that memorizing and learning are not the same thing?  

Although you will need to remember facts for your exams, it is essential that you understand how to apply concepts.  This is something that memorization alone cannot help you with.