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Teaching Your Students How to Study


Helping your children succeed in their studies involves recognizing that every student learns differently. While they may have been studying for a while, tailoring their study routines to their unique needs is essential. This guide offers Untapped’s recommendations on how to teach your children practical study skills. 

Creating the Right Study Environment

Helping your students learn how to study begins with discussing the importance of their study environment. Their setup should mirror the test-taking setting to maximize their performance. For instance, if your children take tests at a desk, encourage them to study in a similar setting instead of lounging on the bed. 

Encourage your students to do their homework at the same place and time each day. For example, they can designate a specific spot, like the kitchen table, for studying from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. every evening. This routine prepares their minds for better information retention and increased focus. After a few weeks of consistent studying in the same location, they can experiment with different study spots to stimulate different parts of their brain and enhance memory. 

Short-Term to Long-Term MemoryMany students struggle with moving information from short-term to long-term memory. As a parent, you can help guide them through this process by teaching them strategies to improve memory retention, like:

  • Reviewing their notes often. Encourage students to review their notes shortly after class and revisit them multiple times throughout the semester. Short and frequent study sessions help commit information to memory.  
  • Incorporate novelty into their learning. The brain remembers surprising or unusual events. Incorporate humor, songs, or other surprise elements into the learning process. Students can create mnemonic devices or associate information with funny anecdotes to enhance retention. 
  • Relate the information to their personal experiences. Encourage them to connect what they need to memorize with their own lives. Relating concepts to personal experiences improves memory recall. Ask questions like “How does this relate to you?” that help establish personal connections with the material. 
  • Use repetition. Repetition strengthens connections in the brain. Practice concepts repeatedly to reinforce memory. Spacing out repetition over multiple days is especially helpful for long-term memory.
  • Prioritize your student’s overall health. A critical factor in memory function is your child’s overall well-being. Proper sleep, balanced nutrition, and regular exercise improve memory and cognitive performance. Encourage them to maintain healthy habits to support their overall brain function.

Active Studying

Encourage your children to adopt active studying techniques to maximize their study time. Active studying involves making decisions, interacting with the material, and asking relevant questions. This approach ensures better attention, dynamic processing, and meaningful material retention, improving comprehension and long-term learning.

As a parent, you can demonstrate active studying techniques and encourage your children to ask questions like:

  • Why is this important?
  • How will you remember this information?
  • How can you associate this with information you already know?
  • How can you organize this information?

By actively participating, your students can develop effective study habits. Over time, they can apply these strategies independently to study more efficiently.

Meta-Cognition

Meta-cognition, or the ability to understand one’s thinking process, is a powerful study technique supported by research. You can introduce this concept to your children as “thinking about how you think.” Meta-cognitive skills can help them study and learn more effectively.

Encourage your children to think critically about how they’ll remember information. For example, if they try to remember the word ‘malevolent,’ they might connect it to ‘mal,’ which means ‘bad’ in Spanish. You can reinforce this concept by asking questions such as:

  • What study methods have worked best for you in the past?
  • Can you think of an alternate way to remember this information?
  • Does this word provide any clues to its meaning?
  • How is this chapter like something else you know?
  • What is the purpose of you learning this?

Study Groups 

Finding the right study group can significantly impact your student’s experience. Participating in a study group enhances social skills and improves their mastery of information. Study groups offer an environment where students focus for more extended periods compared to studying alone. They also can learn study techniques and discipline from peers, which can be more effective than learning solely from adults. 

However, finding study groups can be daunting for many students. Initiating a study group could be seen as uncool. As a parent, you can provide your student with guidance (even a script!) on how to approach creating a study group. If they’re not ready for that step, help them access resources like writing centers, tutors, or office hours to ensure they receive the required study support.

 Accessing Available Resources 

Educators and administrators put effort into creating Individualized Education Plans (IEPs), 504 Plans, and other forms of support for students, but often these resources go unused. Lack of awareness is common, as students may not know about resources like writing tutors or exam accommodations. As a parent, you can review your child’s 504 or IEP with them and explain complex terms in a language they understand. For example, explain that “preferential seating” means they can sit close to the board. After introducing their accommodations, discuss how to use them effectively. Role-playing can help students understand how and when to seek assistance. Using these resources can significantly improve your child’s success, so ensuring they’re aware of and comfortable using them is crucial

For More:

Types  Learning Environments 

Ways to Enhance Memory 

Effective study groups

Active Study Strategies 

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