A Complete Study Guide | Study Tips | Study Techniques

A Complete Study Guide 

A massive Study Guide that will change your whole studying career. Must Read this Complete Studying Guide. 
Study tips, study hacks, study guide, study techniques, a complete study guide,

A Complete Study Guide | Study Tips | Study Techniques

This study guide serves as a reference for the student to get better results by increasing performance and optimizing the way to study , but must be read to get all information by implementing and going as far as possible, what is indicates in this.

There will be people who had success studying the days before exams , working summaries made by their owns or by other roommates, etc. . But we must ask a question and that is , if you study just for approving or for getting knowledge that can be applied in working life , so if the answer is the second option you gotta...

1. The study place

You gotta study in a defined place to keep focused favoring certain conditions , avoiding fatigue, etc ... thus allowing a better use of study time

You should keep the environment arranged as possible for improving the job.

It is very important the place keeps quite and stays in an area of the house where we cannot be disturbed. Besides the door must be closed to avoid distractions. For students with children, it's strongly recommended to organize for your study schedule be totally respected.

The color of our site should be clear to maintain a calm state (light green , light blue ... ) . The bright or dark colors can produce stress and avoid concentration . This may be a personal subject, and every student should know how to feel good.

You gotta use a seat that allows you to stay straight and upright, avoiding a hard one or a too much soft.

Beware of being so comfortable, because the risk of falling asleep or getting unfocused.

Studying in sofa, bed or rocking chair is prohibit.

The study table
The table should be enough wide to have all the material and stuff that you need at the time of studying or working .

Only above this one, the needed should be above to study the subject in question and keeping the order to avoid distractions.

Natural light is the most desirable, but the artificial is a necessary complement.

Remember that the usage a task light table lamp or the light should come from the left for right-handers and right for lefties , in order to avoid shadows when writing

It is essential to have a good light to avoid eyestrain.

The ideal temperature is between 18 and 22 degrees , it is not suggestible to study with heat or cold because it impairs performance.

Ventilate the room to keep the air renewed , maintaining an adequate level of oxygen.

The studying nest



Seat suitable for studying

Wide and well-arranged table

2. Memory in Studies

Before we continue with Study Methods, let's see how our memory works. In this section we will talk in a summarized way about this psychological process that is very important since its proper functioning is the key to success in exams (of course, considering other things also).

2.1 Memory

We need memory to process the external information, to retain it and that way getting on the environment, receiving stimulus, learning from them and forming our behaviour to the environment in an adaptive way.

We have to keep in mind that memory is not equal in a young person than in an adult, and that memorizing will be easier for people who have study habits than for people who have left studies; however, with dedication and effort we can do it well and reach or goals.

2.2 Structure

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Memory Structure
Now we will see the essential structure of memory, the itinerary made since we receive the information until it is kept in our Long-Term Memory (LTM):

External stimulus, sensorial registration (visual, auditory, haptic), short-term memory (STM), long-term memory (LTM).

We receive external stimulus through our senses and these process the information to keep it in the short-time memory. If we focus in that stimulus or information, we will improve the possibilities to complete its way to the long-term memory, and this is the one we must use to have success in our studies.

It is impossible for our brain to retain all the external information, so it processes and dismisses what is not important, that is, the things we don't pay attention to.

The retention duration of data in short term memory is about 15 or 20 seconds long approximately, as long as in long term memory its duration is indefinite.

2.3 Memory and Learning.

Let's see more interesting information about how memory and learning work:

The Savings Method
Developed by Ebbinghaus, it consists basically in repeating syllables composed of three letters without any sense (for example: CAX...) and remember them in the same order after 20 minutes, 1 hour, 8 hours, 1 day, 2 days, 5 days and 31 days. Ebbinghaus discovered that the oblivion is high after 8 hours but quite stable after the First day.

When studying we will pass through the same process. Some people get frustrated because they feel how they forget what the have learnt, but that is not what really happens. It is true that with the passage of time the memorized information gets deteriorated, but when we study it again,our learning time would be successfully reduced.

The Primacy Effect and The Recency Effect
When we make a shopping list, study a list of topics or a complete subject, usually happens that we remember better the first words or topics and the last, barely remembering the ones in the middle.

Here you have the explanation:
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Primary and recency

This graphic shows the results of the memorization of a list of words. We can observe the U shape tendency. At the beginning we can observe an effect known as Primacy Effect, in which the first elements of the list are better remembered because we pay more attention and those words are more repeated, going to the LTM.

In the final part of the curve we can find what is called the Recency Effect, in which the last words of the list are kept in the STM, keeping the access to them during a brief period of time. The words in the middle have less possibilities of being repeated, so they won't get to the LTM and as their presence in the STM is brief, they will finally decline.

Level of Information Processing
The words that are processed because of their meaning will be better remembered than those processed by their physical characteristics (tone of voice, colour,...). This is because with their meaning they create a trace (or remnant) of memory more lasting and resistant to oblivion.

That is why, when studying a topic, is really important to make a deep reading after doing a fast reading. Although some people think it is a waste of time, we must take into consideration that that step is maybe the most important to understand the topic we are studying. Let's explain it with an example: When someone decides to write a book, about any subject, the first things to write are the principal ideas; once they are written they are schematized with words that are also necessary but they were not in the principal ideas; after this, he/she makes a summary of the outline; finally, he/she adds examples, advices, images, ... indispensable to understand the subject.

Besides, we must emphasise one of the most common mistakes of students: Other people's summaries. Notes are personal, since every person understands the topic in his/her own way, makes the summaries, outlines and pulls out the principal ideas in the easier way for him/her, so, if we use other person&'s notes, it will be more difficult for us to understand and study them. In addition, we have the notes written during the class, which afterwards must be put in order together with our personal summaries. Many students make the mistake of not revising them until days before the exam and when they face them, they are indecipherable and incomprehensible.

We must have in mind that, when working a subject, our doubts must be solved before continuing studying it

Remember that there are two ways to study: studying for the exams and studying for our future. Long-term memory has the advantage that what we have learnt is difficult to forget, so we will be better prepared y we will be more competent when facing our work future, but most students just study, without revising afterwards, and they study a week or even few days before the exam, making a terrible mistake because that information will be forgotten, as they studied just to pass an specific test. Therefore, it is very important to follow the steps of this guide to keep that knowledge in our memory. This is essential for those who are making a degree or professional training, as well as other courses or public examinations.

Attention and Memory

Paying attention to what we are doing is very important to create a lasting memory trace. If when reading we think in other things o we get distracted every 5 minutes, we will be not only wasting our time, but also making our comprehension more difficult. When applying a studying schedule, we have to be aware that time is just for studying.

Distraction: When we have to pay attention to what we are doing, having other stimulus that attract our attention will make our studying less efficient, will increase the possibilities of making mistakes and that way we will have to spend more time in our task. An example could be listening to music, although it depends on the subject and the student, since there are students that studying with music does not affect their concentration while other students need total silence. In this respect, is really important to know ourselves and be realistic establishing limits. The ideal is studying without music or other possible distractions.

Motivation and Memory
Motivation, together with attention, is essential to improve our efficiency and memorise better. Motivation is the force, the energy that leads us to have the desired behaviour in that moment. The more motivated we are, the more concentrated we will be while studying, and therefore we will get better results.

Lack of motivation in students: When we don't reach our goals we usually feel frustrated, and this leads us to a lack of motivation in studies. Creating high and unreal expectations for our capacity is a common mistake in students.

To reach success is not necessary to fool ourselves, we have to know our limitations and accept them, in this way we will be able to take advantage of our strengths to obtain the maximum efficiency. We must create short-term realistic goals (very important for impatient students), work them and see how they are finally accomplished. Once we have reached these goals, we can increase them, setting some long-term goals (prepare well for our exam in February, for example) and work them day by day.

Memory and Forgetting
Nowadays, we don't know the reason why we forget. We don't know if it happens because of our limitations, because of memory fails or maybe because we don't create a strong trace of the information we need.

The more time we spend in working a subject (by reading, understanding, underlining important concepts and schematising and summarizing that subject), the better we will remember it when our memory is tested.

During the learning process, we create a memory trace that will be forgotten with the passing of time. To prevent this, we can follow a very basic process: Repetition. Repetition is essential to retain the important information in the LTM.

There exist different reasons why we forget. One of them are the interferences produced by other similar elements of study (for example: two similar subjects but with a different perspective) that can make our memory gets wrong. That is why is very important to take a close look at the subject we are studying and to understand it deeply to avoid confusions.

Study habits must be well distributed. It is better to study one hour everyday than studying eight hours once a week. By learning a little everyday, we will get better results.

Learn a little every day
Key points to overcome oblivion
To understand profoundly

  • To elaborate and work the subject
  • To resolve doubts
  • To revise periodically what we have studied

Conclusions about Memory

Principal object: To pass what we have learnt to the long-term memory.

To know our own limitations, to be realistic, to set goals and be constant to reach them.

While studying, we must focus in that task. We must have a moment for everything so; our problems must be put aside.

We must study in an organized way, creating our own notes and working the subject from them. Effectiveness guaranteed.

To trust in ourselves and in our memory, sooner or later we will get to the key words thanks to the effort we have made. Study techniques, when correctly applied, get good results.

Once we know how memory normally works, it would be interesting to know how effective our own memory is, since not everybody has the same capacity. While some people memorise spending few time, other people needs more. This does not mean a problem in our capacity, it is just a personal characteristic we must know and accept to learn how to handle it.
3. Daily Routine
Now we have chosen our working area and we have known the effort we must employ in learning, it is time to organise ourselves and make our planning, that is, to create a Study Routine.

3.1 Planning

Previously, we have seen how to plan our goals. We must learn to be patient. This can be accomplished by setting short- term goals first (for example, reading a few pages one day), afterwards medium-term goals (for example: finishing a lesson this week) and then, long term goals (preparing for the exam we have in February). It is important to take the time we need to learn to organise ourselves correctly.

We must keep in mind:

Our study context: Secondary school, Baccalaureate, Professional Training, University, Public Examinations, ... The planning to apply will be different for each one, for public examinations for example, the effort we must invest to reach our goal will be enormous.

To know the subjects to study in the course.

University: We must be careful to choose those subjects we are certain to dedicate the time necessary to pass them, especially students with other responsibilities.

Baccalaureate: There are certain subjects we must pass, so we must draw from them our planning. There are teachers that plan exams every two lessons to inculcate perseverance to their students, and others make exams of the entire subject considering that the students are preparing for university entrance examinations.

Secondary School. It is normal to make an exam every two lessons. The teacher warns the students about the exam so they can prepare with time enough (excepts when he/she prepare an exam by surprise), consequently, if we complete the homework everyday, studying those lessons will be really easy for us.

Conclusions about planning
The student must create a planning to do the exercises and homework of the different subjects. He/she must learn to organise his/her work every day at the same time.

Depending on our study context, we will have to work the subjects some hours every day. We should update the subject’s information regularly, avoiding surprises in the last minute.

Before starting with the subject, we should write down the delivery date of the classroom projects and so with exam dates.

In the app you can find a section for tasks/homework and exams with daily and programmable notifications.
3.2 Knowing our habits
Being sincere (synonymous of success) in making the planning and distributing the habits::

Sleep: Rest is very important for our memory because during the sleep our mind organises all we have studied during the day. Besides, we have to know ourselves and be sure of when we have enough rest, because some people have enough sleep with 6 hours and others need 8.

Personal hygiene: Includes the basic body cares. It is important not to waste too much time, especially in periods of maximum performance. Normally, one hour and a half a day is enough to take care to ourselves.

Physical Exercise: Experts suggest at least 30 minutes a day of cardio activities like walking, aerobics,... to help our brain to oxygenate and develop new nerve cells, necessary for neurons connexion. Exercise have a positive effect in conduct, improving concentration, organisation and the use we make of time, what will enable the student to obtain better results.

Diet: Another important aspect to consider is our diet. Our brain needs to be 20%; to make its vital functions, and this is reflected in our learning process. The brain consumes about the 20% of the calories we consume along the day, especially carbohydrates (glucose in particular). Distributing our food ingestion in five times a day, because the continuous effort will make us feel hungry more frequently. In all, we can spend two hours a day in feeding ourselves in a proper way.

We must keep in mind that diet must be well-balanced to optimize our efficiency in studies. A diet rich in vitamins has a direct relation with capacity to concentrate, memory, intellectual performance and even state of mind. Some of the foods more influent in memory, according to neuroscientists, are the following: carrot, salmon, tuna and almond.

Free Time: Supposedly, leisure is the worst enemy of the student, but that's not really true. The problem is the lack of organization, of willpower and leaving all the work for the last days before the exams. Nowadays we have a lot of distractions (facebook, twitter,...) which we spend so much time with and that are totally unnecessary for our future employment, so these distractions must be avoided in our study time and included in our free time.

Classes: Full-time attendance studies will be included as part of the daily routine, since they correspond to 5 hours a day at least. For studies with no attendance needed, like online courses or careers in the open university, we must include as a working habit an extra dedication to supply the lack of explanations in classes, such as making conversations and chats about the subject to get used to the vocabulary or asking questions in forums, email,...

Others: Here we will employ other routines we have, like extra courses for example, English academy, family reunions, religion, ...

Maybe, for some people these would be so many things for a day, even to plan the routine, but, when starting a new year in our studies, we must look the way to include it in our routine, even if that means to sacrifice some things that are not really important for our future and that way, balance our time always keeping some hours a day to study.

Conclusion about organization
The objective of this guide is to get the student capable of being organized to combine his/her studies with a healthy and productive lifestyle.

We must study everyday and, if possible, in the same hours to create a study habit. People are different; some concentrate in the evening and some in the night, so we must know ourselves and plan our schedule according to our bigger efficiency.

4. Study optimization

After calculating the hours available in a day, we have to distribute the subjects in that hours. Except in extraordinary circumstances, we will study from monday to friday, leaving the weekends for class works, reviews and rest.

The order must be the following: We will start with one or some subjects of medium difficulty, taking some breaks (between 2 and 5 minutes every 55 minutes of study), we will continue with a subject of a higher difficulty (taking the same breaks) and finally, we will end with an easy subject.

When taking a break is not recommendable to exceed the time planned, we must respect it as possible without any distractions (TV, Internet,...) because we can lose concentration and then, efficiency in the study process.


Study everyday (from Monday to Friday) and make all the class works (Saturdays and Sundays)

Study, at least, 3 hours a day.

Taking breaks every 45/60 minutes of study.

Not resting more than 5 minutes and not introduces distractions in that time.

Study always at the same time.

It's very important to prepare the material we are going to need before starting to study to avoid distractions.

If, once we have applied all we have suggested before we find difficult to progress, we must look for the mistake (maybe we can't memorize properly, or maybe we can't focus in what we are doing...) and find a solution as soon as possible.
For example, if we haven't enough time, we will have to sacrifice some hour of free time and try to spend less time in our personal hygiene (taking a shower instead of a bath,...) or other habits to use that time to study.
5. Study Techniques
If, once we have applied all we have suggested before we find difficult to progress, we must look for the mistake (maybe we can't memorize properly, or maybe we can't focus in what we are doing...) and find a solution as soon as possible. Once we have distributed the subjects in our schedule, we must find the way to optimize the time we spend in every subject, being very important the method we apply, step by step, to achieve the final goal: Retain the information in the long-term memory.

We will talk about the most known and most efficient techniques. Although, these are not study techniques, but some patterns to learn the material, making the learning process more effective.

5.1 Bracelet Method

Step 1: Urgent pre-reading
This step is essential to understand the principal idea or ideas of the lesson. It is not only reading the title, but taking a quick look to the pages. A quick reading, between 190/200 words per minute if possible.

Regressions are unnecessary in this process and make you lose a lot of time, we must let the thinking flow, following its natural course and always read forward. Remember this step is just a pre-reading.

The use of peripheral vision is a great advantage; if you focus on the letter J you will notice that you also get the information surrounding it. This is, basically, what we do in a pre-reading. We make ocular movements trying to get the most information as possible and, with practice; we will be able to read several lines in one look.

One technique to read faster is the scanning technique in which, by following the movement of our finger, we will read aparagraph of 3 lines in one go. Remember is not about making a deep reading, but about catching the principal ideas of the lesson.

Step 2: Detailed reading

Now, we have to read deeply the lesson, stopping when necessary, writing down words and concepts we don't understand, looking up their meaning and looking for a synonymous or, if we have the problem with an entire paragraph, mark it and explain it with easier words in order to understand it better. It is essential not to advance without making this step before, because other way, we won't learn the lesson properly.

It is good to achieve more specific vocabulary of every subject, since you are going to employ these words in your professional field from now on.

Mark the initial world of every paragraph if necessary, but don't underline the text yet, because this will be the next process. Although we don't realise, this is an effective method to pass the information to de LTM.

Step 3: Underlining

It is very important no to start this step without making a detailed reading before, because you can underline sentences that are not necessary or are even repeated. Reading a paragraph and underline it is not valid either, since that information maybe is repeated in other parts of the lesson. This will make this method less effective.

We must underline principal ideas, secondary ideas and important details (dates, names,...) so when we read the underlined text it makes sense.

To highlight the important concepts it is recommended to use colours or symbols depending on the information, although you can make it the way you prefer. In example, a principal idea can be highlighted with fluorescent yellow, a secondary idea with green and important details in other colour. Or maybe, you can make a circle around the principal idea; underline with two lines secondary ideas and with a simple line the important details. You can choose the option you prefer. The advantage of underlining with a pencil is that you can rectify whenever you want.

Types of underlining:

With a horizontal line: the classical type.

Structural underlining: writing down precise information in the margin. This is very effective.

Lateral underlining: if a paragraph is important, we simply make a vertical line taking the entire paragraph, the proper type not to get the book or our notes dirty (but this is not really important).

Mixed: It mixes every type of underlining to get a complete control and knowledge of the lesson.

Step 4: The Outline
The outline consists in extracting the principal concepts from the underlined text and organise them in a global way, so we can achieve a complete comprehension and memorization of the lesson by using less words.

An outline must be organized and clean and must take up no more than a page, starting with the principal idea, deriving from it the secondary ideas and completing with some details (this type of outline can be denominated bracket outline).

Types of outlines:

Using brackets: Starts with the general idea of the lesson, followed by the principal ideas, then we find the secondary ideas completing afterwards with some details.

Using numbers (or mixed type): It also starts with the general idea, followed by principal ideas, secondary ideas and details. We represent the order using numbers in an ordered way or mixing numbers with letters.

Tree-shape outline: Really useful for those subjects in which you need to employ logic.

Using bars: Like the first one, but using bars instead of brackets.

Step 5: The Summary
Summarizing consists in condense in a brief paragraph, or even in one sentence,the most important idea or ideas of a text, maintaining its argument structure.

It’s very important to make the previous steps and using our own vocabulary. In addition, you must use your outline and the information underlined in the lesson you are studying. Make the summaries clean and ordered, because you will use them to study as your personal notes.

How long it takes to make a lesson using this method? We have to value this point because is not the same a 4 lessons subject than a 15 lessons one, so for the second one you will need more time. You must take into account the dates of the exams, the number of lessons you have to study and how much time you have to prepare the exams. For example: we have a subject of 10 lessons, the exam is the first days of February and I am starting the routine in the middle of October. We have 15 weeks (counting no holidays), so, we have a week and a half to prepare every lesson. At the beginning we may have the feeling that we don't have enough time, but with practice we will develop a habit and we will have better results in less time.

We have to try to end all lessons two weeks before the exam, in order to make an intensive review of the lessons.

Once we have all the work done, it is convenient to revise the lessons from time to time, so we won't forget all we have studied.

Step 6: Control
The objective is to have a total control of the subject, doing our study routine just as we have explained and also maintaining a revising routine. At this point, we have high probabilities to succeed.

5.2. The PQRST Method
This method consists of 5 steps and is easier than the Bracelet Method, however, both techniques use the same way of learning. Some students prefer the Bracelet Method because it's more complete, although this one is effective as well, so the decision is personal.


P: preview
In the firs step we must have a global vision of the lesson we are going to work on. We have to know in what we are going to work, and the better way is to take a look to the lesson, to know how it is organized,... with this step we will have some information stored in the short-term memory.

Q: question

In this step we will make questions about the lesson, connecting what we have learnt in the previous step with the information we are about to learn. We must question what the principal ideas are, the important points of the lesson, the sections it is divided in...

R: Read - active reading

In this step, we will read the entire lesson in order to respond to the questions we set out in the previous step.

S: Self-recitation

We will repeat the information out loud or in silence (it depends on the student) in order to memorize the details, principal ideas, ... We will try to pass the information we have in the short-term memory to the long-term memory.

T: Test - control

In this final step we test what we have learnt. We have to respond in detail to the question we set up in step 2. Here, the information will be remembered for the exam, but we must revise it from time to time.

6. Exams

The exams are useful to evaluate the knowledge we have acquired of the subject studied. Without them, we won't know if we are prepared to apply that knowledge in our professional future or in our everyday life.

During the exams period we are more nervous, and we usually have doubts about our capacities. We must be self-confident, and trust in the work we have done, because following these methods we have high probabilities of succeed. In addition, being nervous is so negative for our concentration and can make us commit important mistakes.

Here we have some important details about exams:

Make a complete review before the exam, the hour and the classroom, in case they had changed.

Try to sleep properly the night before, and have a balanced aperitif before the exam.

Prepare everything you need for the exam the night before (identification, pens,...).

Arrive to the exam 15 minutes before it starts to avoid surprises or unexpected events.

Avoid talking with others about the exam. It can make us feel nervous and anxious with no reason.

Go to the exam with your basic needs covered.

During the exam, try to be relaxed. Think that you have worked and studied to pass the exam, there is no time for doubts. Keep in your table the material you need and read the exam in detail. Fill in all your personal information (some students forget this). Once you start, the work will flow.

There is no need of answering the questions in a special order. Start with the easier question for you and let your mind work. You will complete even the hardest ones.

If it is an exam in which wrong answers take points away, answer only those questions you are sure to know the answer.

Once you have finished the exam don't hurry, revise it, avoiding unexpected surprises.

After the exam all partners discuss about it. This is not recommended, especially if you have more exams after that one. Don't think about the result, we will know whether we worry or not.

For failed exams, revise them with the teacher to focus on the mistakes and revise those parts deeply.

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