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4 Effective Study Techniques for College Success

October 11, 2023

study techniques

Study techniques for college, have you used them? let us show why is a good idea to do it.

It’s Sunday afternoon, and you’re sitting down seeing for the fourth time a repetition of Stranger Things on Netflix, and suddenly you remember that you have tomorrow an exam, you, reluctant, get up take your notes, and say with agony face:

!!!Uff¡¡¡¡, all this info?


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However, you’ve decided to study this time because last time your technique or zero study failed miserably and you need to pass this exam no matter what. You start to read your notes, and after 1 hour of studying, you feel like still not grasping the information.

You start to lose your mind and you don’t know what to do. You message your friend Hannah and she tells you that she has been studying with the little notes that she wrote during the classes, you check on your friend Hal, who tells you that he’s memorizing everything that is relevant.

You decide to try those techniques, but after 2 hours, again, you’re not grasping the information. Your worries increase, you check the time, and is already night and you don’t have to study anything. 

person sleeping

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Let us help you go disclose this thread

First, everyone’s learning style is unique, so it’s essential to experiment with different techniques and tailor them to what works best for you. In this case, memorizing the important things and studying with little notes didn’t work for you, so it’s time to try other ones.

Good news, we have for you some useful techniques to fix that problem. Each technique has been scientifically proven through research that they work better than other study approaches (yes, there is a science to studying).

Let’s go to start.

Study Techniques for College

1. Memorization based

study techniques for college

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👉​Leitner System

The Leitner System is a spaced repetition technique used to efficiently learn and retain information over time. The Leitner System is particularly effective for language learning, vocabulary acquisition, and any type of information that needs consistent review to remain in memory. The Leitner System is particularly effective for language learning, vocabulary, and any type of information that needs consistent review to remain in memory.

  • Create Flashcards

          Make flashcards with questions on one side and answers on the other for studying vocabulary, concepts, and more.

  • Label Boxes

          Number boxes from 1 to N, where higher numbers mean longer intervals between reviews.

  • Review

  1. Start with Box 1.
  2. Recall answers as you review each card:
  3. If you remember, move the card up a box.
  4. If you forget, keep it in the current box.
  5. Complete Box 1, then move to the next box.
  6. For cards in Box N, move up if answered correctly, back to Box 1 if struggling.


👉​Mnemonic devices

Mnemonic devices are memory aids that help you remember information more easily by associating it with familiar and memorable patterns. They often involve creating mental connections between new information and something you already know.

  • Keyword method

Creating a mental link between a new word you’re trying to remember and a familiar word that sounds similar. This is often used when learning new vocabulary in a foreign language.

  • Visual

Creating vivid mental images that connect to the information you want to remember. The more unusual and memorable the image, the better.

  • Acronyms

Create a word or phrase using the initial letters of the items you want to remember.


2. Techniques for Understanding Tough Concepts


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👉​Feynman Technique

The Feynman Technique is a learning and study method It’s designed to help you understand complex concepts and explain them in simple terms. This technique is particularly effective for mastering difficult subjects. and enhancing your understanding of various topics.

  • Choose a concept

Select a specific concept, topic, or idea that you want to understand better or learn deeply.

  • Explain in simple terms

Pretend you’re teaching the concept to someone who has no prior knowledge of the subject.

  • Identify gaps

While explaining, pay attention to areas where you struggle to simplify or where your explanation becomes unclear.

  • Review

Go back to your original study material to fill in the gaps and deepen your understanding of the concept.

  • Simplify and Repeat

Return to the explanation step and try to simplify your explanation even further. This helps reinforce your understanding and ensures that you’ve truly grasped the core ideas.


👉​Mind Mapping

Mind mapping is a visual study technique that helps you organize and connect ideas in a non-linear format. It’s a powerful method for brainstorming, summarizing information, and understanding complex concepts.

  1. Start with a central idea/topic.
  2. Create branches for subtopics.
  3. Add sub-branches with details and examples.
  4. Use keywords and visuals.
  5. Connect ideas with lines/arrows.
  6. Apply color/formatting for clarity.
  7. Simplify for quick understanding.
  8. Review and revise periodically.
  9. Customize for your style.


3. Focused Based Techniques

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👉​Pomodoro Technique

The Pomodoro Technique is a time management method that helps you stay focused, maintain productivity, and prevent burnout by breaking your work or study time into short, focused intervals followed by short breaks.

  • Choose a Task

  • Set a Timer

Set a timer for a specific interval, traditionally 25 minutes.

  • Work Intensely

Focus solely on the chosen task during the Pomodoro interval. Avoid distractions.

  • Take a Short Break

Once the timer rings, take a short break of about 5 minutes. Use this time to do something enjoyable that’s not work-related.

  • Repeat

After the break, start another Pomodoro and continue this cycle. After completing four Pomodoro’s, take a longer break of about 15-30 minutes

  • Track Progress

Keep track of completed Pomodoro’s. This helps you see how much time you’re spending on different tasks.


4. Studying/ Taking notes through textbooks

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👉​SQ3R Method

The SQ3R method is a study technique designed to help you actively engage with and comprehend academic texts. It stands for Survey, Question, Read, Recite, and Review, and it provides a structured approach to reading and studying textbooks.

  • Survey

Skim the chapter, noting headings, graphics, and structure for an overview.

  • Question

Formulate questions from headings to identify main points. These questions should highlight the main points and objectives of the material.

  • Read

Actively read, seeking answers to your questions. Highlight key points as you read.

  • Recite

Summarize in your own words, either aloud or in writing.

  • Review

Revisit notes to reinforce memory. Think about how they relate to each other and to the larger context of the subject.


👉​PQ4R method

The PQ4R method is a study technique like the SQ3R method, with an added emphasis on the “Preview” and “Review” stages. It stands for Preview, Question, Read, Reflect, Recite, and Review. The PQ4R method provides a structured approach to reading and studying textbooks and other academic materials.

  • Preview

Quickly scan the chapter or text, noting headings, visuals, and structure. Grasp the layout and organization.

  • Question

Formulate questions based on the headings and subheadings. These questions should highlight the main points and objectives of the material.

  • Read

Actively read, seeking answers to your questions. Understand the context and underline key details.

  • Reflect

After reading a section, take a moment to reflect on what you’ve learned. Consider how the new information connects to what you already know.

  • Recite

Summarize sections in your own words, speak out loud, or write down your summaries.

  • Review

Once you have completed all steps, Think about the main ideas, connections between concepts, and how the information fits into the larger context.


After having checked out those 4 techniques probably you found some of them worth trying, so instead of sitting down for endless hours to see Netflix or scrolling on Tik-Tok and Instagram put into practice the techniques that catch your attention and we’re sure that it’s going to work.

Remember, the key to successful studying in college is to adopt a combination of these techniques, adapt them to your personal learning style, and maintain a consistent approach to your studies. 

Do you have any other study techniques?

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Elliana Marquardt Student at the Washington State University - VisitMind Intern


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