Studying 5 strategies

5 Strategies to supercharge your studying & learning

1. Space It Out (Spaced Practice)

  • Like music, sports, theater, etc. – regular practice.
  • 5 hours spread over 2 weeks is better than 5 hours all at once.
  • Think of a topic you read about a few chapters back. What were the main ideas?

2. Test Yourself (Retrieval Practice)

  • Do practice tests or create your own.
  • Flash cards.
  • Write out what you’ve learned from memory.

3. Seek Meaning & Connection (Elaboration)

  • Be the teacher & explain it to someone - How does this work and why?
  • Connect ideas together - How are they similar or different?
  • Think about how what you just read connects to something you already know.

4. Mix It Up (Interleaving)

  • Switch topics/ideas in one study session.
  • Go back over ideas in a different order.
  • Work different kinds of problems instead of the same ones over and over in a row.

5. Enhance Your Memory (Dual Coding; Mnemonics)

  • Chunk it up & find patterns – use rhymes, songs, stories, acronyms.
  • “Surprise Seeing” – create an exciting, surprising, ridiculous moving image.
  • There are other strategies for remembering numbers, dates, languages, etc.


Brown, Peter C., Henry L. Roediger III, Mark A. McDaniel. 2014. Make It Stick:
The Science of Successful Learning. Cambridge and London: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.

Carey, Benedict. 2014. How We Learn:
The Surprising Truth About When, Where, and Why It Happens. New York: Random House.

Doyle, Terry, and Todd Zakrajsek. 2013. The New Science of Learning:
How to Learn in Harmony with Your Brain. Sterling, VA: Stylus.

Dunlosky, John, Katherine A. Rawso, Elizabeth J. Marsh, et al. 2013. “Improving Students’ Learning with Effective Learning Techniques:
Promising Directions from Cognitive and Educational Psychology.” Psychological Science in the Public Interest 14(1):4-58.

The Learning Scientists