Study skills for high school students

The study skills are an organized set of actions that a student performs in order to achieve the comprehension and memorization of concepts, principles or facts in a permanent way. After observing the study methods of students who get good academic achievements the most effective skills have being identified.  Regular use of such skills allows novice students to make a better use of their intellectual resources and thus improving their academic results.

Study is an essential learning philosophy within the education process of young people of our time. Far from being out of fashion, it is a necessary activity to complement other learning activities such as project elaboration, opinions exchange and comparison or the use of practical activities. To study means to relate what is new with already integrated knowledge and being able to remember it at the right time; to understand it and memorize it in a permanent way.

Study skills are part of the learning strategies, which can be grouped in three sets: organization strategies, classwork strategies, and study and information memorization skills.

  1. The organization strategies contribute to doing the necessary things in an orderly and efficient way.
  2. The classwork strategies are those that make the work performed in class more useful.
  3. The purpose of the study and information memorization skills is to understand and memorize concepts, principles or facts in a permanent way.

As it is usual with other learning strategies, some of our teens need a focused learning of those skills in order to improve their effectiveness as students. Others, in contrast, acquire them by themselves.

The study skills cannot be learned as an isolated learning but their training will be done by following the orientation guide explained next while following the school curricula.

To study is a process that requires four moments:

  1. Text comprehension.
  2. Concept selection and organization in such a way that the amount of information is lower and thus easier to learn.
  3. Memorization of the essential concepts.

Invocation of what was studied.

Which stories can change people’s desires, expectations or well-being?

These stories catch our attention not only because they are extraordinary but also because they fulfill or forfeit people’s particular desires or expectations, affecting their well-being.

For instance, in the situation of the chances for a job promotion the story becomes catchier if the employee had been wishing for that opportunity for a long time. It would be even catchier if the employee depended on that promotion to save his home because he is way behind his mortgage payments. In this situation his financial well-being would be at risk.

In the bank robbery situation, the story would be catchier if the person in line were a cop. This would not only affect his expectation or visiting the bank effortlessly but his duty as a cop gets involved (to avoid the robbery). Besides this his well-being, his own life, would be at risk.

And then in the romantic example, let us suppose that the special woman the character talks about is a girl he was helplessly in love ten years ago, the love of his life, which he finds again just now. His emotional well-being is at risk.

Please view this example video:

More exercises for class


Let the student explore and search consciously the variables to be considered before reaching a decision or solving a problem:

Example 1: A young married couple decides to buy a table. They go to a furniture shop and, without thinking much of it, they decide to buy one of American colonial style they liked. When they come home with the table, they realize that it does not fit through the door, nor the window, nor the balcony.

What do you think happened to this couple? Why did they reach that situation?

Cases as this are frequent in daily life. What conclusion do you make of the example?

How could the problem of the couple have been avoided?

Example 2: What variables need to be considered to plan for a field trip?

Example 3: What variables need to be considered to watch television?


Anticipate what could happen, in the short and long terms.

Problem 1: Consider the immediate and medium-term consequences, of the invention of the gas engine.

Problem 2: What could be the short and long-term consequences of using computers in education activities?


Direct attention to what you wish to accomplish and clarify the intention of actions and thoughts.

Problem 1: During a discussion on the problem of cost of life increase, different statements arise from groups of housewives, supermarket owners, the government, farmers and food processing plant owners. Which could be the main objectives of each of the groups in the discussion?

Tips to improve your writing skills

Making the strange more familiar

Example: Compare the economic administration of a country to the administration of a home. Then, the students need to try to understand why a country increases its foreign debt.

Making the familiar more strange

This means to distort, reverse or transpose the everyday ways to see and respond that make the world a safe and familiar place (making things “out of focus”). There are four mechanisms to achieve this objective:

Personal analogy. Faraday “scrutinizing… in the very heart of the electrolyte, trying to make its atoms game visible to his mental eyes” (Tyndall).

Direct analogy. Alexander Graham Bell said: “It was curious to me that the bones of the human ear were so thick, compared to the delicate and feeble wall that makes them act, and so it occurred to me that if such a delicate wall could move bones relatively thick, why a thicker bigger piece of membrane would not be able to move my piece of steel. And so the telephone was conceived “.

The forced comparison of a scientific observation with that of another field tends to impose a fresh expression to a problem.

Symbolic analogy. Unlike personal analogy, here objective and impersonal images are used to describe the problem. These images, though technically inexact, are aesthetically satisfactory. Symbolic analogy is a very concise, almost poetic, statement of the implications of a selected key word of the problem analyzed or that is related to the problem.

Example: (a) zipper –safe intermittence; (b) mixture – balanced confusion; (c) acid – impure aggressor; etc.

Fantastic analogy. Ideal, though probably not applicable, solutions are proposed.


Statements like this one: what would happen if Earth was square-shaped? Or what if there was no gravity?


You can present incomplete paragraphs for the student to complete them freely. Examples:

* People travel abroad for many reasons… (the student has to complete the paragraph)

* Peru´s economy would improve if …. (the student has to complete the paragraph)


Request students to create a title to a paragraph (that was read or heard).

You can also request them to relate some personal experience and place it suggestive titles.


It consists in applying several questions around the title of the topic. The following questions are suggested:

How to become a better story-teller

Considering difficulties per areas

Ask the student to make a list of all utilitarian items he can related to the areas of work, study, transport, recreation, relaxation, feeding, agriculture, etc. Let him cover those items or problems more promising that he came across with.

Expressing guesses

State a question problem and request students to express as many guesses as possible. For example, why has a manufacturer extended paid holidays for his employees from one to two weeks?

Considering alternatives

Present a common object to the class, such as the lid of a plastic container, and ask them to provide alternative functions that it may serve.

Guessing purposes

Have students guess the purpose of some object from a minimum set of verbal or graphic hints. For example, if the object is a mug, draw in the board an incomplete handle, adding more parts, such as the rest of the handle, until the students guess the correct item

Sharpening the vision

Let the student point out the elements that make up an object. For example, what elements constitute a wall calendar? Wait for the students to point out elements such as: numbers, months, horizontal, vertical, advertisements, sheets, paper texture, hanging device, drawings, poems, footnotes, descriptions, characters names, color, folds, moon phases, important dates, typography, etc. Special attention should be paid to the different attributes in terms of enhancements or innovations

Relating the unconnected

Have the student make connections between ideas or items seemingly unconnected. The connections will serve as starting point to develop ideas to set aside for later, combined function units, and other relationships that suggest a continuous improvement.

Suggesting enhancements

Have the students suggest (orally or graphically) enhancements for a daily-used object.

Making the house bigger

Encourage the students to be recipient to other people’s ideas.  Have them research times when “extravagant” ideas have been very successful.