Study skills and techniques

Key learning skills are the skills of writing, reading, information acquisition and time management. It is also important to learn the skills and self-control of learning, the ability to work, and plan studies independently. Self-knowledge is a good help: what are your strengths and  weaknesses in studying skills? Where are you good at, and what skills should you practice more? Skilled students also know what different tasks require: they are able to plan their actions and set goals. They also know how to develop their skills, and to assess what kind of learning techniques best suits them.


Writing is one way of measuring learning, but it also works as a learning tool. Writing promotes learning, it can parse thinking as well as bring about new ideas. Writing usually progresses in the process. It’s good to divide your writing into parts, so that the text in the making is completed in stages. The text is modified gradually as the writing process progresses. When you begin writing, consider why, to whom and what you write. The steps following preparation include brainstorming, sketching, editing and finishing. The different phases of the process proceed individually, and occasionally you need to return to your previous writing. Any text is rarely completed in one go.

Taking notes

The important aspect of taking notes is to help you to parse the heard or read, find the most relevant information, and work on the material you are studying. You can take notes, for example, from a book or a lecture. The notes help you to restore the things you have discussed and they are a good help for revising. Taking notes can happen at the expense of listening and thinking: the more you write down, the less you listen. It is therefore important to strike a balance between these processes. Not everything needs to be written up, key things and concepts are usually enough.

You can also make notes by

  • drawing conceptual maps and patterns
  • using characters and symbols
  • formatting tables
  • or using other kinds of effects.

Going through your notes immediately after a lecture is a good way to clarify the notes, and they can be complemented with fresh ones. You can always improve your skills on taking lecture notes.


Reading develops thinking, as well as it brings new information. The university focuses on scientific texts which you need to learn to understand, interpret and evaluate. Skilled readers know how to choose and embrace the most important issues, guide their own reading, set goals, and draw issues into a larger whole. Skill to read is much more than reading speed. Quick reading does not guarantee that you remember or understand the issues you read. On the other hand, at slow reading speed, there is a risk that your attention fastens to details at the expense of the whole. A good ability to read is understanding, interpreting and critically assessing the text.

Reading for a Exam

Reading for a exam is advisable to start by stimulating your mind to for the theme of your reading, but it is also good to consider your reading goals. The goal should be learning, not so much your exam as such. Before you begin reading, it’s advisable to make a reading plan. In reading, you should first try to perceive the whole by browsing, and then focus more on the text. It is a good idea to consider which issues are familiar to you, and which is the knowledge basis for your new reading. In the actual reading phase, you may want to work on issues by underlining and taking notes in different forms.

After reading it’s important to revise. You can revise by browsing notes, writing abstracts and summaries, or examining yourself. Remember that the more time you have for revising, the more you learn. Proper revising is not about reading texts through word-by-word; it is meant to recall and arrange issues in your mind. It is also worth evaluating and thinking about what you have read. An important objective is also to be able to report on the issue in your own words, not just repeating the text of the book. Also, be sure to book enough time, because it usually takes time to embrace things. You can also revise in a group with your peers, if it suits you.

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