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Quick Tips

On this page, you will find some quick tips for studying effectively.

As many times as you’ve seen Ontario Techs' logo, I bet you will be hard-pressed to say with confidence which one it is in the figure below:   
 Which logo is the correct one?   


Multiple incorrect Ontario Tech Logos and one correct one


Most of you have seen the logo. However, most have not used active learning strategies to remember the details. The same goes for studying. We might become familiar with something, but that does not mean that we will be able to recall it confidently for tests and exams. Active learning strategies involve higher-order thinking processes, such as engaging in the materials and exploring, questioning, and reflecting on learned information.
Actively learning involves engaging with material by, listening without distractions, taking effective notes, and recognizing where you need to deepen your understanding. 

Here are some quick tips for developing strong study strategies: 
  1. Use active learning strategies.
    • Many students say they study 30 hours a week but can't retain the information. Many students said they study by re-reading or re-writing their lecture notes. That is a very passive way to study.
    • Using mnemonics, flashcards, concept/mind maps, practice tests, and summary notes will be much more effective. Be sure to review the Active Study Strategies section for more information about these strategies. 
  1. Don't always rely on previous study methods from high school or college.
    • Many university students find cramming before an exam does not work. There is a large amount of content to review in university, so studying is necessary to learn course content.
    • Students should be independent and begin studying on the first day of classes.
  2. Be present and attentive.
    • Always attend class. Every time you skip a lecture, picture yourself throwing $50 down a sewer drain. You are also missing valuable learning time and possible tips or advice for important assignments.
    • Use class time wisely and take notes. After class, look at key concepts and summarize what you learned to get a better understanding of the content. 
  1. Give yourself enough time to study and be sure to study at the most optimum times.
    • It is important to know how much to study and when to study the content to build strong comprehension of the material.
    • Try to spend one to three hours per one hour of lecture time outside of class studying.
    • Also, review within the first 24 hours of learning the content.
    • Study more difficult material when you are most awake and alert.
The Learning Scientists are a group of cognitive psychologists interested in research and education. Their main focus is on the science of learning; as such, they are a very helpful resource for evidence-based techniques on learning.
They have outlined the following six best study strategies for learning and retaining information: 
  • Spaced Practice
    • Space out your study time.
  • Interleaving
    • Switch between ideas while you study.
  • Elaboration
    • Explain and describe ideas with many details.
  • Concrete Examples
    • Use specific examples to understand abstract ideas.
  • Dual Coding
    • Combine words and visuals.
  • Retrieval Practice/ Active Recall
    • Practice bringing information to mind.

For an overview of how these strategies work, please watch the following video:

This tip sheet also provides a helpful visual summary of these six different strategies.
For more specific tips on using these strategies, visit the Active Learning Strategies section.