3 Essential Study Skills

3 Essential Study Skills


For students with ADHD, ADD, or other learning disabilities, effective study skills can help them overcome their difficulties without the aid of medication. The following 3 study skills are essential for students to maximize their potential in the classroom.

1.  Note-taking

Developing solid note-taking skills helps students learn, retain and recall information presented in class. Students can use these steps to strengthen their note-taking skills:

  • Do not try to write down everything the teacher says.
  • Listen for words or concepts that are unfamiliar and write those down.
  • Listen for long pauses in the teacher’s lecture and use that time to catch up on writing.
  • Talk to the teacher after class to fill in any gaps.

2.  Critical Reading

Students who read critically often skim, analyze, and summarize to themselves, which allows for a more efficient process. These skills help students comprehend information on a deeper level. These steps can help students with their critical reading:

  • Flip through the reading to get an idea of how long it is.
  • Look for headings and subheadings to see the main concepts.
  • Highlight words or concepts you do not understand.
  • Only read every word if it is a novel. Otherwise skim the text.
  • Stop every couple of pages and summarize what just happened.
  • Write any thoughts you have while reading in the margin.

3.  Test-taking

Understanding the nuances of multiple choice, short answer, fill in the blank, and essay tests can mean the difference between excellent grades and average grades. Use these strategies for each type of test:

  • Multiple choice: try to answer the question while covering up the answer choices. Then select the answer that most closely resembles the one you came up with.
  • Short answer: determine the one main point the question is asking. Then answer with 2 or 3 concepts that relate to the questions. Every word should count in your answer!
  • Fill in the blank: read the question in its entirety and skip over the blank. Then re-read everything before the blank and everything after the blank. Then re-read the entire sentence trying to fill in the blank.
  • Essay: read the question and understand what it is asking. Write a brief outline on the side of your paper. Make sure to include a thesis statement that gives your opinion. As you write refer back to your outline to make sure you are sticking to your point. Conclude your essay by restating the thesis.

Effective study skills are a life-long habit. Starting early will help your student develop and master these skills.