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How To Study: The Best Ways To Get The Highest Grades

It wasn't all the highlighting that got you an "A" in school.

A new report published in 'Psychological Science in the Public Interest,' found that some studying techniques — things most of have used for years like underlining and reading notes out loud— didn't always result in good grades.

The report found highlighting, rereading, underlining and summarizing your notes (the most popular studying methods by students today), received the lowest ranking for furthering students' learning.

“We wanted to take a comprehensive look at promising strategies now, in order to direct teachers, students and parents to the strategies that are effective, yet underused," said researcher John Dunlosky of Kent State University in a press release.

So which techniques actually taught you those history dates and math equations? Turns out writing out practice tests and studying weeks in advance (sorry, no last-minute cram sessions) were the two best techniques for helping students best remember the information.

But even if students memorize content that's in front of them, some studies have shown final grades can also depend on how they felt before or during the exam. One 2011 report found that an estimated 35 per cent of students were so nervous before writing exams or tests that it impaired their performance, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Another popular technique, pulling an all-nighter, doesn't seem to benefit students either. The report found 60 per cent of college students in the U.S. stayed up all night during some point in school, and this method was linked to the lowest grades.

While some natural studying aids might include eating almonds and berries before exams to improve memory, Dunlosky and his team hope these results will change the way students are taught in the future.

Researchers named these the 10 most popular studying habits — what would you add to the list?

10 Popular Studying Techniques


THE METHOD: After reading material, students write down the most important concepts or ideas from each section or chapter.

Remembering Keywords:

THE METHOD: Using keywords to remember the most important sections in text material

Self Explanation:

THE METHOD: In this method of studying, students describe how new information is related to known information, and how these new facts came to be.


THE METHOD: Highlighting and underlining material you define as important

Making Images:

THE METHOD: Attempting to recreate a mental image of what you just learned


THE METHOD: Rereading material you've already learned and trying to memorize it

Elaborative Interrogation:

THE METHOD: This studying habit includes writing down facts, concepts or questions and describing in detail why each one is true

Practice Tests:

THE METHOD: After reading material, students can create and complete their own versions of tests

Studying Ahead:

THE METHOD: Creating a studying schedule weeks before your exam or test (good luck with this one kids)

Interleaved Practice:

THE METHOD: Studying using different kinds of problems and materials during a single study session or multiple sessions

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