Study smarter with active study strategies

Studying is much more than just memorizing. Make the most of your study time with active study strategies.

Make studying part of your weekly schedule

Weekly Study Schedule Template
March 18, 2022

Studying = thinking

This means that studying isn’t the same as memorizing. You need to remember some information to get started, but then you need to apply, analyze, synthesize and evaluate your learnings with the course material.

  1. Make connections: Connect unfamiliar concepts using information you already know. In your notes, recall related content from other courses, other units in the same course and your personal experiences.
  2. Make content memorable: Analyze content by creating visual organizers (i.e., tables, mind maps and organizers).
  3. Teach yourself and others: Use your own words to describe, elaborate, clarify, extend and explain information. Also, create examples, write questions and answer textbook questions. 
  4. Test yourself: Make flash cards and use old exams to check your knowledge.

Make your own study questions and prompts

Create practice questions and prompts that force you to think critically. Even the act of writing the question will help you process information. Here are some examples.

Key strategies: List, find, name, identify, locate, describe, define

Example: When was the Canadian Charter of Rights enacted?

Key strategies: Interpret, summarize, explain, infer, paraphrase, discuss

Example: Why did most provincial premiers oppose the new constitution?

Key strategies: Using and applying knowledge, solving problems, designing, manipulating

Example: Should protesters be allowed to target specific religious groups?

Key strategies: Identifying and analyzing patterns, recognizing trends, comparing and contrasting

Example: Compare and contrast the Canadian Charter with the U.S. Bill of Rights.

Key strategies: Critically examining, making judgements, critiquing, defending

Example: Should Canada keep the British crown as its head of state?

Key strategies: Use information to create something new, construct, plan, produce, devise

Example: Envision a scenario when the federal government would invoke the notwithstanding clause.

Get personalized, one-on-one academic support

You can improve your grades and develop the skills you need to succeed in university with help from one-on-one appointments. The academic skills team is here to help.

  • Academic coaching (30 minutes): Meet with an upper-year academic coach to create a study plan, chat about test-taking strategies and learn how to use your lecture notes to study. Learn about academic coaching.
  • Holistic academic support (50 minutes): Meet with a professional education expert to get holistic academic support, monitor your progress, build academic resilience and more.
  • Writing support (50 minutes): Book an appointment with a writing advisor, offered by the Writing Centre. They can help you at any stage in the writing process, in any academic discipline. Learn about the Writing Centre.

Book appointments on OSCARplus, under Student Success Centre > Appointments > Academic Skills.