As the new school year approaches, most students want to start off on a good note. They’ll reflect on what they might do to improve and increase their academic success… and “improved study skills” might just be at the top of that list.

To help students start the semester on a path to success, we’ve listed several key study skills, along with links to previous Engaging Minds posts that offer suggestions that help them build those skills and achieve their academic goals!

Which study skills would you add to this list? Share them in the comments.


Take thorough and thoughtful notes. Effective note-taking practices help you focus while you listen to your instructors’ lectures. And as a bonus: those notes make for useful study and review tools come test time!
Read your texts with a careful and critical eye. The way you read your course materials should differ from the way you read your favorite novel. To get the most out of your reading time, review our suggestions on how to read a textbook.

To make the time spent reading even more effective, learn how to take critical notes on your reading assignments. The process of taking thoughtful notes can help you remember what you’ve read, and it helps you think more critically and analytically about the material.
Brush up on your test-taking strategies. Everyone gets a bit nervous at test time, but by adopting some key study and test-taking strategies, you can build your confidence.

Before the big exam, practice for the test—you’ll hone your test-taking skills as you review the course material. (Another suggestion: complete a practice exam with a study group!)

If you’re taking an online test, consider the practices that will help you “make the grade” in that arena.

After the test, take the time to review your study strategies and evaluate whether or not they contributed to your level of success.
Manage your time and your resources. Create a schedule to plan your time and stay focused on achieving your short- and long-term goals. Prioritize your responsibilities, and endeavor to avoid procrastination.
Maintain a positive attitude. Though not strictly a “study skill,” a positive mindset will help you stay motivated on the path towards academic success. Develop the habit of keeping a positive, yet realistic perspective on life’s challenges, and make an effort to manage your stress levels, especially when you have a number of responsibilities on your plate.

Looking for additional study skills and tools that foster college success?

Read these study suggestions from college students, and explore the study advice available from CengageBrain.