Study Tools

Students learn more by actively engaging information, rather than just re-reading it. The following study tools have been proven effective for many college students—the choice of which tool to use depends on the individual and the material to be learned.

Flash Cards

Write vocabulary words on the front and definitions on the back, or questions on the front and answers on the back. Creating the flash cards will help you learn and remember the material, and using them to self-test is a very effective way to review.

Summary Sheets

Condense large amounts of information (e.g. several weeks of notes or a chapter from a textbook) into a page or two. This organizes the information for easy reference and forces you to review the material while identifying the important points.

Time Lines

Creating a time line helps you organize information from classes that deal with chronological order. Time lines will give a visual image of the information, making it easier to recall during testing. This is also a good way to put isolated events in context and see the progression of events or ideas.


Charts are an effective format for organizing information into categories or subtypes. While you may be familiar with charts in a math or science setting, charts can be used for many types of classes, for instance a language class.

Predicting Test Questions

Predicting test questions is a way to create a study guide in advance. Mark lecture notes when the professor mentions a key point; when you review the notes, record the item on a "Possible Test Questions" page. Keep similar records while reading the course text. When it comes time for a test, you have a homemade reference of key points and ideas!