Student Success

Tips for Successful Learning

Change it up! Change the location and times of when you are studying.

Space it out! Spread out your learning rather than cramming. Three 20 minute study sessions are much more effective than one 60 minute session.

Are you fluent? Just because you attempt a problem once in class and it was easy doesn’t mean you understand the subject.  Read this passage from How to Learn (Carey, 2014, p. 82):


"I was duped by what psychologists call fluency, the belief that facts or formulas or arguments are easy to remember right now, they’ll remain that way tomorrow or the next day. The fluency illusion is so strong that, once we felt we’ve nailed some topic or assignment, we assume that further study won’t help.  We forget that we forget.  Any number of study ‘aids’ can create fluency illusion, including (yes) highlighting, making a study guide, and even chapter outlines provided by a teacher or a textbook.  Fluency misperceptions are automatic.  They form subconsciously and make us poor judges of what we need to restudy, or practice again."  


Be active! & Test yourself!  Completing study guides or looking at the chapter summary are forms of passive learning.  The best form of studying is testing yourself, which is a form of active learning! See this resource for more information on why and how to test yourself.

Teach it! You don’t truly understand something until you can teach it.



Carey, B. (2014) How we learn: The surprising truth about when, where, and why it happens. New York: Random House.

Frank, T. (2015, January 29). Study Less Study Smart: A 6-Minute Summary of Marty Lobdell's Lecture College Info Geek [Video file]. Retrieved from

Frank, T. (2017, February 7). How to Learn Faster with the Feynman Technique (Example Included) [Video file]. Retrieved from

Markman, A. (2011, August 23). Test yourself to learn better: How can testing yourself help you learn? Psychology Today. Retrieved from