COLUMN: 8 Fresh Study Tips and Techniques from a Grade 9 and 10 Honour Roll Student

By: Hannah Beckford

This time of year is one of the most stressful for high school students. Midterms might be around the corner, but before you freak out, here are 8 fresh study tips and techniques you implement into your next study session. 


Pomodoro Method

Named after the Italian word for tomato, the Pomodoro Method is a time management technique that consists of studying for 25 minutes then breaking for five minutes – . I like to use this technique as it helps me segment my time and prevents me from burning out quickly, compared to studying until I’m Finished with my work. The Pomodoro Method is also easily adjustable and customizable. With many online timers, you can take a break after one or two sessions. Here is my favourite:

Cue Cards

Many people already know about cue cards, but some miss out on the potential they harness. Cue cards are great for memorising information like definitions. If you’re a visual learner, combining cue cards with a small, unusual doodle can help to jog your memory. For example, if I was trying to remember that an organism’s traits are passed from parent to offspring via DNA transmission, I could draw a parent and a baby with blue eyes and an arrow in the shape of a double helix between them, then write ‘DNA Transmission’ with the definition near the image.  

While thinking about this doodle, you’ll start to associate the symbols with the definition and vice versa. 

You could also use your cue cards for test questions. Instead of just flipping through the deck, read the question and pause to think of the answer before writing it down. This makes it easier to recall when writing a test or quiz and forces you to formulate a proper answer instead of rushing to the next card. 

Study Sheets

Having a study sheet is like having a library of key information laid out in front of you. Strategically organising information on a study sheet will make it easier to visualize in your head and comb through for specific information. Creating different sections for different topics makes it easier for you to find information. When you make a study sheet, make sure it is catered to you specifically. If you remember information on the left side of the page better, put important information there. If you need to add arrows to connect topics, draw ‘em in. The goal is to be able to create a decent mental ‘photograph’ of your page.

One of my study sheets for the Grade 11 Genetics Unit. I add the information over time and organise it beforehand. 


Review the lesson you learned in class

Clearing up confusion is important from the get-go.  Reviewing the lesson you just learned can help you recognise what you understand and what you still need to improve on. I like to watch videos related to the lesson as well. If available, you can read through your class textbook and jot down which need clarification. 

Here are some of my favorite helpful Youtube channels: 

Science: CrashCourse

Math: Ms Havrots Canadian University Math Prerequisites

English: Scribbr

History: Oversimplified

Keep a KND Chart 

Keeping track of what you know, what you don’t know, and what you need to know lets you pinpoint what you need to study the most. You can also leave room in the margin of your page to note what you specifically struggle with. 

Build study sessions into your schedule, not around it

Your schedule is never static and neither is your study schedule. Try and set a goal for the amount of time you want to spend on each topic. Adjust if needed. Having a rough idea of how much time you will spend encourages you to study. Studying for about 50 minutes is way less daunting than studying from four o’clock to four fifty. 

Create lesson specific decks and organise them into folders

Staying organised is essential to studying effectively. You don’t want to spend half your time looking for lost content. I prefer to create cue card decks for each lesson in class. That way I know the content of the cards and I can study topics from lessons I struggled with. 

‘File away’ your distractions 

One of the biggest distractions people face while studying is the temptation to check their phone. Putting away your phone in a drawer, separate room or on a shelf discourages you from checking it while studying. You can even ask someone in your house to hide your phone, so that you won’t have to resist the temptation of picking it back up. This tip is useful if you find that you have a difficult time putting down your phone. 

Keep in mind that improving your ability to study takes time and hard work. The more time you spend practicing, adjusting the better you will understand how you study and what works for you.