Study skills and how to teach them Back to list


Taking good notes is a skill but how do I teach it?

Very often we just expect students to naturally know how to take good notes or how to revise vocabulary without teaching them the strategies to enable them to become successful students.

Why not try focusing on a study area each month and aim to provide your students with specific guidelines to help them improve their revision techniques, note taking, memorisation skills, etc. If you’re not sure how to tackle the area of study skills, we have lots of activities to help you.


Watch this clip on how to take organised notes and get your students to practise this over the space of a month. Ask them to show you their notes. Ask them to think about how they could improve the notes they have taken. Spend time on improving this skill by getting them to revise their notes and feedback on how they have changed the way they take notes. Listening to peers in the class can have a positive effect on how students tackle this important area, and it’s a skill that will serve them for life, through University to the work environment.


Why not try out this activity on mneumonics with your students to help them learn difficult spellings? The same technique can be used for a wide variety of subject areas, for example, from trying to remember the names of bones in the body to the names of certain periods in history. It’s a useful technique that I’m sure your students will benefit from.

Recording and recycling

When we’re looking at how to record and recycle vocabulary, a good starting point is the textbook itself. For example, in Pulse 1 and 2, the study guide at the end of each unit groups the vocabulary into lexical sets. This enables students to look back over the key vocabulary they have seen in the unit and work on groups of words. It is also a good idea to provide learners with key words or word banks before beginning a task.

If you’d like to focus on recording vocabulary, why not ask your students to do Study skills: grouping words and Study skills: mind maps or Study skills: word detectives to ask them to practise organising their vocabulary.

If you take time to focus on study skills, you’ll not only help to improve your students’ performance now but also give them the essential tools they will need later on in life to succeed.

Maria Toth