Updated: Jul 12, 2021
Study skills are one of the most ignored areas that students can improve on. Many students apply the "I'll just do this longer and I'm sure I'll succeed" method when it come to studying without really examining themselves, the subject they are studying, and the experiences they've had in the past.
First, you have to know yourself as a student. How do you retain information most efficiently? Do you need to hear it, see it, draw it or do you just naturally remember stuff? Once you have a sense of your brain's favorite method to take in information; think about the material you are trying to study for the test. Is this mostly fact based information where memorization is key? Or are you trying to understand systems where if you put in different variables you will have to imagine what the result will be? Usually the higher the grade you're in, the larger the percentage of "use your knowledge to imagine results" (or analysis) types of questions you are going to see.
So if you are an elementary or middle school student a lot of your time is going to be spent memorizing information so that you can eventually use it to answer those analysis types of questions later. That means you must pick a method that works best with your brain. Mnemonic devices can be letter based (PEMDAS) or based on music lyrics or based on body parts so you need to pick a technique that works for your learning style (i.e. a drawing of a tree to remember the parts of the Federal Government).
Once you have done more than simply read your notes and your textbook (one of the least retained study methods on average) remember to ask yourself questions. Pretend you are taking the test. Quizzing yourself is a great way to prepare.
So what about study groups?" Once you have studied for a class or test, going to a study group and having to explain your knowledge to someone else is the best test of whether you really understand a subject. You get a chance to be quizzed by other people, not just yourself, which will reveal things you don't know well enough. But be sure that you have time to study more after your study group.