Study Skills

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Due to the constant human need, to discover always more, we had the opportunity to learn, after numerous scientific studies, that humans may be the species with the greatest capacity of learning, that at birth, man already possesses a minimum of reactions and reflexes able to adapt to the action of stimuli. Our ability to learn is included in the human genetic program, so that learning becomes an objective necessity, a law of human evolution and development. However, as opposed to features or hereditary predispositions, learning is an individual acquisition, the accumulation of information cannot be a passive process, as it requires permanent transformation activity.

Even if our genetic predisposition guides us all, as species, towards evolution, each human being is unique, each individual develops their own way of acquiring and adapting all necessary skills to the environment in which he lives. Differences between individuals are also found both in their cognitive structure and in the ways of learning and accommodation to the external factors or the inner patterns they use in learning. Uniqueness of each person also refers to the fact that everyone builds their own learning strategies, pathways and particular training trajectories and objectives.

For various reasons, people continue to learn new things, which is why, study skills turn out to be more important than previously considered. Nowadays, thanks to the Internet, the free press, the world is completely exposed to all kinds of information. Due to the large amount of data available, it becomes increasingly difficult for individuals to cope with the avalanche of novelty and to filter or assimilate accordingly. Therefore, individuals develop different study skills to help them ascertain and gain new knowledge.

Knowledge, as representations, notions, definitions, laws, theories, conceptions that reflect objective reality, is obtained from the earliest periods of life, but as students, they materialize on the basis of mental processes of analysis, synthesis, comparison, abstraction, generalization, classification in an organized, systematic way, in close connection with each other. Various studies show that there are many different definitions of study skills, but these are generally classified into categories such as: ability to organize, active listening, attending lectures, synthesizing, the ability to note essential information, effective written explanations, active participation in the lesson, performing homework, preparing for exams and participation in exams, remembering and using information and the ability to work in groups. (Crow, 1965) (Dodge, 1994).

According to Gersten’s guide, students with learning difficulties, due to different reasons, for instance language barriers, may have just not been introduced to the proper studying skills and techniques that are suitable for them, that could help them enhance their learning abilities. The guide also states that it becomes the teacher’s responsibility to discover and apply with these students the study skills linked to their past experience, to their cultural background, to facilitate the consolidation of information in a comprehensible manner. (Gersten, et al., 1998)

In order to better understand how people develop their study skills, how they define their learning process and what approach they have to it, it is best to first understand how human brain works and what are its main functions, that help drawing adaptability patterns throughout the life cycle.

Numerous scholars and brain researchers such as (Hebb, 1949), (McCarthy, 2000)have conducted studies and issued conclusions and documentation about students' learning styles in connection with the hemispheres of the brain, among which there is no hierarchy report, none is superior to the other, but both right and left hemispheres engage different techniques, when receiving and processing information. The left hemisphere is the one in charge with the logical, non-emotional context, while the right hemisphere is the one dealing with the non-logical, emotional connections.

Executive functions, that include working memory (the ability to temporarily handle information), inhibition (impulse control), cognitive flexibility (the ability to provide several solutions to a problem) and planning (elaborating strategies to reach a goal) are fundamental for development, for literacy, as the basis of learning. (Zelazo & Carlson, 2012). These studies conclude that individuals learn in non-identical ways, so multidimensional teaching patterns should be applied and that, focusing on the proper use of the executive functions of the brains, could improve academic performance, as an indicator of the efficiency and quality of an educational process, carried out in different styles.


Berg, K. F., 1994. Scripted Cooperation in High School Mathematics: Peer Interaction and Achievement.. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (New Orleans, LA, April 4-8, 1994)., Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research.

Buzan, T. & Buzan, B., 1994. The Mind Map Book. How to use radiant thinking, to maximize your brain's untapped potential. New York: Dutton.

Collins, A. M. & Quillian, M. R., 1969. Retrieval Time for Semantic Memory. 8.1. Print ed. s.l.:Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior.

Crow, A., 1965. An outline on educational psychology. s.l.:A Littlefield, Adams & Co..

Dodge, J., 1994. The study skills handbook: More than 75 strategies for better learning. New York: Scholastic Inc..

Dumitru, A. & Dogaru, M., 2011. Inovație și performanță în dezvoltarea profesională a cadrelor didactice din mediul urban. Bucharest: Modulul 6 “Calitate în educație"

Entwistle, N., 1988. Styles of Learning and Teaching. An Integrated Outline of Educational Psychology for Students, Teachers, and Lectures,. London: David Fulton Publishers.

Gersten, R., Baker, S. K. & Marks, S. U., 1998. Teaching English-Language Learners with Learning Difficulties: Guiding Principles and Examples from Research-Based Practice.. Reston, VA: Council for Exceptional Children.

Hebb, D. O., 1949. The organization of behavior: A neuropsychological theory.. London: John Wiley & Sons, Inc..

Kolb, D., 2015. Experiential Learning: Experience as the Source of Learning and Development. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Education Inc..

McCarthy, B., 2000. About Teaching: 4MAT in the Classroom, s.l.: About Learning, Inc..

Putra, P. P., 2012. The Use of Mind Mapping Strategy in the Teaching of Writing. International Journal of Humanities and Social Science, Bengkulu, Indonesia, Vol. 2 No. 21; November, pp. 60-68.

Sim, M.-A. & Pop, A.-M., 2012. Mind mapping and brainstorming as methods of teaching business concepts in English as a foreign language. Academica Science Journal, Psychologica Series; Dimitrie Cantemir University of Targu Mures.

Slavin, R. E., 1988. Cooperative learning and student achievement.. Anales de psicología, ISSN 0212-9728, ISSN-e 1695-2294, Vol. 30, Nș. 3, 2014, pp. 785-791.

Slavin, R. E., Revised in 2014. Cooperative Learning in Elementary Schools. Johns Hopkins University -and- University of York.

Zelazo, P. D. & Carlson, S. M., 2012. Hot and Cool Executive Function in Childhood and Adolescence: Development and Plasticity. Child Development Perspectives, 07 June, pp. 354-360.

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