There are a number of different studying techniques that can be useful when trying to learn new material. What works for one person may not work for another, since everyone learns differently. This is why it is important to try a variety of studying techniques to see what works best. This might range from simply rereading notes or making flash cards, to setting up study groups or mock exams. All of these techniques can be effective, it just depends on whether an individual studies better independently or in groups, and whether he or she requires hands-on learning or can simply study by reading.
The best studying techniques begin in class with good note-taking skills. Notes will be invaluable when trying to study later. It is important not to write down every single thing the instructor says, but instead to make note of the most important points to jog the memory. If the instructor writes something on the board, this is an indicator that it is very important. Many people structure their notes in an outline format, and use a highlighter to mark especially important things; this can make studying much more productive later on when trying to remember the lecture.
One of the most common and simplest studying techniques is simply to read over the notes, and compare them along with the text, if applicable. Looking up any questions in the textbook can also help to reinforce the material. If this does not work, some people find that rewriting their notes, or important facts, on flash cards allows them to quiz themselves to see if they know the material. Other people find that they work best in a group with other students; this way, the students can quiz each other and learn the material together. Studying in a group can be one of the most effective studying techniques, but only if the group is actually able to focus on studying.
Regardless of the method for studying an individual chooses, it is important to make it a daily habit. Students who review their notes after class, or take time at the end of every day to keep up with the reading and review their notes, tend to really learn the material and be able to remember it for tests. Students who cram the night before a test generally do not really learn the material, and also tend to experience more anxiety, which can lead to poor grades on the test anyway.