5 Study Techniques No One Talks About | Study Smarter, Not Harder


There are many elements that make up a perfect study routine and study plan, however there are some study techniques many may not be aware of but could be useful. A strong study plan is crucial to achieve a goal, and having techniques that could support the plan is even more pertinent. Here is a list of five study techniques, mainly: Leitner System, The Feynman Technique, The PQ4R Technique, The SQ3R Method, and Color-Coded notes.

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The Leitner system is an approach that uses flashcards. It was proposed by the German science journalist Sebastian Leitner in 1970. The way this method works is that you should have a couple of boxes to keep your flashcards in. For instance, box 1, 2 and 3; each of them signaling advancement level of learning. 

Each box would contain flashcards. If you can recollect the content of the first box, then you can move it to box 2. Similarly, if you are done memorizing concepts of box 2, the cards would be moved to box 3. However, if you fail to recall the concept of the card that is in box 2 or 3, the card will be put in a lower box. For instance, the card from box 2 will be moved to box 1. This is among the most efficient study methods as it makes use of spaced repetition.


The Feynman Technique was devised by a Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman. It is based on four steps.

  • Pretend to teach the concept you want to learn, like you are introducing that concept to someone who has no knowledge of that subject or field.
  • Locate gaps in your explanation and go back to the material and try to understand it better.
  • Organize your thoughts and simplify the ideas.
  • Explain it to someone else and see if they get the gist of the idea.

The gist of this method is to simplify concepts by putting it in plain and simple terms.


The PQ4R method was invented by the educational psychologist Francis. P. Robinson. It is an active learning approach that improves knowledge of the topic and aids memorization. PQ4R is an acronym for Preview, Question, Read, Reflect, Recite and Review.

  • Preview – Before you begin reading, look through the details to get a sense of the subject matter. Just read the headers, subheadings, and highlighted text after skimming the content.
  • Question – Ask yourself, “What am I expecting to learn?”, “What do I know about this subject already?”.
  • Read – One part at a time, read the details and try to find answers to your questions.
  • Reflect – Have you addressed all of your concerns? If you don’t know the answer, go back and look it up.
  • Recite – Make a rundown of the knowledge you just read in your own words, either by speaking or writing it down.
  • Review – Examine the content once more and respond to any questions that remain unanswered.



The method was introduced by Francis. P. Robinson in his 1946 book Effective Study. This is a tactic which helps readers retain information and locate important data. SQ3R is an acronym for Survey, Question, Read, Recite and Review.

  • Survey – Rather than reading the entire text, skim the first chapter and make notes on any headings, subheadings, photographs, or other notable features such as maps.
  • Question – Form questions centered on the chapter’s material, such as “What is the purpose of this chapter?”, “What do I know about this topic already?”.
  • Read – Begin reading the entire chapter in order to find answers to the questions you’ve posed.
  • Recite – After reading a section, write a summary of what you’ve learned. Try remembering and recognizing key points, as well as responding to any questions raised in the second phase.
  • Review – After you’ve finished the chapter, go through it again to make sure you understand everything. Test yourself on the questions you came up with, and reread any sections that require thorough revision.

According to a recent report, colour can help people remember things better. Warm colours (red and yellow) “may build a supportive and inspiring learning experience that can help learners not only have a positive understanding of the content but also connect and communicate more with the learning materials,” relayed the same report. Warmer colours “increase attention and elicit excitement and information,” according to the study. Below listed are some ways that you can prepare colour-coded notes:

  • Make a list of important points in red.
  • Yellow highlights relevant detail.
  • Color-code your subjects.
  • Color just the most relevant stuff, not the whole page.

It is imperative while studying or trying to learn new concepts that you get the basics right. With the help of the techniques mentioned above, you can make sure that you have a firm grasp on the basics and that your foundation is strong.

In a nutshell, while everyone has their own study techniques that helps them memorise the course material faster, some study methods like the ones covered simplify the process immensely. Some of these techniques have been developed by psychologists and have been put to test. There are study materials and research to back up these techniques, therefore these are full proof. Feel free to use any of these study techniques and prepare to get better scores!

Author Bio
Meghna Subba

Meghna is an avid reader, and an occasional writer. She is a curious learner who loves to learn everything from playing ukulele to Morse Code.