IOE - Faculty of Education and Society


Cognition and learning: study skills

Ideas and resources to help young people studying.

Student studying with books. Image: Retha Ferguson via Pexels

Study skills can be difficult for many young people, particularly those with literacy or memory difficulties. Specific problem areas can include:

  • Memorising: facts, names, sequences, rote memory.
  • Concentration.
  • Expressive writing problems: even when orally competent.
  • Copying and note taking.
  • Word retrieval.
  • Lack of automaticity.
  • Confidence.

We have compiled a list of helpful ideas and resources:

Personal organisation

Personal organisation is an important part of helping young people become independent learners and use their study skills. The following ideas and resources can be helpful:

  • explicitly teach how to use homework organiser or planner
  • timetables (visual timetables, ICT versions, Google Calendar) 
  • plan things in advance
  • technology and applications. (e.g. Workflowy, Remember The Milk, Brain In Hand, Siri, calendar, iPhone, Microsoft Outlook, Office 365, Microsoft learning tools).
  • teach learners to prioritise work in the time available.


Helping with memory

  • give one instruction at a time.
  • ask student to repeat instructions.
  • chunking information.
  • notebooks and techy aids, checklists.
  • teach mnemonics.
  • personal prompts e.g. markers.
  • visual aids.
  • apps.

This booklet contains excellent research-based ideas on supporting working memory:


Helpful sites for revision and independent study:

A interactive website designed for adult students. Information can be adapted:

Technology to support study skills:

For help with referencing:

  • Mendeley website
  • RefMe website 
  • Resources (Diversity and Ability website) - select the 'Referencing' filter for downloadable guides and information.
  • Zotero website

Read the helpful resources on avoiding plagiarism:

Information on metacognition and other learning strategies: