Learning Strategy 16: Study Cycles

Robert Harris
Version Date: March 19, 2016


The deepest learning is learning that includes not just remembering for awhile but long-term remembering and understanding. To achieve this depth and richness, to gain knowledge that will last, requires more than just cramming for an 8 am test at midnight the night before. A major key to permanent, deep learning is repeated study and practice over time. The Study Cycles strategy incorporates this.


Plan your studying so that it is methodical and regular, even to the point of studying in the same place (same desk or cubicle) at the same times each day.

The first step in developing a study cycle is to discover your own personal alertness factors.

Once you know your alertness rhythm, you can plan your study cycle.

Lather, Rinse, and Repeat

Two of the golden keys to learning are
This second key is the focus now. In spite of all the talk about rote memorization being "drill and kill," memory is cemented by repetition. The more often you encounter a statement of knowledge, the more easily and deeply and lastingly you will remember it. (It will also retrievable faster--see Learning Strategy 18: Fluency / Automaticity.)

The best way to study material over and over is to plan your study cycles so that the same material is covered over time, such as once or twice a week throghout the term. Cramming for an exam the night before has little long tem value. What little information sticks is soon forgotten. Remembrance comes not from simple re-reading or memorizing, but by practicing, applying, and gaining understanding of the information.

High Performance Learning

You can introduce variety into your study cycle by using the steps of the SQ3R Learning Strategy. For your first session, survey the material and ask questions about it--what to expect, how the material fits in to the subject area, and so forth. For your second session, read the material carefully. For the third, recite (say aloud what you can remember about the reading). And for the next session, review the reading and compare your memory with the text.

VirtualSalt Home
Learning Strategy 1: Mnemonics
Learning Strategy 2: Paraphrasing
Learning Strategy 3: Summarizing
Learning Strategy 4: Self Monitoring
Learning Strategy 5: Self Explanation
Learning Strategy 6: Mental Rehearsal
Learning Strategy 7: Self Assessment
Learning Strategy 8: The SQ3R Reading Method
Learning Strategy 9: Note Taking
Learning Strategy 10: The Leitner Flash Card System
Learning Strategy 11: Maintaining Interest
Learning Strategy 12: Conversation
Learning Strategy 13: Group Interaction
Learning Strategy 14: Idea Mapping
Learning Strategy 15: Drawing Pictures
Learning Strategy 16: Study Cycles
Learning Strategy 17: Sleep and Rest
Learning Strategy 18: Fluency / Automaticity
Learning Strategy 19: Learning Strategy Checklist
Learning Strategy 20: Asking Questions
Learning Strategy 21: Idea Linking
Learning Strategy 22: How to Use a Book
Learning Strategy 23: Active Listening
Learning Strategy 24: Close Reading
Learning Strategy 25: Analogies
Learning Strategy 26: Power Thinking
Learning Strategy 27: Planning for Learning
Learning Strategy 28: Outlining
Learning Strategy 29:
Copyright 2013 by Robert Harris | CCC 7000520813 | How to cite this page
w w w . v i r t u a l s a l t . c o m
About the author:
Robert Harris is a writer and educator with more than 25 years of teaching experience at the college and university level. RHarris at virtualsalt.com