Breakthrough Learning:
Effective Study Skills for College Students

If you are looking for the site for High School Students (and serious Middle School Students) and college students who prefer a shorter basic introduction, go to  www.breakthroughlearninghs.com

The purpose of the website is to explain How to Study in College so you canFour Happy University Students

  • Learn Faster
  • Understand More
  • Remember Longer
  • Make Better Grades

We talk a lot about how important it is to study, but students (and many professors) never seem quite sure just what it means to study. They think it involves reading the material again… that’s reading; It is NOT studying.

NEWS: Straight A’s Are NOT Enough – Published 4/28/15 –  is now available on Amazon and BN.com – also in E-books.

This website will help you understand HOW TO STUDY.

Start by considering the next two diagrams.

The First Image: Why do we study and forget?

Most students work hard. We listen and take notes during lectures. We read and study textbooks. Why is it we forget nearly everything in a month or less? How can we call this getting an education?

Image of a head with information going in and coming out - leaving the head empty
Information In – Information out – leaving the student with an empty head

This image shows information going into the head and information coming out, leaving the head empty. Call it a “visual metaphor.”

We’re more familiar with verbal metaphors: In one ear and out the other.  Easy come, easy go.

There is also a popular analogy comparing study to digestion. It describes students swallowing information, only to vomit or regurgitate it on a test.  What we really need to do is chew the information slowly and thoughtfully. We need to digest the ideas so they become part of us.

When food is well-digested it is changed and absorbed, passing from the small intestines into the blood and then carried to all parts of the body. 

When information is well-digested, it is absorbed through study and carried by the nerves to many parts of the brain and stored until we need it. 

Just as eating against one’s will is injurious to health, so studying without a liking for it spoils the memory, and it retains nothing it takes in.      —-  Leonardo Da Vinci

The Second Image: Using Effective Study Skills

The first image shows The Problem.

This image of the head shows information processed in the brain -leading to memory.
Information In and Processed in the Brain. Information Out but the information remains.

The second image shows The Solution.

When students use effective study skills or mental processing,  the brain does not remain empty.

The website is divided into three main sections:

1.  The HABITS of Successful College Students

2.  Basic Learning SKILLS

3.  Study  STRATEGIES for Mental Processing: including 4 sections:

.          A.   12 VERBAL strategies for organizing information

.         B.   12 VISUAL strategies for organizing information

.         C.  10 Ways of Thinking

.         D.  10  Ways of Remembering.

If you study the second of the little head, you will see that it includes organizing information, thinking and remembering.


Before going on to the first section, the Twelve Habits of Successful College Students,  take paper and pencil and make a list of 10 – 20  habits you would expect to find on this list.

What would you expect successful students to be like?? What would you mean by successful?

When you have completed your list, turn to the   Twelve Habits of Successful College Students.     Evaluate yourself as you read the page. Which of these habits do you already practice well? Which new habits should you develop or strengthen?

If you have studied that page before, you might want to see a  detailed  overview of the site:  The  Symbolic image of the website will help you see how information is organized with details that were not included on the menu.

It is followed by Links to Site with links to all the major pages.  This is the ideal page to bookmark or save to favorites.

Other pages  you might be interested in include: Pages to Start With       Most Popular Pages      What is Breakthrough Learning? 

Note: If you have been on this website before, you might notice that the organization has changed. But all of the pages are still on the site. Check   Links to Site  to find them more easily.

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