Terry Small - How to Study and Retain Information Longer

Posted by Lori Goldman on Tuesday, April 5, 2011
Terry Small is my hero!!  He travels the world teaching young people and adults how to study better
(SMARTER not HARDER) and how to remember longer.

He has great success and I use his philosophy when I work with my students.  His ideas make successful students!!
This is from Terry's website.  Thanks for sharing, Terry!

Home study should be the consistent systematic reviewing and previewing not only the material assigned by the teacher, Small says.

1. Previewing is a great way to stay ahead of the game especially in subjects that are easy to fall behind in. For instance in math, if the teacher reviewed page 48 in class, he will most likely review page 49 the following day. Your ideal scenario would be to preview that page 49 the prior night.

Small explains that the Vancouver Canucks plan their opposition before the game. They watch videotapes and watch how the opposing team plays to help increase their chances of winning the game.  Students can do similarly in school by taking five to 10 minutes to preview pages that will likely be covered in class the following day.

2. While setting goals, writing them down and posting them, making a weekly home study schedule, and making a good first impression the first week of school is important to excelling in school. Other study tricks will help students do well as exam time approaches.

3. "One of the biggest issues facing students is diet," Small says.  Start the morning right with a healthy breakfast. Drink lots of water and drink water before feeling thirsty.  "Most students' brains are dehydrated," he says.

4. Set up a study area and keep the room temperature on the cool side - about 18 degrees Celsius.

5. Use a master binder to get you ready for studying. Take breaks every 10 to 15 minutes to keep the brain sharp. A good way to determine the amount of breaking time is to take your age and add by two minutes. After the age of 18, break intervals stay at 20 minutes, he says.

6. When studying, prepare questions and answers and use memory and mastery cards. Small says to use the active learning approach where you interactive with the material as opposed to passive learning where you read notes over.  "If you watch a basketball game, you do learn but by playing you learn more," says Small.

   A. Studying out loud, writing things down as you study and adding colour to notes will help increase information retention.
   B. Get on your feet as it will help retain information more. "When you stand up it increases the blood flow to the brain."
7. Small also recommends playing baroque music softly in the background while studying.
8. When putting together a study strategy put parents on your team. "The more the parents are involved the more the marks go up."
9. Decrease the amount of TV that students watch. "TV viewing goes up, marks go down," he says.
10. When you sit down to do homework, tackle the least favourite or hardest subject first.

Visit Small's website at www.terrysmall.com for more information.

Do you or your kids make any of these mistakes?

  1. Leave studying and homework until the last minute.
  2. Get to the bottom of page and wonder what did I just read?
  3. Get marks below potential.
  4. Lack motivation.
  5. Have trouble paying attention.
  6. Spend too much time studying.
  7. Achieve grades too low for university admission.
Terry's DVD or video is based on the latest research on how your brain learns best. If you know how to study, then your marks improve!

About Me

Lori in I got my Bachelor of Education degree in the USA but was born and raised in Canada. Working in Asia and with immigrant adults and children for 26 years has given me insights into the difficulties they face in a new country and school system. I like to help adults adjust to and explore the rich and diverse opportunities in Canada while also supporting them in their challenge of parenting in a new culture. I love to help children learn English, develop skills, and gain confidence to succeed in school and life.


“Don't aim at success. The more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side effect of one's personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one's surrender to a person other than oneself. Happiness must happen, and the same holds for success: you have to let it happen by not caring about it. I want you to listen to what your conscience commands you to do and go on to carry it out to the best of your knowledge. Then you will live to see that in the long-run—in the long-run, I say!—success will follow you precisely because you had forgotten to think about it” ― Viktor E. Frankl, Man's Search for Meaning A lack of planning on your part does not constitute and emergency on my part. "Most people don't plan to fail; they fail to plan." ~~John L. Beckley

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