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Effective Study Techniques for Middle Schoolers: 10 ways to Study Without Getting Bored

Effective Study Techniques for Middle Schoolers: 10 ways to Study Without Getting Bored
June 13, 2024
7 mins
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Studying doesn't have to mean boring nights spent repeatedly reading textbooks until your eyes glaze over. There are plenty of innovative and fun study techniques involving flashcards, mnemonics and note-taking techniques that can make learning stick for middle schoolers. Finding the most effective study method involves matching techniques to your unique interests and learning style. With a little experimentation, studying can actually become an enjoyable process of self-discovery!

The middle school years represent a golden window of opportunity for shaping long-term academic skills. This is because adolescence is the time during which our brain experiences the highest levels of neuroplasticity, the ability of our brain to change and adapt due to experience. As a result, study techniques picked up during this time - whether it's good note-taking, solving worksheets full of practice problems, or explaining tough concepts in their own words - can last a lifetime and significantly impact their learning outcome in the later years.

So how can parents and teachers help middle schoolers unlock their academic potential during this critical phase? The key is finding strategies that are focused, fun, and self-driven. A holistic approach sees learning as a process that students master when they're given independence to pursue their passions in a deliberate, guided manner. This article reveals the top techniques for engaged, committed studying so students can optimize their learning.

Top Evidence-Based Studying Strategies for Middle Schoolers

In a world full of distractions, honing your focus and developing effective study habits can be challenging. In this article, we'll look at study methods & strategies that offer a fresh perspective on studying. By embracing these unique techniques, students can enhance their ability to concentrate and retain information, setting the stage for lifelong learning success.


Best for: Social sciences & similar subjects with dense reading.

SQ3R is an acronym that stands for the five-step reading comprehension process. This study technique can help one effectively read and retain information from textbooks and any other written materials.

Here's how you can study using the SQ3R method:

Survey: Instead of reading the entire book, start by skimming through headings, subheadings, and other stand-out features like images or any charts.

Question: Next, formulate a question around the material you are about to read. This is to focus your attention on the most important part of the material.

Read: As you read, look for answers to the questions from the previous step and take note of key information.

Recite: Recall the information you just read and put it into your own words.

Review: Finally, go back over the material and review the key information from the above steps. Re-read any portions you need to.

Retrieval Practice & Spaced Repetition

Best for: Reinforcing foundational knowledge and concepts & building fluency in math, science, and language arts fundamentals.

Retrieval Practice is based on the idea that recalling an answer improves learning more than looking for the answer in the book. This is because when students try to retrieve information, their brains are working harder and making more connections.

Spaced repetition is a study technique that is based on the same principle of retrieval practice. This method encourages reviewing information at increasing intervals, with more time between reviews. Additionally, spacing out studying allows your mind to make connections between ideas and build upon the knowledge that can be easily recalled later.

Practice tests, flashcards , or answering common questions are some ways to effectively integrate both the retrieval techniques into your middle schoolers' study routine. Use practice tests or questions to quiz yourself without looking at your book or notes. Create flashcards and instead of flipping a card over, write the answer down and check.

Students of all ages and abilities struggle to organize and implement spaced practice. Therefore, it is most effective when parents incorporate it into their child's daily study schedule and homework, especially before tests. For the best results, it is recommended to implement spaced repetition at least two weeks prior to a test.

Feynman Technique

Best for: Conceptual understanding, i.e. breaking down complex concepts into simple explanations

The Feynman Technique involves breaking down a concept into simple components and then explaining it in plain and simple terms. It is based on the idea that by attempting to explain a concept in one's own words, one is likely to understand it a lot faster.

Here's how to use this technique:

  1. Write: Choose a concept and write down everything you already know about the concept. Be as detailed as possible, but use your own words.
  2. Assess: Once you've written down what you know, identify the gaps in your knowledge. Use textbooks, lectures, and other resources to do further research if necessary.
  3. Review & Rewrite: Lastly, rewrite the concept in the simplest language. Use analogies, examples, and metaphors to explain the ideas in a way that anyone, including a child, could understand.

Leitner System

Best for: Active recall and memory strengthening. Example: building fluency in vocabulary and verbal skills

The Leitner System is an effective study method based on the principle of spaced repetition. This technique uses flashcards as a tool for learning, and cards are organized into different boxes. Every card starts in box 1. If you get a card right, move it to the next box. If you get a card wrong, move it back and keep it in the same box. You can further create more boxes with different labels such as every two days: box 2, every four days: box 3, every nine days: box 4, and so on until the day of the test.

Note Taking With Mind Mapping

Best for: Big picture thinkers and visual learners

Mind maps involve creating a visual representation of your thoughts by writing an idea or topic in a central bubble, then branching out with related ideas and subtopics. This method can be used for brainstorming, note-taking, outlining, or organizing your thoughts.

The structure of a mind map is related to how our brains store and retrieve information. Mind maps are linked to a 20% to 15% increase in the retention of information and improved creativity. This is because by creating a visual map of how different ideas relate to each other, you can see the big picture and make connections between different pieces of information.

Studying in Group

Best for: Auditory and interpersonal learners

Participating in study groups can greatly improve your child's learning experience. It can be a fun and engaging substitute for being alone at their desk and studying. Before signing up for group study sessions, make sure to keep the group to two or three, and have an adult supervising nearby.

Study groups are effective because students can work through challenging concepts together. For example, group members can each explain a section of confusing class material to reinforce their own understanding. Teaching peers is a powerful way to solidify knowledge. Groups can also test each other with practice questions or collaborate on solving problems step-by-step.

Study group sessions can also be simple co-working sessions where kids work side-by-side with one another. The presence of another person can be remarkably effective in overcoming procrastination and boosting productivity. Having someone nearby doing their best to confront their own challenge makes it easier to resist the urge for procrastinating.

Other Useful Study Tools: Visual Aids, Video Tutorial

Quizzes: Quizzes work similarly to flashcards. Test your knowledge on the subject by creating questions from your study material. To do this, you can use free online tools like QuizletVisual Aids: Visual learners can benefit from using visual aids such as diagrams, charts, infographics, and videos to understand and remember complex concepts. Look for online resources like Khan Academy or YouTube for educational content in the particular subject area.

Keywords: This method helps students memorize words and definitions. To practice it, find a mnemonic or word hidden in the word they're trying to learn and make up a tiny story that links it to the definition.

Study Apps: Introduce online task manager tools such as Todoist, Trello, or Any.do to plan & organize the study schedule.  Using digital tools can be exciting for your child as well.

Setting the Stage for Lifelong Learning

While studying is often seen as repetitive and dull, the techniques explored in this article prove it can be an engaging self-discovery process. By matching methods to their learning styles, interests, and subjects, students can find the joy in studying.

Crimson Rise programs adopt a personalized approach to empowering each student. Through one-on-one guidance, our mentors work closely with pre-teens to discern the learning techniques that suit them best. We help students establish a robust foundation for academic success by exploring diverse study strategies and resources until we determine the optimal methods that will serve them well both now and in their future educational and professional careers. Book a free consultation with our academic expert to know more about building an individualized academic pathway for your child.

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