Effective Study Skills

What does good study skills and being an ‘Independent Learner’ mean at Collyer’s?

In short, it means a 50/50 model of matching the amount of time students spend in class, with an equal amount of time outside of class.

Independent Learning means being active with learning. Staff will set tasks which must be completed, but these act as a minimum expectation of student work. Completing tasks only set by staff is a passive way of learning (doing what someone else has asked), an active approach is one that involves assessing own learning and creating tasks that will consolidate learning, therefore being specific to each student’s individual needs.

Focusing on how you learn specific to how your brain works is often called ‘metacognition’ and has been researched to suggest that it can advance learning by 7 months compared to those that learn information in a passive way.

What Independent Learning looks like:

  • Students create specific strategies for planning, monitoring, and evaluating their learning.
  • Students consolidate learning by being creative (making mind maps, mnemonics, cue cards etc etc…)
  • Students assess their learning by using past paper questions for A-Levels or practicing assessment skills for vocational/creative subjects.


If students need help with this approach then have a look at our Study Support Parent Information (add link to HMD page). Students can access a range of helpful resources or arrange to meet once of our helpful and skilled Study Support team.

5 Levels of Cognitive Learning

  • Level 5: Deep processing Synthesising your own understanding- teach to someone else, create your own questions and answers, making links between topics
  • Level 4: Comprehensive testing: Completing and marking exam questions in timed conditions without notes
  • Level 3: Applying and evaluating: Completing the check it questions in the textbook, summarising A03 points, planning 16M answers
  • Level 2: Checking and reviewing: Testing yourself on the content, quick knowledge checks, quizzes, recall of knowledge from memory, creating revision resources
  • Level 1: Knowledge Ensuring that you have notes for each topic and have outlined key terminology

Helpful Links

6 Habits of Highly Successful Students

How phones can change your brain

Spaced repetiton

Testing Effect

Useful Study Learning Platforms

Digital Flashcards and Revision Cards


Brainscape: The Best Flashcards App

Anki Software