The term study skills are defined in Wikipedia as “discrete techniques that can be learned, usually in a short time, and applied to all or most fields of study”. Study skills are acquired and can be developed throughout life in a variety of life situations and are a critical tool for learning. Mason-Whitehead & Mason (2008) look at how studying comprises of a set of skills that can be learnt and used to enhance studying success. Examples of these skills can be categorised as writing skills, comprehension, communication skills, time management, using technology, managing literature and evidence, reflection, research and evaluation, retaining information and effective note taking. This list is in-exhaustible as each different field of education will require a slightly different variation depending on the requirements of study, for example nursing where skills in using evidence based practice are paramount to uphold professional registration. (Mason, et al, 2008) Having good study skills gives students the ability to have self-awareness, being able to reflect and self-evaluate on specific subjects and know what needs to be improved, as well as identifying any weaknesses. (Cotterll, 2008, pg40) In addition sub skills such as developing personal qualities which are transferable from life to academic studies are just as important and include awareness, commitment, determination, self-motivation and positive thinking. For students to learn specific sets of study skills Cotterll (2008) discusses that “study skills are important as an aspect of learning and make the learning process easier”. Learning is defined in the Oxford Dictionary as “knowledge or skills gained by studying”. Cotterll (2008) described learning as, “something you can develop through practice and reflection”
It is argued that a student’s intelligences does not impact on their ability to learn new study skills, Cotterll (2008, pg25) suggests that “a skill is a learned activity, something that can be developed through practice”. She goes on to discuss that having the right conditions are vital to develop as a learner. Cotterll (2008) discussed the Suzuki Programme whereby access to life opportunities makes a significant difference on promotion of intelligence, such as access to books, equipment, teaching, practice etc. Therefore having access to educational information, tools and resources is paramount to the student’s ability to learn and develop intelligence. This may be contraindicated by differences in social, economic and cultural backgrounds have a huge impact on learning study skills.
In conclusion, to attain a sound education, it is essential to develop study skills to the level required for each individual. Study skills are essential to assist with the learning process giving the student the correct tools to enhance success, learn and improve intelligence. Factors influencing the ability to develop study skills, such as access to educational tools, differences in social, cultural and economic back can affect the overall outcome, however each individual’s self-awareness and ability to reflect and self-evaluate will lead to success.