Skip to content

A dentist knows dentistry and a lawyer knows the law, but does a student really know how to study? Professionals go through training to excel in their field, but most students are never taught the tools of studying and learning. Someone with strong, consistent study skills and learning habits will eventually thrive more than someone who is “just smart,” especially as school subjects become increasingly difficult.

Jimmy Kim – cofounder of Excellerate and More Than Scores And Tests – underscores four essential study skills: 1) goal setting, 2) note taking and organization, 3) time management, and 4) self-regulation and social competency.

With goal setting, students are able to: set realistic goals; think and plan how to meet each goal; persist with positive motivation and focus; and synthesize and reflect on their own learning.

In note taking and organization, students are able to: prepare in advance for their learning; organize the information and instructions given; identify where they need help; and work in an organized way to solve problems and retain their learning.

Through time management, students are able to prioritize learning by: committing to specific times for academics, practicing consistency and punctuality, engaging without procrastination, and working at an appropriate pace. Students understand that the schedule and how they spend their time is a not just a reflection of what they need to do but more a reflection of who they want to become.

Self-regulation refers to students’ ability to regulate their emotions, delay gratification, control impulses, and struggle productively—with flexibility and adaptability—when they’re lost, confused, or “bored” amidst academic work. With social competency, students are able to advocate for support when needed.

The next four articles will detail each study skill and highlight checklist items in which students can assess how they’re doing in each area. Don’t miss one of these important articles!

To get hands-on training in coming alongside your children as they learn how to learn, register for our FREE workshop, Time Management: Study Skills Support Training for Parents!

Through a method developed at Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Innovation Lab, academic coaches teach these essential study skills in Excellerate, an innovative K-8 math and reading and enrichment program. To find out more about Excellerate, visit

More Than Scores And Tests offers a sought-after “Essential Study Skills” course and teaches study skills as a key part of ACT and SAT test prep services; to learn more visit