6 Books to improve study skills

study skills

Reading is more than a necessary skill for students to improve study skills. It is an essential life skill that pays dividends beyond high school and college. However, very few people possess excellent reading skills. 

According to data, the average American reads about 12 books a year. The same data shows that Americans between ages 15 and 44 only spend at most 10 minutes daily reading, with roughly 27% never reading a book at all. 

Reading a book or two is increasingly difficult for students. Most students spend hours on homework each night without knowing they can seek assistance online, write “do my assignments for me,” and get your assignment done on time.

The extra time on your hands allows you to invest in books that improve your study skills. Here’s why you should spend more time reading and six book recommendations to make you a better learner.

Why you should read books to improve study skills

Reading books has many benefits for your academic, social, and professional life. They include the following:

You expand your vocabulary

Regular reading exposes you to numerous writing styles, which teach you new vocabulary. You get exposed to proper grammar and learn new words while trying to store and comprehend information. 

Often, despite not understanding some of the vocabulary in the first read, students start relating to the terms based on context, creating a deeper understanding of the grammar the next time they encounter it.

You also develop your communication skills, which can give you an edge when seeking employment. Data shows that 69% of employers prefer candidates with effective communication as one of their soft skills. 

study skills

Reading reduces stress

Stress is one of the most potent hindrances to effective learning. One study shows that 30 minutes of reading can lower your heart rate, blood pressure, and feelings of psychological distress. It is more effective than having a cup of tea or coffee, taking a walk, or playing video games. 

A relaxed student learns better, retains more information, and comprehends concepts faster. 

You improve your writing skills

Writing essays is a standard duty among students. Professors demand that you write exceptional work with a good vocabulary and excellent creativity if you write a literature paper. While reading books, you subconsciously absorb the writing style and grammar of the author. 

Therefore, you can reproduce exceptional well-written work to professional standards, improving your performance in academic papers and essays.

Reading exercises your brain

Teachers use different techniques to encourage students to exercise their brains. Typically, they’ll issue tests and assignments that students can do in class or take home and get help with homework from their parents. 

Reading does a similar job. According to research, reading stimulates a complex neural network and sends signals to the brain, improving your reading ability. The more you read, the stronger and more sophisticated these networks become.

You improve your focus 

Studying requires students to be able to concentrate and focus for extended periods. Maintaining such high levels of focus is becoming more of a struggle for students due to constant distractions from notifications, multitasking, and social media apps.

Reading helps you regain concentration, allowing you to maintain a high focus that will make you a successful student. 

6 Books that you can read to improve your study skills

Here are six book recommendations that will help build your study skills.

study skills
6 Books to improve study skills

Make it stick

Henry Roediger, Mark McDaniel, and Peter Brown authored Make It Stick to highlight the best studying practices that ensure comprehension and retention. The book discusses why highlighting, underlining, rereading, and cramming are bad learning habits whose gains fade quickly.

Instead, the book encourages spaced retrieval practice, a learning technique widely recommended by teachers and psychologists. It covers fundamental science and uses real-life stories to show the technique’s effectiveness. 

While reading the book, you get a vivid idea of what effective learning techniques feel like and what you should expect when you start using them.


Redirect, written by Timothy D. Wilson, focuses on mindset, one of the most potent assets in education and life. The book explains how changing the stories you tell yourself can significantly impact your learning abilities, with scientific evidence to back the claims.

Most of the studying ideas you’ll read in the book will be new. However, implementing them will positively impact your studying and exam skills. It’s also a nice read when paired with Make It Stick.

Outsmart your exams

You can quickly lose marks on exam day because of avoidable mistakes such as poor time management, poor essay writing skills, poor question-answering techniques, poor recall, and anxiety-induced performance dips.

Outsmart Your Exams, written by William Wadsworth, explains how you can avoid all these performance inhibitors and pick every mark you can in the exam room. The book bases its arguments on science through the psychology of memory and performance. 

Through the book, you get exceptional tools that allow you to pass tests and significantly improve your academic results. 

The only skill that matters

This book, written by Jonathan A. Levi, gives a new approach to being an effective learner who can cope with fast-paced student life and ever-changing professional life. 

The learning techniques highlighted in the book are based on neuroscience, with evidence provided in the book showing that top performers and athletes have used them to great success. 

The book teaches ways you can read faster and still be able to recall information. Therefore, you can process and use new information faster, both academically and professionally.

Novice to expert: 6 steps to learn anything, increase your knowledge, and master new skills

Steve Scott wrote this book with the primary goal of helping students and readers master a skill that will allow them to know themselves more, tap into their passions, meet individuals with similar interests, and share their lessons with others. 

The book outlines six steps you can take to master any subject. They include the following:

  • Choose the skill you want to master
  • Identify the learning style you prefer
  • Work on a project centered on the skill you want to develop
  • Use practical note-taking methods
  • Practice the new skill daily
  • Share your knowledge with others

The book is an excellent resource if you want to master self-directed learning.

Thinking, fast and slow

Daniel Kahneman is the author of this award-winning book that teaches readers two essential systems that work when the brain is engaged in a thought process. The first system is emotional and intuitive, while the second one is more logical and requires deliberation.

According to the book, the first system enables quick decision-making, often disregarding the facts. This is the system most students and professionals use. 

Thinking Fast and Slow is a powerful read for policymakers, current or aspiring since it heavily touches decision-making. It’s also an excellent read for individuals who want to learn more about their decision-making patterns and that of others.

As you read more, delegate more often

Reading nurtures your mind. You can read a vast selection of books to upskill various areas such as retention, recall, and comprehension. Start dedicating more time to books and develop critical skills to help you become a better student. 

Other articles from mtltimes.ca – totimes.ca – otttimes.ca

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