Developing Learning Habits for Effective Study

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How can schools embed study skills across academic and pastoral systems?

Habitual behaviours have a significant impact on the learning process of both students and staff. Kennet School in Berkshire contacted me to let me know how they have taken The Revision Revolution one step further … 

Here is a review from Rachel Smith, assistant headteacher at Tiffin Girls’ School, Surrey.

Kennet School has established a set of student learning habits, focused on classwork, homework, organisation, reflection, and improvement and has been interested in developing habitual behaviours for a number of years.

Inspired by the research of Fiorella and the practical advice of Fletcher-Wood, these are now shared as part of their reporting system (Year 7-13), and pupils are supported to develop, practice and embed these habits through dedicated PSHE sessions, assemblies, and of course, in lessons.

However, the biggest cultural shift has been around what they call ‘learning habits for study’ which are guiding principles for organising time, taking notes, checking work, and conducting revision and independent study.


  1. I file my work in a logical and clear order
  2. I manage my time well for key task
  3. I balance study alongside my hobbies and rest


  1. I format my notes clearly so I can revisit them
  2. I have clear systems of notetaking to help highlight key information
  3. I know how to summarise my learning to draw out the important parts

Revision and RecallA

  1. I use mapping strategies to revise key information
  2. I undertake self-testing strategies to recall important knowledge
  3. I use my notes to explain key concepts and consolidate my learning


  1. I plan carefully for tasks breaking them down into steps
  2. I structure my work logically and clearly
  3. I proofread my work to ensure there are no errors before submitting it

‘Study Mornings’ involve teaching students effective revision strategies, drawing on research into generative tasks and effective retrieval practice. These strategies are practised daily during tutor time, with students working independently to develop these habits; creating effective flashcards, summarising, brain dumps, and mind maps.

Kennet School’s assistant headteacher, Sam Martin got in touch with me and said:

The shift in focus for morning tutoring was affirmed and focused by Ross Morrison McGill and Helen Howell’s book ‘The Revision Revolution’.

During study mornings, pupils are explicitly taught and practice the most effective revision strategies, drawing on research into generative tasks and effective retrieval practice. The primary strategies have been:

  • Creating effective flashcards and the use of the Leitner system to self-test;
  • Summarising, including the creation of Cornell notes;
  • Brain Dumps to maximise retrieval practice and strengthen memory;
  • Mind Maps to connect ideas and content together.

Their next steps are to begin these mornings with Year 10, preparing them for the intensity of Year 11. However, our overriding aim is to enable a ‘slow burn’ approach, equipping pupils from the start of Year 7 with essential strategies to embed effective study habits. 

Although habit formation has been part of their assembly programme and PSHE programme for a number of years, the explicit teaching of a set of strategies is the beginning of their next chapter. Kennet School want to develop further next academic year by interleaving effective strategies alongside taught sessions on why the strategies work.

Good work indeed!

The development of study skills should happen on day one of school, not just before the exam season. It’s great to see how more and more schools have taken The Revision Revolution to the next stage …

Read how Queen Ethelburga in York is achieving the same dizzying heights!

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