School Vocabulary about Studying

studyingPreparing for an exam is stressful enough without any confusion over academic terminology. So concentrate on your coursework and let this custom-made entry be your guide to school vocabulary about studying.

to scan – to read, without close attention, for general themes

  • Headlines help you to scan a newspaper quickly and still get an idea of the day’s major stories.

to skim – to read lightly for main ideas but not specific detail

  • I didn’t have a lot of time to study last night so I just skimmed the finally chapter. I hope the test doesn’t ask too many questions from that section of the book!

Note: A closely related expression, “to get the gist,” is what results from skimming something: a general, if not detailed, idea about a situation.

to read aloud – to say the words while reading them so that others can

  • Students sometimes take turns reading aloud while in class.

Note: This expression is also written (and said) as read out loud.

to read silently – to read without speaking

  • During Study Hall students often read silently prepare for other classes.

to pour over – to read closely

  • Jane is pouring over her notes in preparation for the upcoming exam.

to hit the books – to study hard

  • Thank goodness the exam is on a Monday; I can use the weekend to really hit the books.

to learn by heart – to memorize

  • When I was in 8th grade I had to learn Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven” by heart for my Language Arts class.

Note: Another expression with the same meaning that is used in the UK is to learn by rote although this is almost unheard of in the US.

to pull an all-nighter – to stay up all night studying

  • Alex pulled an all-nighter last night and is completely exhausted today.

to push through – to overcome an obstacle (be it mental or physical) in order to accomplish a task

  • Alex needed three cups of coffee to help him push through and finish all of his classes today.

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