18 Student Skills for Effective Learning

Updated June 24, 2022

During their education, students can use a variety of learning skills to succeed in their studies. These skills involve soft skills and thinking strategies that students can use to solve complex problems, ask thoughtful questions and further develop their understanding. If you're a high school or college student, learning more about these skills could help you reach your educational goals and prepare for your future career. In this article, we list the top 18 skills you can develop as a student.

Why are student skills important?

Developing learning skills can help students succeed in school and their future careers. Student skills can teach scholars how to think creatively, solve complex problems and communicate effectively in school. These skills can also go on a resume to show employers a student's strengths. Many of these student skills are transferable to a variety of roles. For example, a student can use communication skills during school and in a variety of jobs.

Related: How To Make a Resume for Students

Top skills for students

Here are 18 important skills for students to develop during their education:


Communication is a soft skill set that allows students to share their ideas. These skills can help students express their thoughts in both verbal and written formats. With effective communication skills, they can articulate their thoughts, debate their reasoning and share ideas with others. Students can also use communication skills to build relationships and work with others.

Important communication skills for students can include:

  • Active listening

  • Writing

  • Speaking

  • Presenting

  • Empathy

Related: 10 Communication Skills To Add to Your Resume


Collaboration is when two or more people work together to reach a common goal. Students use collaboration to complete group projects and shared tasks. They can develop these skills in the classroom and during extracurricular activities, such as sports or clubs. These skills are important in many careers, so developing them as a student could help prepare you for your future roles.

Related: Collaboration Skills: Definition and Examples

Time management

Time management is the ability to prioritize tasks and deadlines. Students can use time management to plan their schedules and accomplish their educational tasks on time. An important part of time management is the ability to divide large tasks into smaller, achievable steps. For example, if you have a research project due at the end of the semester, you can separate the project into smaller portions, such as completing research, taking notes, drafting the paper and revising. Breaking tasks into smaller steps and budgeting time for each stage could improve your academic performance.

Related: What Is Time Management? (Plus Useful Time Management Tips and Advice)

Information literary

Information literary is the ability to find, assess, organize and use information effectively. Students can use this skill to conduct research, share their findings and learn new concepts. They can develop this skill when writing research papers, completing projects and studying course material. Learning how to access and use information can benefit students in many classes and careers.

Related: Information Literacy Skills: Definition and Examples

Organizational skills

Organizational skills allow students to arrange, sort and use their resources effectively. Students may organize their notes, schedules, assignments and course materials. Knowing where to find certain information can help students perform all of their learning tasks. For example, when studying for a final exam, a student with strong organizational skills can access all of their notes quickly and use more time to study, which could help their academic performance.

Related: What Are Organizational Skills? (With Examples)

Critical thinking

Critical thinking is the ability to analyze facts and reach a conclusion. Students use critical skills when writing research papers, lab reports or solving mathematical problems. They analyze a variety of facts to determine a thesis or general argument in many of their classes. This skill can help them solve complex problems, create new solutions and make decisions.

Related: How To Develop Critical Thinking Skills


Creativity is when a person uses their imagination to generate new ideas. Students can use this skill to produce original work, design alternative solutions and solve complex problems. Creativity may also help students engage more in their learning, which could increase their overall academic success.

Related: How To Be More Creative: Why It's Important and Steps To Boost Creativity

Problem solving

Strong problem-solving skills can help students succeed in many academic areas. They can use this skill to solve math problems, scientific hypotheses and research questions. This skill can help students complete assessments, projects and papers. Students with strong problem-solving abilities may experience greater confidence when making decisions.

Related: Problem-Solving Skills: Definitions and Examples


Curiosity is a personality trait that students can develop over time. Curiosity is the desire to know more about something, and it's an important skill for all students. Curious students often ask more questions and learn more on their own. For example, a curious student might complete additional research outside of school to learn more about a topic. This can help them better understand the material, find passions and succeed in class.


Adaptability is the ability to accept changes. This skill can help students gain confidence and become more flexible when faced with change. Developing this skill could prepare them for their careers and lives after school. Students can grow these skills by completing projects and activities based on real-life problems.

Related: FAQ: What Is Adaptability?

Technology literacy

Being technologically literate, or able to use a variety of technology equipment, is an important part of succeeding in school. Successful students can use computers, tablets, software, web browsers and presentation programs to complete their daily tasks. These programs can help them share information, conduct research and communicate with a global audience.

Analytical reasoning

Analytical reasoning is the ability to assess data and information to reach a conclusion. Students can use analytical research in many fields including math, science and the humanities. For example, they may analyze a scientific experiment to make a prediction, or they can analyze their reading to reach a thesis or general idea.

Innovative thinking

Innovative thinking can help students become leaders and successful young professionals. Innovation is the ability to think of alternative methods, products or ideas, and it's an important skill for many careers. In school, students can use innovative thinking to conduct original research, write articles and think of alternative solutions.


Evaluation is the ability to judge and assess different values. This is one of several skills students can use to analyze information in classes. It can also help them self-evaluate and reflect on their learning to assess their progress. For example, a student can use flashcards to assess their own understanding before a quiz. This can help them address any gaps in their understanding or areas they need to focus on when studying.

Goal setting

Successful students use goal-setting skills to create plans for their education. Students can set both short-term and long-term goals for their success. If you are practicing goal setting, consider choosing specific and actionable goals with deadlines. For example, if you want to earn a high grade in a certain class, you can break this goal into small, actionable steps such as studying one hour each night for the course.

Related: How To Develop a Successful Goal Setting Process


Self-direction, sometimes called self-management, is an important skill for high school and college students. Self-direction is the ability to motivate and manage your own responsibilities. Students can use this skill to prioritize their tasks and accomplish them on time. This could improve their academic performance and learning.

Leadership skills

Students can use leadership skills to gain confidence, build empathy and create change within their schools. They can develop leadership skills by joining a student council or leadership organization, participating in sports or taking responsibility during group projects. In addition to helping students succeed in school, these skills may also help students in their future careers.

Related: FAQ: Leadership Skills, With 20 Examples


Developing perseverance can help students succeed and reach their long-term goals. Perseverance is the ability to stay determined when faced with obstacles. Embracing challenges and seeing them as an opportunity to grow could help students in school and their careers. Students can use this skill to study for exams, complete projects and improve their academic performance.


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