Saturday, August 31, 2013

Psychologists Identify the Best Ways to Study

Two of the best ways to study are to quiz yourself and to study over time instead of cramming the night before.

This is what psychologists at Scientific American Magazine discovered. To receive their recommendation, a technique had to be "useful in a range of learning conditions, such as whether a student works alone or in a group."

Self testing received the highest marks. "Unlike a test that evaluates knowledge, practice tests are done by students on their own, outside of class." The magazine says that hundreds of experiments demonstrated the success of self testing.

Distributed practice was also highly rated. Students tend to cram, but evidence suggests that "distributing learning over time is much more effective." In one experiment they noticed that kids who reviewed Spanish vocabulary over six sessions instead cramming the night before did much better on the test. They note, "in an analysis of 254 studies involving more than 14,000 participants, students recalled more after spaced study (scoring 47 percent overall) than after massed study (37 percent)"

I guess that this is our answer to kids who ask, "how do I study for the test?"

My thanks to my colleague, Jeff Feinstein, for sending me the link to this story.

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