Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Most Efficient Studying Methods

The techniques I use are the ones this guy says are the least effective:
The most common study techniques — marking up the textbook with yellow highlighter, rereading and cramming at the last minute — are the least effective, writes John Dunlosky,  Kent State psychology professor, on the AFT blog. Taking practice tests and spreading out studying over time is much more likely to help students learn and remember, researchers have found.
I don't cram, but I do review notes and my highlighted text.  Actually, that constitutes the vast majority of my studying.  I find that what is most useful, though, is actually understanding the material!
Among the less-useful strategies are: rereading the text, highlighting and underlining, summarizing, using mnemonics and “attempting to form mental images of text materials while reading or listening.”
One wonders what I could have accomplished academically had I used those other methods!


PeggyU said...

I know they say cramming doesn't work, but I often felt it did for me - at least when it came to things that simply needed to be memorized, such as history facts.

Auntie Ann said...

I think cramming works very short-term. Try to remember it again a week after the test, and it's gone.

I'm surprised highlighting isn't better. It at least helps with a quick review of the material--maybe it's the problem that too many people are *bad* highlighters.

Rereading is also a surprise. I'm guessing that people don't pay much attention the second time around.

My most-effective method of learning something was always taking good notes during a lecture.

maxutils said...

The bottom line is, whatever works for you, works for you... but, in theory, I think he's right. How could you argue with learning over time? Didn't we always decry the idea of summer school math? (how can you learn a whole year in 6 weeks?) And, if you learn best by doing, wouldn't practice tests be perfect?

PeggyU said...

I'm personally a fan of the open-book test - at least for college students. The toughest tests I ever took were in a physics class, where the professor gave us open-book exams. He made the problems challenging, but all of the tools we needed were available - some assembly required! My husband had the same professor, and to this day we both feel he was one of the best teachers ever. We still stay in touch with him.