Forget What You Know About Good Study Habits


I read an interesting article from the New York Times.  Below are some points that I thought were worth bringing to the surface.  Feel free to read the entire article:  http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/07/health/views/07mind.html?pagewanted=2&_r=1

In recent years, cognitive scientists have shown that a few simple techniques can reliably improve how much we learn from studying.  But they directly contradict much of the common wisdom about good study habits, and they have not caught on.

For instance, instead of sticking to one study location, simply alternating the room where you study improves retention. So does studying distinct but related skills or concepts in one sitting, rather than focusing intensely on a single thing.

We walk around with all sorts of unexamined beliefs about what works in learning – most of which are flat wrong.

Take the notion that people have specific learning styles.  Some are “visual learners” and others are auditory; some are “left-brain” students, others “right-brain.” In a recent review of the relevant research, published in the journal Psychological Science in the Public Interest, a team of psychologists found almost zero support for such ideas.

Cognitive scientists do not deny that honest-to-goodness cramming can lead to a better grade on a given exam. But hurriedly jam-packing a brain is akin to speed-packing a cheap suitcase, as most students quickly learn – it holds its new load for a while, then most everything falls out.

Forgetting is the friend of learning.  When you forget something, it allows you to relearn, and do so effectively, the next time you see it.

That’s one reason cognitive scientists see testing itself — or practice tests and quizzes — as a powerful tool of learning, rather than merely assessment.

So, alternating study environments, mixing content, spacing study sessions, self-testing or all the above — will turn a grade-A slacker into a grade-A student.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s