5 Studying Strategies to Help Students Learn More
For Ryan McPherson, an associate professor of practice at the University of Texas at San Antonio, learning about what doesn’t work for his students, especially when it comes to studying, is what sticks with him.
“Things we know don’t work include cramming, studying marathons before a test, highlighting things, rereading things,” McPherson told his LinkedIn followers last year. I recently worked on a piece with McPherson where he shares five evidence-based strategies to help students organize their thinking and retrieve key information.
1. Quiz yourself: Don’t reread the same material. Instead, quiz yourself using flash cards, which is particularly useful before you engage in deeper studying techniques.
2. Spaced practice: Spacing works the same way as high-intensity interval training. Ditch the marathon cram sessions and space out studying into shorter, more focused, time.
3. Interleaving: Studying the same thing for a long time offers minimal benefits. Retention improves when you mix up HOW you study (flashcard games, writing tasks, or reading a textbook) and the TYPES of problems (mixing lower and higher cognitively complex problems).
4. Teaching others: Having to prepare materials and present information to other people forces you to think more deeply about what key lessons and concepts are most important to understand.
5. Individual reflection: The act of intentional reflecting is an effective practice for surfacing consciousness and bringing greater awareness.
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