Evidence-Based Study Tips

A recent issue of The Psy­cho­lo­gist included a “rough guide to study­ing psy­cho­logy” by the edit­or of the excel­lent Research Digest blog, Chris­ti­an Jar­rett. In his guide, Jar­rett provided nine evid­ence-based study tips:

  • Adopt a growth mind­set: [Stu­dents] who see intel­li­gence as mal­le­able, react to adversity by work­ing harder and try­ing out new strategies. […] Research also sug­gests lec­tur­ers and teach­ers should […] avoid com­ments on innate abil­ity and emphas­ise instead what stu­dents did well to achieve their suc­cess.
  • Sleep well.
  • For­give your­self for pro­cras­tin­at­ing.
  • Test your­self: Time spent answer­ing quiz ques­tions (includ­ing feed­back of cor­rect answers) is more bene­fi­cial than the same time spent merely re-study­ing that same mater­i­al. […] Test­ing ‘cre­ates power­ful memor­ies that are not eas­ily for­got­ten’ and it allows you to dia­gnose your learn­ing. […] Self-test­ing when inform­a­tion is still fresh in your memory, imme­di­ately after study­ing, doesn’t work. It does not cre­ate last­ing memor­ies, and it cre­ates over­con­fid­ence.
  • Pace your stud­ies: The secret to remem­ber­ing mater­i­al long-term is to review it peri­od­ic­ally, rather than try­ing to cram. […] The optim­al time to leave mater­i­al before review­ing it is 10 to 30 per cent of the peri­od you want to remem­ber it for.
  • Vivid examples may not always work best: Stu­dents taught about math­em­at­ic­al rela­tions link­ing three items in a group were only able to trans­fer the rules to a nov­el, real-life situ­ation if they were ori­gin­ally taught the rules using abstract sym­bols. Those taught with [a meta­phor­ic­al aid] were unable to trans­fer what they’d learned.
  • Take naps: Naps as short as ten minutes can reduce sub­sequent fatigue and help boost con­cen­tra­tion.
  • Get handouts pri­or to the lec­ture: Stu­dents giv­en Power­point slide handouts before a lec­ture made few­er notes but per­formed the same or bet­ter in a later test of the lec­ture mater­i­al than stu­dents who weren’t giv­en the handouts until the lec­ture was over.
  • Believe in your­self: Stu­dents’ belief in their own abil­ity, called ‘self-effic­acy’, and their gen­er­al abil­ity both made unique con­tri­bu­tions to their per­form­ance. […] Instruct­ors that focus on build­ing the con­fid­ence of stu­dents, provid­ing stra­tegic instruc­tion, and giv­ing rel­ev­ant feed­back can enhance per­form­ance out­comes.

3 thoughts on “Evidence-Based Study Tips

  1. Pingback: Halvard Halvorsen’s tumblelog » Daily Digest for November 14th

  2. Andrzej

    “For­give your­self for pro­cras­tin­at­ing” is a great idea. Since we choose to do it any­way from time to time, then beat­ing ourselves up for that will not help to solve the situ­ation. Let’s just do a break for some­thing else and get to it without remorse but with new strength and right atti­tude.

    … and that let’s repeat, repeat, repeat. ;]

  3. Pingback: Halvard Halvorsen’s tumblelog » Daily Digest for November 15th

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