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The Secret of Learning: Stop Studying and Start Taking Tests

Hate taking tests? Too bad! A study has shown that to really learn, you should stop studying and start taking tests:

Taking a test is not just a passive mechanism for assessing how much people know, according to new research. It actually helps people learn, and it works better than a number of other studying techniques.

The research, published online Thursday in the journal Science, found that students who read a passage, then took a test asking them to recall what they had read, retained about 50 percent more of the information a week later than students who used two other methods.

One of those methods — repeatedly studying the material — is familiar to legions of students who cram before exams. The other — having students draw detailed diagrams documenting what they are learning — is prized by many teachers because it forces students to make connections among facts.

These other methods not only are popular, the researchers reported; they also seem to give students the illusion that they know material better than they do.

Pam Belluck of The New York Times has the full report: Link


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This article is very interesting. Don't you think that by just taking a test about material we just learned we are not making connections to different subjects?
Do you think there is any biological influence to how well we learn or do you think that our learning is culturally influenced?
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So, how did the researchers figure out what worked best? Give them a test? This study only says that practice taking tests makes one better at taking tests.
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