Don't study hard ... study smart, instead. According to a new study, a technique developed by Ken Kiewra of University of Nebraska-Lincoln's can boost test scores by 29 to 63 percentage points:
The research, published in The Journal of Educational Psychology, found that students tend to study on computers as they would with traditional texts: They mindlessly over-copy long passages verbatim, take incomplete or linear notes, build lengthy outlines that make it difficult to connect related information, and rely on memory drills like re-reading text or recopying notes.
Meanwhile, undergraduates in the study scored 29 to 63 percentage points higher on tests when they used study techniques like recording complete notes, creating comparative charts, building associations, and crafting practice questions on their screens.
Kiewra, a professor of educational psychology, calls the method SOAR: Selecting key lesson ideas, organizing information with comparative charts and illustrations, associating ideas to create meaningful connections, and regulating learning through practice. It complements how the brain processes information, he said.
"Learning occurs best when important information is selected from less important ideas, when selected information is organized graphically, when associations are built among ideas and when understanding is regulated through self-testing," Kiewra said.