Forget Computers, Here's How to Study Smart

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.

Link - via Barking up the wrong tree

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Interesting post. I sort of find the technique has the advantage of finding what I don't know, very quickly. If you think about it, most students are going through pages and pages of notes, over material they mostly know, just to locate the small portions they don't. If it is all visible, you an scan everything very quickly.
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When I was teaching, once a year I would give students a 3x5 card and let them write anything on it and use it during a test/quiz. Of course it was more a lesson on organizing information. Many students found the cards useless as the information they wrote was not organized. Those who knew how to organize found them useful or in many cases didn't even use them as they had actually learned the basic principles needed to do well on the test.
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I definitely follow this technique. When I was in engineering school, I always re-copied my notes down on printer paper. I wrote very small and used lines to seperate information. Then before a test I would hightlight the items that I seemed to confuse with others.

When finals came around, my friends had to review two or three sprial notebooks. I only had to review 2 or 3 pages (I wrote really small).
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