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The Most Effective Study Practices

Did you know that highlightingunderlining, rereading, and summarizing are among the LEAST valuable study tools? Mental imagery, asking “Why?” as you read, self-explanation, and mixing up information and types of problems are also rather ineffective. These are the conclusions of an evaluation of 10 study practices conducted by a 5 member team for the Association of Psychological Science. The research was led by Kent State Professor John Dunlosky.

According to the study, the two best learning strategies are:

1. Distributed Practice  (Spreading out your study sessions). It is more beneficial to study for a spelling test for 5 minutes on 4 days than to study in one 20 minute session the day before the test.  This is also the reason that cramming in an “all-nighter” is less effective than spending the same amount of time in several sessions over several days or weeks.

2. Practice Tests and Flash Cards The actual act of recalling the appropriate information and using it helps the mind in retrieving it later. Correction is immediate, which is important. This is a reason that our Bingo games are so effective in teaching decoding skills.  They are just another method of helping the student to continually retrieve phonics generalizations, but they are more fun than using flash cards!

Be sure to check out our FREE TpT product: Study Habits Self-Help Test


The information in this post was presented by Annie Murphy Paul in the January 12, 2013 digital issue of TIME Magazine.


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