The Best Study Techniques:
I’ve recently come across a 2013 study which aimed to compare the efficiency of different study techniques.They evaluated whether the benefits of the techniques generalised across learning conditions, student characteristics, materials, and criterion tasks. Here is a summary of their results:
Least Effective Study Techniques:
- Highlighting — including underlining textbooks and other materials
- Keyword mnemonics — the use of keywords and mnemonics to help remind students of course material
- Imagery use for text learning — creating mental images to remind students of material
Moderately Effective Study Techniques
- Elaborative interrogation — uses “why” questions to get students to make connections between new and old material.
- Self-explanation — prompting students to provide their own explanations for problems while learning material
- Interleaved practice — mixing different kinds of problems or material in one study session
Highly Effective Study Techniques
- Practice testing — any form that allows students to test themselves, including using actual or virtual flashcards, doing problems or questions at the end of textbook chapters, or taking practice tests.
- Distributed practice — studying material over a number of relatively short sessions.