Revision Memory Hacks

Revision Memory Hacks

A fundamental part of revision is using your memory. Research from Professor John Dunlovsky, Kent State University, published in Psychological Science in the Public Interest advocates a distributive practice, spreading out study over time, with a good dose of cramming before the exam.

Ten techniques for memorising were studied and surprisingly common practices among students such as highlighting, summarising and re-reading scored low in effectiveness.

“Students who cram may pass the exam but they don’t retain the material. When they’re going to be taking advanced classes in the subject, they are going to build on the knowledge they’re developing, so I highly recommend distributed practice.”

Technique, description and scores below:

1. Elaborative interrogation
Explaining why a stated fact or concept is true.
Effectiveness: Moderate

2. Self-explanation.
Explaining how a problem was solved.
Effectiveness: Moderate

3. Summarisation.
Writing summaries (of various lengths) of to-be-learned texts.
Effectiveness: Low

4. Highlighting/underlining
Marking potentially important portions of to-be-learned materials while reading .
Effectiveness: Low

5. Keyword mnemonic.
Using a keyword to associate with information.
Effectiveness: Low

6. Imagery.
Attempting to form mental images of text materials while reading or listening .
Effectiveness: Low

7. Re-reading.
Restudying text material again after an initial reading.
Effectiveness: Low

8. Practice testing
Self-testing or taking practice tests (e.g: flash cards).
Effectiveness: High

9. Distributed practice
A schedule of practice that spreads out study activities over time.
Effectiveness: High

10. Interleaved practice.
Switching between different types of problems, within a single study session.
Effectiveness: Moderate.

Disclaimer: S-cool is not suggesting there is a right or wrong way of learning and memorising information. Many students will have their own preferred techniques.

Does this study change your views on your revision techniques? Which ones do you find effective?

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