Bite-size Psych is a weekly psychology column by sophomore Quin Colhour.
From high school, to college to graduate school, students are expected to adapt to a higher pressure environment with more demands.
In the academic area specifically, most students agree with the International Journal of Asian Social Science’s conclusion: “there is a significant relationship between study habits and academic performance.”
Students progressing to high levels of post-secondary education will likely face situations in which everyone around them has effective study habits. In these situations, the defining factor will be the quality of studying performed above the quantity. Psychological research has established at least three ways students can maximize their learning efficiency when studying.
The first strategy involves mixing subjects together in intermediate intervals known as ‘interleaving.’
An article on the subject from Effectiviology states “mixing material increases interference during the performance of a task, which promotes the use of effective learning strategies by learners.”
When the brain knows it must retain information while being distracted by a different subject, it recruits more effective concentration to learn the information more quickly.
Secondly, a study performed by the National Center for Biotechnical Information (NCBI) showed that testing one’s own knowledge of the information learned was one of the most effective methods for preparing oneself for assessments such as exams. The study concluded that its “findings indicate that testing helps learning when learners must invest substantial mental effort.” Thus, when there are large amounts of information to retain, self-testing enables students to invest the substantial mental effort necessary to retrieve the information effectively.
Lastly, a student trying to teach what he wants to learn is one of the most effective learning strategies. An article by ResearchGate tells us that “explaining to others potentially offers more opportunities to learn than explaining to oneself, because those who receive the explanation can also identify gaps and inconsistencies and may demand clarification or confrontation.”
A student teaching what he’s learned forces him to make sure his understanding is clear and logical enough to stand the test of criticism.