Spotlight Blog: Memory

Having good study habits is crucial in all levels of education. Learning better ways to study at a young age can improve throughout years of schooling and can make studying a much simpler, less stressful task at higher levels. Its not about how long you study a subject but how well you learn it and thus able to retain it. Spending numerous hours on a single topic with poor study habits is time wasted as the information is not being retained properly and then not able to be recalled later for an exam. Its best to figure out what works well for an individual when it comes to studying. Although it may be difficult to find the best methods, there are many sources that give studying advice to all levels of students.

As said before, learning good study skills at a younger age can be beneficial later. This all begins with a young child’s parents. There are ways for a parent to help their child learn better study habits. Advice I found to parents was having a designated work space for their kid to study and work on homework. Parents should help their child with time management, seeing how long different assignments will take and allowing enough time to complete them (Staff). This is similar to distributed practice, studying or working in smaller parts rather than all at one time (MacFarlane). This source also mentioned mnemonics or the tricks to help recall information later. This could either be a song or rhyme or abbreviation to help remember larger concepts. I believe this is good advice to a parent in order to help their kids learn good study habits which will help later in their education.

At higher levels of education such as high school, there is more specific advice given to students for better study habits. A source I found did reiterate finding a specific place to study that allows no distractions while working. Again it states that a student should split up their work or alternate between subjects. They further elaborated and gave advice to take handwritten notes while reading information and then turn the notes into flashcards (VLACS).  This is good study advice because given in an online lecture, Dr. Ian MacFarlane stated how just reading notes or the material is not productive and only gives false impression that the student understands the information. Another good study habit that was suggested is to self-study and self-testing. Studying the information in similar ways it would be tested on an exam is good for learning the material (MacFarlane). One piece of advice given from this source was not the best. It suggested to students that they should be reviewing notes and materials weekly. It is best to review notes within the same day they were taken to further understand the material.

I am able to mostly relate to the study advice given to college students. It becomes even more detailed about the best ways for studying at this level of education. A common theme through all ages of studying is the breakdown of time and either work in smaller chunks or alternate between various subjects. Studying in smaller bits over cramming information helps retain the information into long term memory. Cramming only puts the information into short term memory and it is harder to recall during an exam. It was suggested that a student should allow around 30 to 50 minutes of studying for one subject and then have a ten minute break or move to another topic. It’s advised to review notes within 24 hours of taking them to make sure you understand the material and then focus on things that you don’t. A statistic was given “…retention rate is 60% higher when information is reviewed within 24 hours of hearing” (Media). It is restated that a way to help remember information is applying meaning to it. Either use a personal experience or mental image. Stated in lecture by professor MacFarlane, this is known as semantic encoding and allows for most retention of information. Being able to relate the information to as many things as possible make it easier to recall the information later.

There are many overlapping ways to help get the best out of your study session. You want to learn the material rather than just familiarize it. If it has meaning and purpose theres a more likely chance of being able to recall it. There is many resources to help plan an effective study schedule, find the ways that work best for you.

Sources:

MacFarlane, Ian . “General Psychology Mini-Lecture 4: Memory and Studying.” YouTube,         YouTube, 1 Oct. 2017, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zU2QNlGPYxQ&feature=youtu.be.

Media, Column Five. “How to Study: Studying Tips for College Students.” Rasmussen                 College – Regionally Accredited College Online and on Campus, Rasmussen College, 15           Nov. 2011, http://www.rasmussen.edu/student-life/blogs/college-life/how-to-study/

Staff, GreatSchools. “Study skills for middle school and beyond.” Parenting, 22 Feb. 2016,         www.greatschools.org/gk/articles/study-skills-for-middle-school-and-beyond/.

“Top 10 Study Tips for Students.” VLACS, 13 Feb. 2017, vlacs.org/top-10-study-tips-                     students/.

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