Learning how to study effectively is a fundamental skill that schools often overlook. I know I certainly struggled with this – even at University. Although this study looks at how college students study, I think there is an important lesson for us parents with elementary school kids too. It’s not too early to start teaching them the right techniques for studying.
Daniel T. Willingham, a professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Virginia asked 350 of his students how they study and found his results equated to similar studies conducted at other universities.
His students take notes in class, color the readings with highlighters and re-read their notes and highlighted texts. Willingham says re-reading is a “terribly ineffective strategy” and that students should focus on the best strategy, which is self-testing.
He points to a study conducted by Jeff Karpicke and colleagues at Washington University in St Louis. Note, that the self-testing practice is way down in 9th position, showing that these students rarely use this practice.
There’s always discussion over how much time students should spend on studying for tests. With better studying techniques under their belt, they would spend less time and be more effective in learning. Willing points to this article on the American Psychological Association’s site as a good start.