Studying may seem like a tedious and difficult task taking hours to complete to many, but with the right techniques, it can be done in a more effective and smarter manner! Here are several techniques and strategies that can be used to study effectively which include retrieval practice, the PQ4R method, and the spaced practice method.
The first important technique is known as retrieval practice. Retrieval practice is a useful academic strategy that has been established with approximately 100 years of research that makes it simple and practical to implement! There are several ways to implement this strategy whether it be using previous material, creating questions, testing oneself or another person, using flashcards, etc. This technique is an efficient revision technique because it causes students to recall previously learned content, resulting in stronger memory traces and an increased possibility that the material will be transferred to long-term memory. Not only does this method help students have a strong memory, but it also helps students’ approach and thinking to application skills, it improves students’ organization of knowledge and helps them connect prior knowledge to new concepts. This method should be used for all its benefits, but often this method is used academically as it helps students memorize material easily. Retrieval practice can be used for studying most subjects. For example, if an individual is studying for math they may end up using retrieval practice by using practice tests, making their own questions, using flashcards to memorize formulas, etc. Overall retrieval practice is a very effective study technique that students can easily use.
Another important study technique is known as PQ4R. This study approach has been based upon the findings of educational psychologist Francis P. Robinson, who believed that students needed to take a better approach to learn more actively. The term PQ4R stands for the six steps in the method. P stands for preview information, Q stands for questioning yourself, and then the 4 “R’s” follow as read, reflect, recite and review. Each of the steps of this method is recommended to follow when attempting new material. This method is effective as it assists individuals with poor memory skills to easily recall material PQ4R is ideal for teaching declarative content such as grounded ideas, definitions, and applied knowledge in everyday life. This technique should be used because it is an active approach to improving memory and understanding of a topic! This technique is academically effective with subjects associated with languages. Although this method is effective it shouldn’t be studied with subjects that require calculation such as math, physics, etc.
The spaced practice or also known as “distributed practice” are both names for another study technique. This technique is different from the other methods as it is utilized for studying over a longer period of time. To use this method, the first day the students who use the method are required learn the material in class. Then on the second day, they should revisit the material and review it. On the third day, they once again should revisit the material and review it. After one week they should revisit the material and continue to revisit and review each week. This method has demonstrated that spacing out and studying material over time produces superior long-term learning which further helps students to retain information efficiently. Additionally, this method helps the mind to easily build connections between ideas and concepts to build upon the knowledge learned. This method is really helpful when studying material over the break, for exams, or for other long periods of time. The spaced practice can also be used for all subjects. This technique shouldn’t be used for last-minute studying. This is because the spacing out technique is the opposite of cramming and studying last minute. Studying a day before an assessment like an exam won’t be much effective as the spaced practice!
In retrospect, learning effective techniques to study can help students in numerous ways. Three effective techniques that students can use are retrieval practice, the PQ4R method, and the spaced practice method. Study smarter not harder!
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