Time’s recent article on the best learning techniques may confuse students everywhere. Written by Annie Murphy Paul, author of Brilliant: The New Science of Smart, the article discusses which of the most popular techniques and practices for learning are actually beneficial for students. The information is based around a report recently issued by the Association for Psychological Science, and it decides which of the widely used techniques are best and worst.
One of the most effective ways to learn, according to the report, is a method of study called distributed practice. Essentially, this is the opposite of cramming. Instead of trying to fit in a month’s worth of information in your head right before an exam, studying daily for a short amount of time is far more effective. Another positive technique was practice tests and exams. Practice testing done on your own is a helpful way to quiz yourself and come up with the correct answers quickly. Flash cards are ideal for this purpose because they force students to rapidly think of a correct answer every time a card is flipped over.
The other half of the Time article details the learning strategies that are less effective for students. Methods that break up the process of reading and understanding concepts were decided to be the worst ways to learn. These include highlighting text and rereading only important parts of the material. Even writing summaries of the material being covered, which was long thought of as the most effective way to learn, was discovered to largely be a waste of time for college students.
If you are a student at the high school or college level, you may be interested in learning more about which other techniques were discussed. Click here to read the entire article on the Time website.