Are you practicing recall when you study?

Over the past 15 years, I have had the opportunity to sit with hundreds of students and help them improve their study skills.  What I’ve found is that most students just study to recognize terms and concepts instead of studying to know the terms and concepts.  Many students “study” by reading through their notes 1, 3, or 5 times.  This is not enough.  Have you ever read through a page in a book and realized that when you turn the page, you don’t remember anything you just read?  Many students reply saying they have had this experience.  Many people have.  If this is the case, then why would you just read while trying to study to know the information?  When students study like this, they are only studying halfway.  As a result, they receive ‘halfway’ grades.  So, what can be done to fix this problem and earn higher grades?  Practice recall!  Set up your study notes in a way that allows you to quiz yourself with the information.  As you write up your study notes, anticipate the test questions you might see on your next exam.  Then, practice recalling the information from your memory by quizzing yourself without looking at the answers.  This will be difficult at first, but don’t worry.  That’s normal.  It’s all part of the process.  Allow yourself to look at the answers at the beginning.  As you continue to practice this, you will notice that it gets easier.  Before you know it, you’ll be able to answer all your study questions without looking at any of the answers.  Once you have reached this point, and you have made a complete set of study notes, you are ready to take the test.  You are ready to perform well.  Try it and let me know how it works.  If you have any questions, feel free to post them here.  Next week: an efficient way to set up your study notes, saving time and effort.

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