Taking a test actually helps people learn, more so than several studying techniques, according to new research in the journal Science and reported in the New York Times. Researchers found that students who read a passage and then took a test asking them to recall what they read retained about 50 per cent more information a week later than did students who used two other methods. One of them was to repeatedly study the material, and the other was to have students draw detailed diagrams of what they were learning. Both those other methods are very popular, and seem to give students the illusion they know the material better than they actually do. By remembering information, we organize it and create connections that our brains later recognize, it seems, although the exact reason retrieval testing works still isn’t known.
Friday, January 21, 2011