Want to remember? Don’t skim 100 times

By Sam Graham

I recently came across this nice blog post on how trying to memorize something really doesn’t improve your ability to actually remember it.

The key factor is thinking about it deeply.

A 1973 study (referenced on the blog) looked at two factors: shallow and deep processing, and intention and no intention to remember.

Half of the study’s participants were asked to simply check which words and an ‘e’ or ‘g’ in them (shallow processing), and the other half were told to rate how pleasant the word was to them (deep processing). Half of each group were told that they would be quizzed later on what the words were, the other half weren’t.

Those who rated how pleasant the words were remembered far more than those who identified the ‘e’s or ‘g’s. Those who knew there was a test coming remembered on a few more than those who didn’t.

The key implication for us in the LSU and RMIT is this:

If you are a student the implication of this study and those like it is clear : don’t stress yourself with revision where you read and re-read textbooks and course notes. You’ll remember better (and understand much better) if you try and re-organise the material you’ve been given in your own way.

The blog also touches on implications for how information is presented to students (not too organised or they won’t thinking deeply!) and whether it’s reasonable for students to remember information from lectures.

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  1. Seven things I wish I knew at uni « lsuvietnam - February 22, 2013

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