Several sites have their own studying tips to share with anyone looking to retain more learned information. The first site I found offers advice to college students on effective study habits. The first tip boldly states “good notes = good grades,” which I am immediately skeptical of, since note-taking isn’t effective for every student, nor does it always secure material in your memory, according to what we’ve learned in Chapter 8. By simply writing information down, you’re repeating information rather than effectively processing it and interacting with it. A few better options, according to the mini-lecture on memory and studying, would be to at least organize the info, and better yet draw connections between key terms or how the information relates to you. By visualizing a personal application of the information, we associate greater meaning with it, thus remembering it better. One good tip from this article is to not cram, which definitely is backed up by what is known about memory. Instead, the article suggests studying material a little bit each day. This tip completely aligns with the proven successful method of distributed or spaced practice, in which there is a longer period of time for learned information to solidify itself into memory.
As for tips for parents to help their kids study, most of the tips involve a lot of interference into the students’ learning. An article from LDOnline.org, a site with information about learning disabilities, suggests setting a schedule for your child so that they do not wait until the last minute before an assessment and become overwhelmed. This aligns with the distributed practice method, but also is suggested to be combined with a reward system in which time studying is met with praise and positivity, along with “love and affection.” The best way I can describe this method is that it is assisted meaning-focused studying; instead of searching for the meaning of the information yourself, you are given rewards at the end of studying so that you associate positive feelings with it and pursue it further. This method may work for getting kids to study in the first place, but will not be effective long-term, since a reward will not always be available. In addition, you may feel over time that you deserve a greater reward, and demand something on the other side of studying for the session to be constructive at all. A better method would be to help your kids establish long-term goals to focus on rather than instant gratification.
An article from TeenLife.com actually offers some great ideas for high school students trying to study better. One tip that especially sticks out is to “hang new information on an old ‘hook,'” as in, relate new info to what you already know. This is an effective course of action as it falls within the method of elaboration, which according to the mini-lecture includes using devices such as mnemonics to help expand on new information. The article even suggests using songs in the same way as an acronym or mnemonic. It also suggests studying in a group, which is another method supported by psychology. If you study in a group after developing your own background with the information, you are able to view information from different perspectives and likely find a better way of remembering it later.