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The Best Way to Learn: Taking a Test?

What do you think is the best way to learn: Studying the material repeatedly, drawing detailed diagrams of what you are learning, or taking a test in which you recall what you have read?

A recent study published in Science and summarized in this New York Times article found out that taking a test was the best method!

students who read a passage, then took a test asking them to recall what they had read, retained about 50 percent more of the information a week later than students who used [the] two other methods.

… learning is all about retrieving, all about reconstructing our knowledge,” said the lead author

So do we need to have more testing in schools? Maybe not:

“Some tests are just not learning opportunities. We need a different kind of testing than we currently have.”

A good read to learn more about how we learn and the best ways to do so.

Related post: Learning habits, learning styles: The most recent findings

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3 Responses

  1. Steven | TEM says:

    This further confirms why we should take multiple practice exams before we take an SAT, GRE, AP exam or whatever. Practical advice!

  2. Bey C. says:

    This is very encouraging for me! I am a mom of a dyslexic chil and have been preparing “pre-tests” for him at home on his lessons before his actual test at school. He does very,very well in these home pre-tests but no always with good results when he takes the actual test at school…but at least now I know that I should just continue doing and hopefully it will help him be better in retrieving and organizing his knowledge as he gets older.

  3. So glad to be of help! Indeed, learning how to learn can be key.

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