Thursday, 11 June 2015

ACTIVE RECALL - Study Techniques

"Using active recall is the best way to learn material faster and remember it longer 

A lot of  students at one point in time have asked me something along these lines: “What should I do to prepare for my exams – read over my notes again, listen to the lectures online again, rewrite all my notes, read the book again?” To all of which my response is always “No, no, no and no.” Most students, despite spending a huge portion of their day studying, haven’t tried to figure out what study methods are most effective. Even if they can find a way to learn something 10% faster, say in 27 minutes instead of 30 minutes, this 10% boost in efficiency will save hundreds of hours of study time over the course of a year. What if you could cut study time by 20%? 40%? Imagine how much more time you would have to text and Facebook stalk! 

Listening to a boring teacher Using “Active Recall” while you’re studying or learning a new skill is perhaps the most important thing you can do. Active recall, as its name implies means that you have to actively engage your brain while recalling information. There is a huge difference between passive learning and active learning. The thing that reading notes, rewriting notes, listening to lectures and reading a book all have in common is that they are passive processes. Information only comes in, it is a one-direction process. Some people are sponges and may be able to retain most of the information learned this way, but for the average person it takes a lot more than just listening to something or reading it from a book one time before they actually understand the information and remember the details."

By Joe the Tutor

I think the best way to start off discussing the topic of studying is to first explain one of the most effective studying techniques ever implemented. It is called Active Recall.

Now what is "active recall"?
  • Explaining a concept out loud, in complete sentences, as if lecturing a class and without looking at your notes
  • Explaining a concept with absolutely no help
  • The only studying time that actually counts

Okay, so HOW do I use active recall?
  • Look at each concept
  • Look at each question
  • Explain the concept out loud as if to an audience
  • If good place () mark next to concept
  • If you stumble place (X) mark and come back to it later
  • Study until you get a () mark next to every concept
  • Study less, get higher grades

Now what is "passive recall"? This is best summed up by an excerpt from an article by David Glenn:
Read carefully. Write down unfamiliar terms and look up their
meanings. Make an outline. Reread each chapter.
That's not terrible advice. But some scientists would say that
you've left out the most important step: Put the book aside and
hide your notes. Then recall everything you can. Write it down, or,
if you're uninhibited, say it out loud.

All those who are reading this in the middle of the night, ALL THE BEST!