Thursday, December 5, 2013

Study tips from my Psychology professor

With finals coming up, I thought everyone would find some study tips helpful.  I'm not a Psychology major or even a Psychology fanatic, but in my Introduction to Psychology course this semester, my professor shared with the class some tips for memory improvement during our chapter on memory.  The chapter included the study of the nature of memory, memory models, forgetting, the biological basis of memory and memory loss, and tips for memory improvement:

  • Pay attention and reduce interference.  Focus in class and when you study.  Even if you think you can study and complete work despite distractions, do not attempt to do so.  You won't remember the material as well.
  • Use rehearsal techniques.  Study the information in a manner similar to that in which you will recall it on your exam.  Rehearse the information repeatedly, mentally, on paper, and aloud.
  • Use the encoding specificity principle.  The encoding specificity principle states that the retrieval of information is improved when conditions of recovery are similar to the conditions when information was encoded.  For example, if you drink from a water bottle after you finish studying a topic, be sure to drink from a water bottle after you complete the same topic on the test.  It's kind of a silly example, but the concept is there.
  • Improve your organization.  This one is pretty self-explanatory.  Even if you have not been organized all semester, it's not too late to start.  Organize your notes and compile a sort of study guide so you know exactly what you have to study.
  • Counteract the serial-position effect.  The serial-position effect states that you remember words better at the beginning and ending of lists (primary/recency effects).  You are more likely to remember the first and last things you study, so make sure you pay particular attention to the information you study in between.
  • Manage your time.  Do not wait until the last second to study.  You'll remember things much better if you study over an extended period of time.
  • Employ self-monitoring and over learning.  You are responsible for your learning and your grades.  Take pride in your education and always strive to be the best you can be.  Learning information more than you think you need to will only help you when you take your exam.
  • Use mnemonic devices.  For example, Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge.  This is a mnemonic device used to remember the lines on the treble clef, EGBDF.

Good luck on your exams.  Happy studying!