Magazine article USA TODAY

Student Self-Testing Earns High Marks

Magazine article USA TODAY

Student Self-Testing Earns High Marks

Article excerpt

College students who pore over their notes again and again as they prep for finals could use their studying time more wisely, according to research from Purdue University, West Lafayette, Ind. "We know that self-testing, which happens when students practice retrieving knowledge, drives learning," declares Jeffrey D. Karpicke, assistant professor of psychological sciences. "Students can really benefit from testing themselves as they study by using something as simple as flashcards.

"However, the key is to not drop a flashcard once you feel you have mastered the material. Keep it as part of your rotation and keep practicing retrieval of that information."

Karpicke has found that collegians are more likely to invest their time in repetitive note reading, while those who do practice retrieval spend too little time on it. "There is an illusion about how much a person is actually learning while they are self-testing," notes Karpicke, who is a cognitive psychologist and memory specialist. …

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