What’s the most effective strategy to utilize for learning? Well, John Dunlosky, a professor of psychology and the director of experimental training at Kent State University researches self regulated learning and reviewed the efficacy of 10 learning strategies. What’d he find out?
Practice testing and distributed practice are the two most effective learning strategies. Practice testing being just that, taking practice tests on the to be learned materials. Distributed practice is implementing a schedule of practice that spreads out study activities over time. Together they enhance comprehension of large amounts of material and boost student achievement.
You can apply these strategies for your test prep:
Use official or highly recommended test prep material as the centerpiece for all your test preparation. All your supplementary material should lead back to your mother ship and not replace it. For example, don’t get too caught up with multiple strategy books. Get comfortable with the one methodology you like best so you can apply it on test day effectively.
Give yourself time to study the material – you won’t see your score boost significantly overnight. Most students should plan on a full school year of test prep to maximize their scoring potential and reduce their stress. Remember, being in school and preparing for an exam like the SAT, GMAT, or MCAT aren’t mutually exclusive.
Make sure to take full-length, timed practice tests to build up your testing endurance. Tests are dense, time consuming, and fatiguing. Your performance on test day is every bit as important as the knowledge being tested. Mimic actual testing conditions as closely as possible. Get comfortable with test taking.
Experienced tutors typical recommend completing between 10-15 full length practice tests where you review all your mistakes until you can explain them to someone else.
Know that you’re in control of your test score. If you put the time into learning the material you will score higher. But if you procrastinate and put things off, you won’t achieve the best you’re able to. Work hard today so you have no regrets in the future.
Image Courtesy of Richard Lawrence Cohen