Christmas may be drawing near, but my school have decided that the holidays should not be a time of rest. Oh no. Instead they are a time to manically study the masses of information accumulated since September for Mock Examinations.
Cue heart sinking.
In an effort to make revision a little bit more bearable, I turned to Psychology to find out how I could make the work I do more effective.
Nestojko et al. published an article in the journal of Memory and Cognition a few months ago with the results of their study which found that ‘expecting to teach enhances learning and organization of knowledge in free recall of text passages.’
When students are told they have to teach the material to another person or group of people, it was uncovered that they actually recall more.
56 undergraduate students were split into two groups. One group were given 10 minutes to study a 1500-word passage about stories relating to The Charge of The Light Brigade, and told that they would be tested on it afterwards. The other group were given the same task and timings, but they were told that afterwards they would have to teach the content to another student. None of the students were allowed to take any notes.
25 minutes after their study time, both groups were tested on the passage. They had to recall as much information as they could and then had to answer specific questions about the content.
The students who were told that they were going to teach the material recalled more facts from the text. Specifically they were better at recalling the main points in the text, and their recall was also better organised.
Nestojko and his team proposed that the learners who expected they would have to teach the material adopt strategies like ‘organising and weighing the importance of different concepts in the to-be-taught material, focusing on main points, and thinking about how information fits together’ and through this boost memory performance.
In schools, teachers could announce that a random student will play the teaching role in the next lesson, so the whole class try to learn the material with the view of teaching it. By adopting revision strategies that involve teaching, it could be possible to easily improve recall of information, meaning a little bit less revision if it works for you!
For more ways to improve your revision: