Memory is defined as the persistence of learning over time through the encoding, storage, and retrieval of information (Myers and Dewall, 283). When it comes to studying, understanding the processes of memory can help you figure out the most effective strategy. Upon looking into this subject on the internet, I found a lot of different study suggestions for all different ages. I aimed to choose the sites that looked to be the most popularly visited. I first looked into study strategies for college students, the middle and high school students, and finally for parents. (The links to each can be found at the end of this post).
In terms of study tips for college students, the website I looked at had a lot of positive ideas. Participating in study groups, making flash cards, taking tests, getting enough sleep, and properly managing your time were all points that were emphasized. Flash cards and taking tests are something I think would be especially useful because they test your ability to recall information. Both of them exhibit the testing effect (Myers and Dewall, 288) which states how memory is enhanced by retrieving the information you need to know, rather than just reading it. This website also mentioned the dangers of ‘binge studying’. Instead of learning as much as you can the night before the test (which also impedes sleep), you should study in smaller portions over a longer period of time. This displays the spacing effect (Myers and Dewall, 288) which explains how spacing out your studying can help with long-term retention. An area on this website with which I did not agree, had to do with alternating your study spaces. I do agree that it is important to have the proper environment to study in, but I disagree with its point that changing your study location improves the likelihood of remembering what you studied. While this may be partially true, it is also proven that testing goes better if done in the same location (probably the classroom) in which you learned the information which has to do with priming (Myers and Dewal, 297) which is the activation of associations in memory. Other than this, I found the suggestions made by this website helpful in terms of studying for college.
Next, I looked at a website that contained study suggestions for middle or high schoolers. A lot of the information provided by this website has to do with being clean and organized. Your locker at school, bedroom, study space, backpack, binders, etc. All of it should be as organized as you can manage. This will help you keep on top of what needs to get done and keeps added factors (like a messy environment) from distracting you from your studies. Multicolor pens were suggested for taking notes. I agree with this as it can appeal to visual memory. Something mentioned in this website that I did not quite agree with was its point about ‘making the right friends’. It encourages you to surround yourself with people who are motivated and dedicated to school so that you are influenced by them. However, in my opinion it can also be helpful to study by teaching material to someone who is not as well versed (or better) in the subject as you. However, this could have been a miscommunication in the wording of the website which may have actually been trying to stress the importance of study groups. Something else that seemed slightly incorrect was its recommendations about sleep. It recommended 7-8 hours of sleep, however, the proper amount of sleep could be well above or below 7-8 hours. However, I do agree that it is important to get the proper amount of sleep, as this is where the brain reorganizes and consolidates information for long-term memory (Myers and Dewall, 312). Other than this, I do agree with this posts information while I feel it could have been a bit more inclusive. A lot of its suggestions were vague and simply had to do with taking care of yourself and your life so that you have the ability to do as well as you can in school.
Finally, I looked into how people with children can improve their study skills. This website made some good suggestions about planning ahead and communicating with instructors, all of which are definitely good practices to do well in school. The other suggestions made, all had to do with getting your kids involved in your studies. Having them study with you, competing with them so that you both stay motivated, etc. There seem to be good and bad aspects to all of these suggestions. On the one hand, study groups are recommended and this is a form of that. However, you also want to have an environment where you can focus on your studies. If your children are with you, is it really possible to completely focus? It is reasonable to believe that your time would be consumed by helping them with their homework, causing your own to suffer since multi-tasking causes whatever you are trying to do to suffer. Lack of focus can cause a problem with encoding the memories which can keep them from ever becoming a part of long-term memory storage (Myers and Dewall, 304). That being said, I feel that each of these websites had valuable information as well as information that could be improved with a little tweaking.
Myers, D. G., & DeWall, C. N. (2016). Exploring psychology. Pages 281-312. New York: Worth, Macmillan Learning.