Study Tips

Which of these drawings of a penny is accurate?

Familiarity is NOT the same as remembering.

Thoughts from

Make It Stick: The Science of Learningby. Brown, Reedier, McDaniel


(Some may be counter intuitive)
Rereading text and massed practice are among the least productive study methods, but they continue to be the most popular
Retrieval practice -- recalling facts and ideas from memory is more effective (for example, quizzes, problems)
Space out practice until you begin to forget
Interleave practice of two or more subjects
Try to solve a problem before you are taught howUse testing to calibrate and identify your areas of weakness.
Intellectual ability is NOT hardwired from birth. Every time you learn something you change your brain!

Students tend to read and nod at these tips and then return to their original study habits or thoughts of mind. Don't try to incorporate all of these tips at once, pick one and start there. The correct answer to the penny quiz is picture A.

Practical tips for Students:


    • Try to answer questions and problems before being shown the answer.
    • Fill in missing words in text.
    • Predict what you expect to find before you read a portion of the text.


    • Take a few minutes to review what was learned right after class or an experience
    • Think about what went well and what have made it better.


    • Memory aids, acronyms, phrases, images, etc


    • Explain to someone in your own words.
    • Find examples.
    • Develop a metaphor or visual image.
    • Draw pictures.


    • Use an objective measurement - test, quiz to adjust your judgement to reflect reality. (In other words don't say, "I know how do this.")
    • Avoid false fluency - don't look at the question and say, "Yup, I know this" and move on, answer it and check.
    • Use feedback to decide what needs review.