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Efficient Studying

Students have a difficult time assessing their own comprehension of new material. Often times we overestimate our understanding of class material and decide to spend less time studying. It is only when we get feedback (i.e. a grade!) from a homework or test that we realize that we didn’t understand the material as well as we thought. This common problem is often referred to as “the illusion of comprehension”.

To avoid this common trap Dr. Marilla Svinick, professor of Psychology at the University of Texas at Austin, recommends the GAMES model for efficient studying.

  • Goal-oriented study
    - Establish a learning goal for each study session. Example: “I will learn how to perform a simple linear regression” (instead of “I will read/complete exercises of chapter 8″)
  • Active studying
    - Do something with the material you are studying, other that reading it.
  • Meaningful and memorable studying
    - Create your own examples or try to connect this new material to previous knowledge.
  • Explaining the material in order to learn it
    - Put the ideas in you own words. Create your own summary or even better try to explain the concepts to someone else.
  • Self-monitoring
    - Time to check if you achieved your learning goal. Use your own questions or ask someone to quiz you on the material. What , if any, gaps need to be filled?

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