23.10.2018 • 3 minutes
When it comes to studying for a test, the vast majority of students rely on a method called massed practice, or “cramming”. The idea is simple: study intensively right before a test, to maximise the amount of information you remember at the time of the evaluation.
Is it effective? If the goal is to be able to pass the test at a specific moment, then cramming can certainly yield satisfactory results. However, if a student needs to be able to pass the test at any time over the course of days or weeks - in other words, understand and remember the course material in the long term - then massed practice is a terrible learning method.
It comes down to what students and their teachers value most: grades or a deep understanding of the course material. If you value the latter, there is an old and effective method that can help you reach your goals.
Spaced or distributive practice means that a student will divide their studying into shorter learning sessions and spread them out over days, weeks, and even months. In the long run, this is far more effective than cramming, and here are three reasons why:
For teachers who value long-term learning and understanding, helping students space out their learning sessions is paramount. Here are some tips to help students implement spaced practice.
Content drawn from “_The Science of Learning — What Every Teacher Should Know_”, EdX: https://www.edx.org
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