Want to know how you can help your child study more effectively? Here we go…
1. Spaced Study
One of the biggest mistakes students make is leaving everything to the last minute, then cramming before an exam. A better way is to have two revision sessions with time in between. The time in between allows the brain to process the information learned, which results in better retention of information.
- works for children of all ages and abilities, and for different topics and methods of teaching.
- the longer the gap between study sessions (up to a year), the better the retention of information.
2. Get Enough Sleep
Another common mistake students make before an exam is to pull an all-nighter because sleep is important for the consolidation of new information and for making stable memories that can be recalled later.
When we are sleep deprived, our focus, attention, and vigilance drift, making it more difficult to receive information. Without adequate sleep and rest, over-worked neurons can no longer function to coordinate information properly, and we lose our ability to access previously learned information. – Healthy Sleep
As much as students hate tests and exams, they do have their purpose in improving learning. The active process of recalling the answers to test questions helps to reconsolidate the information in the brain.
- short-answer questions are better than multiple-choice answer questions
- teach your children to quiz themselves as they are learning new material to facilitate retention
- Test-Enhanced Learning – Taking Memory Tests Improves Long-term Retention
- Testing improves long-term retention in a simulated classroom setting
- Test-taking may improve learning in people of all ages
Children learn better if you mix it up – for example, repeating ten similar math problems is not as effective as practicing ten different math problems. This method works regardless of the subject.
5. Change of Environment
Similar to the method of interleaving, changing the environment in which your child studies can help with knowledge retention…
The brain makes subtle associations between what it is studying and the background sensations it has at the time … regardless of whether those perceptions are conscious… Forcing the brain to make multiple associations with the same material may, in effect, give that information more neural scaffolding.
“What we think is happening here is that, when the outside context is varied, the information is enriched, and this slows down forgetting,” said Dr. Bjork, the senior author of the two-room experiment. – New York Times.
6. Playing Video Games
Yes, believe it or not, playing video games (in particular, those horrible shoot-’em-up rapid action games) has the effect of improving response speed on a variety of tasks and visual attention abilities. This effect can last for years after the training. Unfortunately, non-violent games with similar beneficial effects have not been found as yet.
7. Avoid Multi-Tasking
“evidence from psychology, cognitive science, and neuroscience suggests that when students multitask while doing schoolwork, their learning is far spottier and shallower than if the work had their full attention.” – The Creativity Post
Even though many people believe they can multi-task reasonably well, the findings seem to indicate otherwise. According to Aamodt and Wang in Welcome to Your Child’s Brain:
“The brain cannot concentrate on more than one thing at a time… the cost of chronic multitasking may include diminished performance when single-tasking.”
Update: More about the costs of multitasking.