Many students get into the routine of re-reading textbooks and worksheets when preparing for tests and examinations. They may spend hours cramming formulas, concepts and specific problem-solving techniques into their brains. Relying on such studying techniques alone is not adequate, for they hinge on the assumption that human memories operate like recording gadgets which can play back memories flawlessly when required. However, research has shown that the process of storage and recovery of information by human brains differs from that of recording gadgets in almost every possible way. Students hence need study strategies which enable the brain to work to retain information, instead of reviewing textbooks and worksheets in a passive way. For students taking the PSLE this year, there are only a few months left to revise through the various chapters and work through PSLE questions Singapore. Hence, it is of paramount importance to know how to study smart while studying hard.
The mid-year examinations are fast approaching. As students gear up for the stressful period ahead, we offer some tips and strategies for preparing examinations in a more effective way.
Recall and Repeat
One effective method of helping our brain to retain information is the “repeated retrieval practice”. This involves engaging the brain in remembering information more than once. Researchers have found that memories become more accessible with its recurring recovery. A psychology researcher at Purdue University, Dr. Jeffrey Karpicke, studied the effects of this method by asking research participants to learn a list of words in a foreign language. The participants were asked to recall a word, then move on to other words, and then recall the word again. This was repeated several times. A week later, these participants were still able to remember 80% of the words, outperforming another group of participants who studied the list only once for an extended period of time but without recall.
Many students assume that being able to recall something they have just learnt is proof that they have memorised it for the long term. However, this turns out to be untrue most of the time. A better way is to do a few repeated retrievals of the content studied in a spaced manner to aid in long-term memory retention. In a similar way, to be able to solve hard PSLE Math questions within the time limit, a student ought to be fully prepared prior to the exam. It only takes time and consistent effort to practise on the same type of questions repeatedly to gain familiarity with the problem-solving techniques.
Adopting A Variety Of Strategies
Different strategies can be used by different students, depending on their personal preferences and the effectiveness of the strategy in achieving a particular learning aim. For example, some students prefer using flashcards while doing self-revision. Flashcards are effective as they provide a quick way to check if a correct answer is given. In addition, they help a student to engage in active recall which aids in deepening memory.
Concept-mapping is another strategy which is useful in subjects like Science. By drawing diagrams which illustrate the relationships between different concepts, students can form a meaningful map of the information they have. One tip is to first revise the concepts from PSLE Science notes Singapore, and then attempt to do concept-mapping with the book closed. This is one fabulous exercise to make the brain recall as much information as possible.
Self-assessments carry a number of benefits. Firstly, students are encouraged to take more responsibility for their own learning. It also helps them to identify gaps in their learning. In the area of brain research, it has been established that periodic self-assessments allow for improved organisation of knowledge, hence helping the brain to group content into clusters to allow for easy retrieval in the future. For students taking PSLE this year, this may be a good time for them to assess their knowledge of upper primary material by first practising on free test papers for Primary 5 before covering Primary 6 topics.