Study tips

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Share these study tips with your students.

Improving Students’ Learning With Effective Learning Techniques: Promising Directions From Cognitive and Educational Psychology

Dunlosky, Rawson, Marsh, Nathan, and Willingham(2013) assess ten commonly used study techniques, describing each in detail and reviewing the evidence on effectiveness. Their findings, as reported here, are summarized in the following text and table.


According to the authors, some commonly used techniques, such as underlining, rereading material, and using mnemonic devices, were found to be of surprisingly low utility. These techniques were difficult to implement properly and often resulted in inconsistent gains in student performance. Other learning techniques such as taking practice tests and spreading study sessions out over time — known as distributed practice — were found to be of high utility because they benefited students of many different ages and ability levels and enhanced performance in many different areas. [1]

Dunlosky J., Rawson K. A., Marsh E. J., Nathan M. J., Willingham D. T. (2013). Improving students’ learning with effective learning techniques: Promising directions from cognitive and educational psychology. Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 14, 4–58. doi:10.1177/1529100612453266

The Wall Street Journal offers the following graphic

in "Toughest Exam Question: What Is the Best Way to Study?," SUE SHELLENBARGER, OCTOBER 26, 2011:

Study tips wsj.jpg

The video series, How to Get the Most Out of Studying

Is an outgrowth of Stephen Chew's Improving Classroom Performance by Challenging Student Misconceptions About Learning. Professor Chew, an expert in the study of teaching and learning, recently won the prestigious "Professor of the Year Award" from the Carnegie Foundation. (These resources were recommended by William Goffe, Department of Economics, Pennsylvania State University.)