How to study for final exams — or anything else


Final exams start tomorrow the University of St. Thomas, so I was attracted to an article in the Opus College of Business’ Opus Magnum blog, which suggested a way students could best study.

The finding: They should be testing themselves.

The blog cites a New York Times article from earlier this year, which said testing beats both cramming and mind-mapping.

The crux of the article: When you have to struggle to recall something, it reinforces the material in your mind. Something about creating new memory pathways.

Opus Magnum cites the article:

“I think that learning is all about retrieving, all about reconstructing our knowledge,” said the lead author, Jeffrey Karpicke, an assistant professor of psychology at Purdue University. “I think that we’re tapping into something fundamental about how the mind works when we talk about retrieval.”

I had to chuckle though. I translated a research article on the exact same subject while working in Germany almost 20 years ago.

I’ve been using flash cards and self-tests ever since. Where has everybody been?