The (Emerging, Sometimes Tenuous) Science of Enhancing Student Performance

How can we perform better as students? Here is a short compilation of what recent scientific research seems to be telling us. I have excluded popular advice and lore not backed by any data.

This is list is still under construction. Please contact me with any additions, comments, or corrections. (Major credit to Jen Waller who gathered and vetted the majority of these sources.)

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Toward a Science of Student Performance

How can we perform better as students? Here is a short list of what recent scientific research seems to be telling us. (Major credit to Jennifer Waller for collecting almost all these sources.)

This is list is still under construction. Please contact me with any comments or corrections.

Instead of using the laptop, take written notes. 1

Instead of studying each subject in one block of time, interleave your study, going back and forth between subjects. (In other words, do some biology, then some history, then back to some more biology, then back to some more history.) 1 2 3

Instead of reading passively, generate your own conceptual questions as you read. 1

Instead of repeatedly re-reading your highlighted/marked passages, cover them up and try to retrieve contents by memory. Put retrieval practice to use! 1 2 3 4

Instead of cramming the night before, break study/reading up into periods distributed over the week, ideally shortly before sleeping.

Attend class regularly. 1

Sleep a lot. Take afternoon naps. Get REM. Study shortly before you will be sleeping. 1 2

No, you apparently shouldn’t stick with your original answer on a test when you feel uncertain either way. It’s a myth. 1 2