If you’re studying for an online MBA or degree, you may be keen to discover the most effective way to prepare for an exam. Here we uncover the best study techniques that according to psychologists will assist you with your online education. Let’s first look at some of the most common learning methods in use today:
- Summarisation. Writing a summary of text to be learned.
- Highlighting. Marking or underlining potentially important pieces to be learned while reading.
- Keyword Mnemonic. The use of keywords and mental imagery to associate verbal materials.
- Imagery For Text. Forming mental images of text materials whilst reading or listening.
- Re-reading. Studying text material repeatedly after initial reading.
- Practice Testing. Self-testing by means of flash cards or taking practice tests on materials to be learned.
- Distributed Practice. Initiating a schedule of practice which spreads study activities out over a period of time.
All these methods of learning were examined by psychologists in a recent study. The results concluded that taking practice tests while adhering to a schedule of spreading out your online studying over a period of time works best.
You may be surprised to learn that the methods that were the least effective when it came to achieving good grades were highlighting, summarisation, creating imagery for text, keyword mnemonics and re-reading. These are strategies that students tend to use frequently, so if you’re one of them, you may want to think again. Psychologists revealed that these tactics provide minimal benefits to students learning and performance.
Students most probably rely on tasks such as highlighting and re-reading because they are the easiest to do while they are studying. Highlighting has proved to be of little use in helping you study. As for re-reading, while this technique may to some extent be of benefit if your study material is difficult, or you didn’t understand it fully the first time round, it is nowhere near as productive as taking practice tests or spreading your online studying over time.
So there you have it. Evidence suggests that focusing on practice testing and studying evenly are the best ways to achieve success with your online education. These are techniques you will want to consider over the duration of your online course as they offer the most time-effective and best use of your brain cells!
What works for you? If you have any tried and tested tips, let us know!