Have you ever read through your textbook, highlighted “important” information, and then reviewed your highlights to study for an exam?
Some studies show as many as 80% of students use this method as their primary mode of studying and it also happens to be one of the most ineffective ways to study!
For a while now I’ve had an interest in memory techniques and the efficiency of learning. Lately, I’ve become somewhat obsessed! If I were to recommend one book to everyone, it would be Make it Stick: The Science of Successful Learning by Peter C. Brown, Henry L. Roediger III, and Mark A McDaniel. The book has some phenomenal information regarding learning and is helpful to people of all ages. It was the source of the introductory information regarding highlighting as well. Apparently, highlighting is not only time-consuming and ineffective, it also creates a false sense of knowing the material since you familiarize yourself with the words. Instead, you should force yourself to recall the information without reading it again (flashcards, creating outlines from memory, etc.). Obviously, you can’t always remember everything and will need to go back to review certain material. However, the stuff you do remember will “stick” better if more effort is required to recall it. This is just the tip of the iceberg in regards to helpful information in the above book, so like I said, you should definitely check it out.
Most of the books I’ve been reading lately deal with the science behind effective learning, speed reading, memory palaces, mnemonics, etc. and I honestly can’t get enough. In the coming weeks I should definitely have some update recommendations. I’m currently even enrolled in an online course that teaches speed reading, and I have high hopes for it. I generally read at about 300 WPM with 80% retention and have a goal of 500 WPM within the next couple months while keeping retention at 80-90%. I’ll be sure to keep everyone updated and recommend the course if it works out!
However, it’s the last few weeks of the semester for medical school as well, so hopefully I’ll be able to keep up with everything!