Self Testing Memorization method #1

The first method of memorization I tested in this experiment is self-testing. I selected this one out of sheer convenience; my calculus class and my physics class had old practice exams I could use, so I could test this method very well.

I decided to run this experiment during my studying for calculus. Normally, I just work through practice problems, but I decided that after I was done with my homework, I'd take a half hour break, and then come back and test myself to see how good I was at this particular section. I opted against the practice exams, as I hadn't learned everything on the exam yet, and there would only be one or two problems on it from this particular section. What I did instead was something in WebAssign called "Practice Another Version". You click on it, and it loads more problems similar to your homework problems, but with different numbers. The numbers are different, but the problems are worked out much the same way as the homework ones. I knew if I did this right after I was done with my homework, I'd still be in that "focused mode thinking"-- the homework problems would still be fresh in my head, since I'd have the process in my short term memory. This isn't what I wanted, since I wanted to see how much I actually retained. So, when I finished my homework, I took a half hour break. By "break", I mean I packed up all my stuff, left the library, and just walked around for a half hour. I walked around, I sat down on a bench and just unwound, I tried my best to get myself into diffuse mode thinking, to where I was thinking about other stuff besides math.

My half-hour break turned into an hour break, so I was definitely not in math mode anymore. I returned to the library but sat somewhere else on a different floor, to make sure my memory wouldn't be jogged somehow. I sat down, opened up "Practice Another Version", and got to work. It didn't take me long to get back in the groove again, and I noticed I even did better on types of problems that I struggled with the first time around. I definitely finished faster than I did the first time. However, it did push me a bit and I noticed small details and steps that I already forgot and had to review. If I hadn't done this, I definitely would have forgotten about those parts.

Overall, the self-testing method was a very successful one for me. I can see it having a lot of use in the future, especially if I test myself in a way similar to how the exam is formatted. It's the best way of preparing for a test, because in a sense you are taking a test. It's an effective study method that I will be sure to use throughout my college career.


Created with images by christinejwarner - "Studying"

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