Study Strategies: Making It Stick!

Saturday, January 27, 2018
What has Research about the Science of Successful Learning taught us about Making It Stick?

Brown, Roediger & McDaniel (2014) identified 6 Research-based Principles and Strategies for committing information to long-term memory and increasing the probability of retrieving it as applicable knowledge:

➔  (1) Rereading text and massed practice are ineffective.
➔  (2) Instead, active retrieval interrupts forgetting.
➔  (3) Create a mental model for new knowledge that connects to larger context and prior knowledge:

A conceptual approach to active information processing and retrieval helps interrupt forgetting and deepen your understanding. Conceptual Mapping helps you:

  1. Synthesize the big picture,
  2. Do a deep dive where you need to be more granular,
  3. Establish simple-complex relationships and hierarchies,
  4. Identify gaps, and
  5. Try a variety of Conceptual Mapping tools:
Concept Map Anywhere!

All you need is any blank “canvas”: scrap paper, notebook, white board, etc.

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Concept Map Online: Search for a Variety of Free and Subscription Software Apps
Try this Free Online Concept Mapping Tool by Google: Coggle
(Click icon above to watch introductory video)
➔  (4) Space out practice and interleave subjects
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There is a minimum of 3 levels of time management for the semester:

  1. Semester: Major Deadlines
  2. Week: Logistical
  3. Daily: Individual Tasks
Think strategically before, during and after coursework


  1. Office Hours: Professor and Teaching Assistant
  2. Sleep
  3. Meals and Snacks
  4. Breaks
  5. Self-Care Activities (e.g. exercise, therapy/counseling, health care, etc.)
  6. Extra-curricular, volunteer and social activities
➔  (5) Extract underlying principles that differentiate problem types to prepare for unfamiliar problems/situations

As you prepare weekly problem sets for class, recitation or online submission, OR before you compare your sample prior exam answers, step back and take time to:

  • Evaluate and differentiate types of problem by concept categories: 1) Conceptual Problems or 2) Algorithmic Problems.
  • Try problems before being taught solution
  • Allot an equivalent/appropriate amount of time by rigor/complexity level.
  • Pin point conditional problem scenario terms, such as: ALL, NOT, EXCEPT, BUT, AND, IN ALL CASES, etc.
  • Review ETS’ GRE Problem-Solving Strategies 
  • Review our prior Blog on 6-Hours Per Week for Solving Problem Sets
Make It Stick
By Staff Writer: Min Derry, Learning Fellow & Instructor