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Top Study Tips with Richard Spacek Being a modification of “Bjork’s Big Seven,” developed by Dr. Robert Bjork, Professor of Psychology, University of California,

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Presentation on theme: "Top Study Tips with Richard Spacek Being a modification of “Bjork’s Big Seven,” developed by Dr. Robert Bjork, Professor of Psychology, University of California,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Top Study Tips with Richard Spacek Being a modification of “Bjork’s Big Seven,” developed by Dr. Robert Bjork, Professor of Psychology, University of California, Los Angeles, and supplemented by my own research..

2 Try the Neuromyths quiz!

3 1 False. fMRI has repeatedly shown several brain areas at work during activities There is no unused “reserve,” only some degree of specialization

4 2 False. Polyphasic sleep (more than two sessions per night) Usually the result of illness Often supplemented by daytime napping

5 3 False study suggested better “spatial task performance” Result of mood, not congnitive improvement Learning a musical instrument does contribute to self-regulation and possible cognitive ability

6 4 False. Wakefield’s study was fraudulent and was withdrawn He was stuck from the British Medical Register

7 5 False. Repairs are constantly carried out “neuroplasticity” can help recovery in some serious cases

8 6. False. In certain areas, new neurons are formed constantly: hippocampus and olfactory bulb Cells constantly regenerated

9 7 True. “spacing effect” is well documented current research focuses on finding the ideal spacings

10 8 False—BUT... Damage to dendrites will occur as a result of chronic abuse Vit. B1 deficiency can cause Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome

11 9 False. Only physical trauma can create a hole in your brain Key brain regions in drug addicted people may be reduced in size Some drugs interfere with the way cells send and receive messages

12 10 False. Crossword puzzles and similar games can help you learn words and improve specific skills, but will not enhance overall brain function

13 11 True. regular exercise can help maintain memory and general cognition Aerobic exercise increases blood flow to the brain, lessening rate of tissue loss during aging John Ratey, Harvard: increases production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF)

14 12 False. Both hemispheres work together in almost every cognitive task that has been studied Something as broad (and ill- defined) as “creativity” is not centered in one hemisphere.

15 13 False. Arzi et al. (2012) determined that sleeping subject could learn smells—but that’s about it!

16 Bjork’s Big Seven Bjork combined years of research into a system of key study activities I have built on this

17 The Big Seven 1.Concentrate 2.Interpret & Understand 3.Organize & Structure Information 4.Space & Repeat 5.Test, Retest/Generate, Retrieve 6.Organize Time 7.Recognize Physical Factors

18 1. Concentrate Ever BLANK OUT while reading? Ever notice that a lecture has moved on to a completely different topic while you “tuned-out”? Ever driven miles while your mind wandered?

19 Concentrate If you feel yourself slipping right now. Stop! Stand up; stretch Tap your head three times while muttering “think”, “think”, “think” Now refocus. Feel better?

20 Attention, Please! Decades of attention research show us 1.Dividing your attention between multiple tasks is inefficient (no multi-taking) 2.Attention cannot be sustained indefinitely

21 Multi-tasking Multi-tasking is inefficient... often an attempt to combine necessary with desired tasks turn off the stereo leave the residence tell yourself that if you study/practice for 20 min. effectively then you’ll spend 5 minutes... doing those other things you might otherwise be doing

22 Lecture Multitasking “significant negative correlation between in-class phone use and final grades... corresponding to a drop of 0.36 plus or minus 0.08 on a 4-point scale where 4.0 = A” “students cannot multitask nearly as effectively as they think they can”

23 Concentration Killers Alcohol Depression Interrupting reading with texting/messaging/ Minor! Moderate! Major!

24 Exceptions “separate perceptual domains” Allows one to read while walking on a treadmill without interference Writing while singing NOT so successful

25 Limits of Concentration 2. A person can concentrate for a limited amount of time. The duration of attention differs from person to person, from task to task. You will know when you’ve reached your limit: your mind will start to wander

26 Limits of Concentration For lectures, give yourself a pep talk beforehand: “Even the most boring lecture will end eventually.” When you find yourself beginning to lose attention, try to think of a question to ask the instructor and write it down Write one down now!

27 Limits of Concentration Study: more difficult (or more boring) subjects may require more breaks Your ability to sustain focus tends to increase with practice Fatigue, illness will decrease endurance

28 Limits of Concentration Example: You have 50 minutes to study You will actually learn more by studying for 45 of those 50 minutes and then taking a short physical break for 5 min.

29 Limits of Concentration If you don’t take a break, your brain will go on one without you anyway... Possibly during the most important part of study For every 50 minutes, study, practice, or self-test for 25, take a break for 5, and then start again for 20.

30 Limits of Concentration DON’T FORGET TO START AGAIN! For the next 50 min. time period, you might notice diminishing returns from that 5 min. break. You might find that you need a 10 min. break Eventually your stamina will increase

31 2. Interpret & Understand Read the following: 1.The exposure was insufficient because of the weather conditions. 2.The crash was due to the keys sticking. 3.The numbers slid down because of the crisis abroad.

32 Interpretation Interpretation can be thought of deep processing Now try to recall the three sentences that you just read on the previous slide. Can you do it? Fill in the blanks....

33 Interpretation Remembering the sentences was probably difficult They seemed meaningless That which cannot be interpreted, cannot easily be recalled

34 Interpretation Read the sentences again: 1.The exposure was insufficient because of the weather conditions. (Taking a picture) 2.The crash was due to the keys sticking. (Computer break-down) 3.The numbers slid down because of the crisis abroad. (Stock-market)

35 Interpretation Context provides comprehension Now try to recall the three sentences again.

36 Interpretation Other factors: you saw them before (repetition). You tried to recall them once already (retrieval practice) Repetition and retrieval practice are both crucial for learning & memory Research suggests that the sentences with “clues” are easier to remember even at first sight, because you were able to interpret the sentences.

37 3. Organize/Structure List the months of the year— write them down. How long did that take you? Did you get them all?

38 Organization/Structure Pretty trivial, pretty easy? Now list the months of the year alphabetically. How long did that take? Are you sure that you got them all?

39 Organization/Structure A change in organization is a change in information

40 Organization/Structure Preview the chapters of textbooks Look over section headings how chapters are organized How many of you read the chapter summaries at the beginning (or end) of the chapters before you begin reading?

41 Chapter-Level Organizers

42 4. Space/Repeat You have 4 hours to study for tests in Class A & Class B. What do you do? Do you spend two hours on Course A and then two hours on Course B? Study Course A for an hour, then Course B for an hour, then Course A for an hour, then Course B.

43 4. Space/Repeat Spacing your study in this way is an easy way to increase variability of encoding Spacing your study increases retention

44 4. Space/Repeat Each time you study something, you will encode the information slightly differently. Especially when time intervenes between the two study sessions. “encoding variability”

45 Going Postal: Optimal Spacing BPO: teaching typing to postal workers Option 1: take workers off their jobs and give intensive typing training Option 2: combine training with job and brief practice each day

46 Typing Sessions 1.Two 2-hour sessions per day (total of 4 hours) 2.One 2-hour session per day (total of 2 hours) 3.Two 1-hour sessions per day (total of 2 hours) 4.One 1-hour session per day (1 hour)

47 Results: Acceptable Standard Attained 1.80 hours 2.78 hours 3.78 hours 4.55 hours Also, group 4 retained their competence better than group 1

48 “SPACING EFFECT” Remember the curve of decay: Knowledge initially declines rapidly, dropping by 80-90% within a week Review material before forgetting Brief reviews produce benefits Spaced recall promotes long term memory: separate instances of effortful recall!

49 Micro-distribution practice Spaced presentation enhances memory Landauer/Bjork method: Test new item after short delay As item becomes better learned, gradually extend the practice interval Sample learning sequence:

50 Micro-Distribution Teacher Stable = l’écurie Stable? Horse = le cheval Horse? Stable? Horse? Grass = l’herbe Grass? Stable? Horse? Grass? Church = l’église Church? Learner l’écurie Le cheval L’ écurie Le cheval L’herbe L’ écurie Le cheval L’herbe l’église

51 5. Test, Retest When you flip through your textbook taking note of the organization before you begin to read the chapter, try to generate questions....

52 Bjork’s Advice Step number one: Take out your highlighting pen. Step number two: Make sure your highlighter has plenty of ink. Step number three: Throw away your highlighter!!!

53 Read, Write; Don’t Highlight! Testing is BETTER Read a paragraph or two and test yourself: try to summarize Check the textbook to make sure that you have correctly summarized the information Correct as needed

54 Generate, Retrieve! All the time, try to make sense out of what you are learning (interpretation) Using this very powerful technique may double if not triple your reading time—but it will produce results.

55 Generate, Retrieve! Retrieval practice. How will you know you are ready to take the test and that you will do well on the exam? PRACTICE RETRIEVING THE INFORMATION BEFORE THE TEST!!!

56 Generate, Retrieve! Retrieval practice provides very effective feedback. Immediate knowledge of performance Even better, retrieval practice makes the information more likely to be remembered the next time you try to retrieve it!

57 Test Stable Horse Grass Church Write the French for.... Stable = l’écurie Horse = le cheval Grass = l’herbe Church = l’église

58 6. Organize Time “time management and self- testing were generally stronger predictors of... academic performance than aptitude”

59 Time Thief: Video Games “81% of American youth report playing at least once per month C. 9% of 8-18 year olds are pathological users “consistent negative associations between liking to play violent video games and school performance”

60 Organize Time Schedules reduce stress, ensure performance They must be designed realistically and they must suit you schedules build habits and habits can work for you!

61 Fight Procrastination Beat procrastination with a limited commitment Promise to spend just 25 minutes on a large task Once you are working, delay quitting—perhaps 10 minutes Extend as necessary

62 TM Workshop For more on Time Management, attend our next TM workshop Or download our slideshows:

63 7. Study Environment a)Light b)Day vs. Night c)Height d)Distractions, internal and external

64 a. Daylight Lighting (100 watts times 2 or actual daylight Improves concentration, makes study more efficient Improves mood

65 Four Oaks Elementary Wholly “daylit” school Scores 7% ABOVE average Destroyed by fire Students moved to trailers Scores 10% BELOW average New daylit school: 9% above average

66 b. Day vs. Night Most are more efficient in daytime Try to reserve low priority tasks for the night The later the hour, the lower the challenge should be “Sleep on it” tasks

67 c. Height Big debate: standing vs. sitting Standing increases alertness Probably less injurious to health Ideal: have at least one work space at which you can stand part of the time

68 d. Distractions Use the “spider technique” to overcome your response to a distractor Make a “symbolic” response Transition to none at all

69 The End What about those questions you wrote down?

70 Want to know more? go.unb.ca/wss


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