Updated: Dec 6, 2021
High school students are busy! From attending classes to holding down a part-time job, to being with friends, to music or sports practice, to recreation, to family time, high school students are busy. It's no wonder that high school students often find it difficult to carve out time to do their homework, let alone find study time. Yet school is important and doing well in school affects one's future aspirations.
Even if a student finds time to study we know that much of the study that students do is inefficient and ineffective. Many students are unaware of effective study methods and techniques for learning.
Many students wait until the last moment to study or review for a test. Often students re-read material as a form of study. Both these methods are ineffective ways to prepare for the next test let alone know, and understand, the material for long term retention. What does work as a study method?
We know that study or practice over time is more effective than cramming, especially for long-term retention. This is called spaced practice. And what is better than re-reading as an effective study method, well, many study techniques, but perhaps the best is a technique called retrieval practice in which one 'retrieves' information from memory. That's why many students turn to flashcards. Flashcards are an effective way to review. It can be as simple as writing a question on one side of a recipe card and writing the answer on the other side, then taking a number of flashcards and trying to answer the questions from memory without looking at the answer first. In effect, this is activating one of the best forms of study, self-testing. Education researchers find self-testing to be a very effective method of study.
Of course, receiving feedback would help as well, but this is difficult when reviewing alone. That's why many turn to personal tutors, and the use of a personal tutor is often very effective. Feedback is especially effective when it is elaborative; that is, it expands to draw connections to previously learned material, or links information to others points, and generally, shows where this information fits.
But again, part of the problem is finding the time for effective study: spacing out practice time, creating your own questions and answers, getting feedback, or even sitting down with a tutor. In these times of hi tech and the interconnectedness of the internet, if only there was a tool that could support good study practice. And of course there are tools. For instance, there are a number of websites that have ready-made digital flashcards for use, or you can create your own and test yourself. Just do a Google search for flashcards. There are also sites that provide practice questions and tests to activate the 'testing effect.' And then, there are our learning modules ( www.kctlearning.ca/shop ) .
Our learning modules emphasize the testing-effect and retrieval practice by focussing on practice tests with various styles of questions and, not only are you provided with the answers, you receive elaborative feedback to make those important connections. And since creating your own flashcards and writing questions is time consuming, our learning modules do that for you. Each learning module includes digital flashcards and many practice tests with hundreds of questions, all made for you. Since our learning modules are subscription-based it means you will receive updates and newly created practice tests throughout the school year (BTW there is no monthly subscription fee - just a one time purchase price and your subscription last the entire school year). Our learning modules are prepared with spaced practice in mind and practice tests build on previous knowledge. What's more our practice tests are designed to be completed in less than ten minutes; most require only about five minutes. Since you can access your practice tests on your personal device anywhere and any time you have an internet connection, you can utilize spaced practice even more effectively. Finally, our learning modules are based on the Alberta curriculum. This is mobile learning at its best and most effective for the busy Alberta high school student!
For more on the science behind our learning modules go to https://www.kctlearning.ca/science-based-learning or learn more through a sample practice test at https://www.flexiquiz.com/SC/N/Sample_Quiz_KCTLearning
Kornell, N., Bjork, R.A., and Garcia, M.A. (2011). Why tests appear to prevent forgetting: A distribution-based bifurcation model. Journal of Memory and Language, 65 (2) 85-97.