Testing is better than studying!
What?? You don't believe we said that. Do you? Yes, testing helps with retrieving of information. Think of filing away your important documents in your filing cabinet. How quickly can you retrieve the document you filed today, yesterday, or a few weeks ago? If you can retrieve the information quickly, you can answer questions on the SAT, ACT or any other test—or just be more productive in life. Thus, testing—in non stressful situations—is the best way to learn, because you practice retrieval of stored information.
Students who take Cornell style notes do not realized the importance of consolidation: it helps them to understand and practice how the brain works best. There's no need to review your book again—you can just review your 'consolidated notes'!
Why are Cornell style of notes important?
It helps you practice how to learn—putting information in chunks, helping your working memory, which has limited storage capacity. Working memory is like a computer's RAM. It is fast but has low storage capacity. Scientists believe you can put at most 'seven' units of information, though only three or four units is best. Think of it like having three or four storage shelfs.
Consolidation helps you deal with your working memory.
Clump similar things into one spot or shelf. Write things down and classify them. Classification helps with understanding and memorize things. Two processes: encoding and retrieval, which many people don't focus on.
Retrieval requires practice.
It is similar to filing things in your cabinet, but then not remembering where it is. What you never did was practice retrieval. Quizzing is therefore absolutely essential, and students need to be experts at practicing retrieval: at quizzing. Teaching is also a retrieval practice.
- Interleaving, mixing problem types, especially if there are several concepts to pull together. Retrieving same things over and over again may become mundane.
- Sleep is important. Neurons shrink during sleep, allowing fluids to wash out the toxins collected during the day.
- Gestures and moving your body when you learn is important. Adding gesture to the mix as a tool can be important.
- Pomodoro technique, an interval technique for learning, is useful; especially for ADD ADHD people.