As a special education teacher, many of my students had a really difficult time remembering what they had learned. Students with learning disabilities often need more practice and more repetition when the information involves an area in which they struggle (e.g. reading for a student with dyslexia, or math for a student with dyscalculia). Unfortunately, I would oftentimes have students tell me they had studied for a test and still ended up feeling bad about the grade they received. Sometimes this happened because they hadn’t spent enough time studying. But oftentimes, I found that students just didn’t know how to study effectively. This led to students giving up and thinking that it didn’t matter what they did, they wouldn’t be able to do well on the test. This can also lead to increased test-taking anxiety, which of course, makes it even harder for students to show what they know on tests.
Fortunately, there is a lot of research on memory. But students don’t always get taught this information. Some students learn some of these memory tricks and test-taking tips along the way. Other students, arguably most students, need to be explicitly taught how to study effectively so that they don’t get defeated and give up on the process.
Teachers can (and should) also infuse some of these memory tricks into their lessons. Make sure to tell students that you’re teaching them a specific strategy to help them remember something – and that they can also use the strategy to memorize information for other classes.
A few months ago, I had the opportunity to create and lead a webinar on this topic with Understood. I am incredibly lucky to work with this organization that empowers me to pursue my passions and allows me to try new things. (This is my first webinar! Talk about anxiety!)
The webinar is based off of supplemental lessons I taught as a high school teacher. I also injected a little neuroscience and education research from my master’s program. And of course, it was polished by the amazing editorial team at Understood.
What study strategies and test-taking strategies do you use? Educators, how do you teach your students strategies they can use? Share your ideas in the comments!