I'm sure there a lot of post secondary or senior high school students that would like to do well. But also with the least effort. I'll be putting together evidence from experiments I've learnt from my human memory course and condense them and get a big picture from them. First I'd like to explore the primacy and recency effect Generally participants will study a list of items or nonsense syllables then recall. The first part of the list and last part will generally have better recall than the items in the middle. I've noticed that a lot of self-help â€œguruâ€ will use this to justify small blocks of studying period however I'd like to point out that the primacy effect is due to information having more rehersal l,which leads to better recall , while the recency effect is due to information still in your short term memory , since the recall is done right after studying the material. A study done by Glanzer & Cunits added retention intervals ( delay period) between the study period and recall and with greater delay the recency effect effectively disappears . In conclusion, don't rely on the recency effect. Study time Fairly obvious , a study done by same people showed that there is improved recall. Assuming the study time is directly related to rehearsal. Note that recency effect is unaffected. I'd like to dive into the the issue of forgetting . The 2 competing theories are decay , which forgetting occurs from the passage of time. Interference theory â€“ there is no forgetting , but its just an inability to retrieve information due to competing information. An experiment done by Keppel and underwood made participants undergo the brown Peterson task , which they are presented triplet letters which they are to memorize but at the same time they count backwards such asâ€ 99,96,93,90â€¦.â€ The purpose of this is to prevent rehearsal. This is done in multiple trials.Decay should predict a decline while interference will predict a decline in performance across trial Note how trial 2 and 3 are a lot worse than trial one , which is consistent with interference theory . Also note how flat trial 1 is , which shows that delay does not affect recall. This brings proactive interference into mind where old information makes it more difficult to recall the newer information learnt. There is a phenomena known as release from PI which is demonstrated by Wickens The task is a brown Peterson task and different groups will undergo 3 trial learning triplets from the same category then on the 4<sup>th</sup> trial the triplets are done from different categories . As you can see there is a spike in performance in all groups besides fruit , but its more notable in profession , since it's the most different semantically from fruits. So what you should get out of this is to alternate between different topics of study. This was replicated in newsstories aswell Now I'd like to dive into more juicy and useful information Now that t we've explored how we forget we should explore how to improve our recall. Memory is divided in 3 processes , encoding, storage and recall. Poor encoding will always lead to poor recall. Poor cues will also lead to poor recall. I've mentioned the term rehearsal previously, which is a strategy to encode information into LTM. There two types of rehearsal, Maintenance , which keeps info alive in working memory, which is just rote recycling(repeating) which has little transfer to LTM Elaboration : which is thinking about the concepts , which is a good way to promote info into LTM. To prove that rote memorization is terrible A study done by Craik and Watkins Did a study on maintence rehrsal. They are given a list of words with target letters (G). and recuired to recall last target word at end of list. Followed by a final recall of all the words. So the word list can be Game,man,girl,horse,oil, Goat , Gun , ball,ruler, bottle, basket, grain, brush tail, So game should be repeated 5 times, Goat,once, Gun 5 times. Results show that recall is unaffected # of maintenance rehearsals. In conclusion, don't rote memorize. Now we can get into elaboration. A study done by Bradshaw & Anderson made 3 groups encode facts Target only, Target + 2 irrelvant facts, Target + 2 relevant facts . With either no delay between recall or 1 week. This shows that learning relevant facts are the most stable , so it is beneficial to learn about some extra facts besides only the main idea , since the relevant information will increase the number of retrieval paths and provide more cues for retrieval. Spacing effect Done by Madigan(1969) Words studied twice at 6 different lags Recall increase with lag. So it's good to spread your study periods . Reasons why this spacing effect occurs is that if you mass study it , you may overestimate your learning , leading to less rehearsal. Also there is an encoding variability. Recall depends on the similarity of study context and test context. If there is greater lag your state of mind will be more different from the 1<sup>st</sup> study phase and 2<sup>nd</sup> study phase , giving you a larger number of cues to pull the information from. I will explain this context effect more in detail. Organization of information Study done by Bowder et al 1969 had multiple study-test blocks and two groups . Organized groups, where people are given the words organized in a heiarchy and Random â€“ where they just give them the words in random order. Organized groups do much better than random and recall ^ over blocks , due to people organizing the information themselves. Organization makes encoding more since you don't need to make your own elaborations and makes retrieval more efficient since the labels can be used as retrieval cues. Generation effect â€“ information generated is better remembered than information you only hear or read Slamecka & Graf(1978) had two conditions A generate conditions where they make tell subjects to provide antonyms to the word presented. So participants will see Hot â€“C___. A read condition where they give them the antonym Hot-Cold. Results were that the group that generated the words had better recall. An ecplanation is due to the generation condition requiring deeper processing. Results from another study and you can see how deeper processing leads to better recall from providing synonym group (deep) and shallow (rhyme) . Context and memory The ideas is that if the context you're in during recall is more similar to when you studied/encoded then your recall will improve. A study done by Godden and Baddley had participants study 40 words on land or on water. They made half of each group recall on the other condition. So study on land , then test underwater or study underwater and test on land. So for recall LL>> LU and UU> UL This can be replicated by mood induced by music, such as happy music and sad music. This also applies to your state as in if you're intoxicated . This is a study done with alcohol, recall is most when studying intoxicated and recall is sober but there is less error if recall occurs when intoxicated. Study done on weed. Of course studying sober and recall sober is always the best, since you can elaborate more effectively. Testing effect â€“ taking test enhances retention Experiment by Roediger & KArpicke (2006) Experiment 1 Participants learnt 2 prose passage Learning condition(within subject) restudy ( two 7 minute study) vs test (7 minute study followed by 7 minutes of testing) Retention interval between subject is 5 min,2days, or week. Experiment 2 is similar buy there are 4 blocks and only 2 delay conditions. exp1 exp2 Note that recall is worse for test condition if recall is only 5 minutes but its significantly better if there is a larger delay time. So what to take from this is that instead of only â€œstudyingâ€ as in reading , you should consider testing yourself by making your own questions based on your own notes and try answer them in your head. This is a method that's' extremely valuable in improving marks. Note that the testing effect only works if you space them As shown by this graph the bottom line with triangles show how there is no improvement in recall if the testing is not spaced. Reason testing effect works so well is that the processes study phase testing are similar to test-phase testing while study-phase study is not. Hopefully you've gained some knowledge on how to design your own study strategy. Personally I rely most heavily on the testing effect by forming questions based on my notes then try answer them all perfectly and check off all the ones I got right and go through them again. This is also useful for memorizing definitions. Once I can go through all my questions I'll try go through the list of questions again, which is a very valuable tool as feedback for what you know and not know. If you're going to study high ( which I don't recommend) then take the test high.