Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Spacing Your A&P Studying

Learning scientists are busy discovering and confirming all kinds of tricks to make learning a lot more efficient than the strategies that many students believe work well for them. One of these proven techniques that works great for learning anatomy and physiology is called spacing

What is spacing and how does it work in real life when studying A&P? It's pretty simple...

  1. Don't cram. Cramming may help in the short term, but it's not going to give you the practice you need to truly learn what you need to learn. Giving a few hours to studying A&P spread over a week or two is much more effective than using those same few hours to cram right before the test.

  2. Review content after reading, after class, after lab, after assignments. But don't review right away--this is where the "spacing" comes in. Wait a little while.

  3. Don't cram. Really. NOT good for deep or long term learning. Don't tell yourself "it's what works for me." Nope—cramming doesn't work very well for anybody with a human brain.

  4. After reviewing new material, go back and review content from previous topics. That's putting "space" between what you learned a while ago and when you are reviewing now. By making a habit of reviewing previous concepts, you continue the process of spaced study as long as you are in the course.

  5. You will forget. By waiting a while after your initial learning before you study it, you'll forget some of it. By reviewing previous topics, you'll find that you've forgotten some of that content, too. But that's okay! Learning scientists have learned that when we forget, then push ourselves to review the forgotten material and pull it from our previous memory, it'll become easier and easier to remember it. It's all still in there. The spacing study helps us get better and finding it when we need it.

To summarize, simply spread out your studying--and keep going back over previous material.

Here's a short video that summarizes the spaced practice technique (and why it works).

Click here for links to posters and other resources you can print out to help remind you how spaced practice works--until you get the hang of it and it becomes a habit. While you are there, be sure to sign up for the free newsletter from The Learning Scientists.

Need some tips on time management to make sure your spacing is planned out well?

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