Q:

How do I know the best study methods for my son? He'll be going to high school next year. -- Puzzled

A:

Great question. Many students definitely do not know how they should study. The older they get, obviously the more important this skill becomes. There are many different ways to study; however, students need to find the most effective way for them.

Have your child answer the following questions to get a good idea of what works best for him:

1. When you study hard for tests and receive good grades, do you study____?

  • -Alone?
  • -With someone else?
  • -With a whole group?

2. When you learn new material easily, do you__________?

  • -Read the material?
  • -Write the material?
  • -Hear the material?

3. When you have an assignment for a class, do you ______?

  • -Prefer for someone to tell you exactly what to do?
  • -Prefer some direction from another person?
  • -Prefer to do the assignment without any direction?

Now, here's a surprise about effective study techniques that your son should follow. Recent research by cognitive scientists seems to show that much of the advice given to students in the past may not be the most effective way to study. (1) Rather than studying in the same spot, changing locations seems to work better. (2) Varying the type of material studied also seems to be a better approach than concentrating on one skill at a time. (3) Spacing out studying of the same material is also more effective than a cram session.