By changing simple study habits, can students in introductory psychology perform better?
The answer so far seems to be yes! But first, is there a need for improved study techniques? The numbers seem to say so. A few semesters back at Temple, we gave an exam to the introductory psych class. Each question had four possible responses. Despite their best efforts four students scored less than 24%. Chance says by guessing alone these students should have scored at least 25%!
To try and solve this problem, I developed a system of studying based on creating "schemas" for difficult-to-learn terms. This method was in complete contrast to the typical method of studying via rote memorization or "cramming".
To test this theory, I developed a standardized lecture introducing the study method. I then presented the lecture in a randomized, highly-controlled experiment. The results from this pilot study showed that the groups who learned about (and presumably used) my study method did almost 10% better than their peers!
The initial stages of this study were funded by an internal grant from Temple University's Office of the Vice Provost. Under the direction of Dr. Bob Weisberg, I developed a tutoring program around the concept which is still active at Temple!