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Learning and intuition

Learning and intuition

You can’t rely on intuition about how well your studying practices are working for you.

Intuitive judgments of learning are often inaccurate and tend to produce an inflated perception of progress.


2.78K reads

Space out your study sessions

It’s better to distribute the time you have available to study over a greater number of shorter sessions than it is to cram your studying into a single marathon session.

If you have 12 hours to dedicate to a topic, it’s better to study over six two-hour-long sessions than it is to study over a couple of six-hour-long sessions


640 reads

Alternate between studying similar topics

Alternating between different topics (referred to as ‘interleaving’) can be more effective, especially for topics that are similar in nature and might otherwise be easily conflated.

Research indicates that interleaving seems to bias your attention towards looking for differences between topics. In contrast, blocking seems to focus your attention on looking for similarities between topics.


518 reads

Focus on constructing your own understanding of a topic

Question what you read as you’re reading it. By responding to your own questions, you are forcing yourself to think about how to explain the subject matter in your own words and with reference to your previous knowledge and experience.


498 reads

Make retrieval practice an integral part of your studying

Testing is not just a way of measuring learning; it can also be a powerful mechanism of learning.

Contrary to how it might feel, both success and failure to retrieve information are helpful for your memory. Both outcomes serve to calibrate confidence in your perception of your knowledge.


414 reads

The read, recite, review (3R) approach

This involves reading a short passage of text, putting the source to one side and trying to recall the information in your own words, before checking your recall against the source for factual accuracy.

You repeat these steps until you are satisfied with your ability to capture the meaning (not words) of the source material in question.


491 reads



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