How can you make effective use of time when completing revision?
Well, for a start, don’t listen to music! The research on cognition and memory suggests that certain types of music may be helpful, however, when it comes to examination conditions in which pupils are required to recall and retrieval information (both required for examination purpose) from their long term memory, if pupils learn in one way and are tested in another, performance will be limited.
When revising, you must mimic examination settings …
Pupils may often listen to music whilst revising at home or insist that their teachers ‘play the radio’. To allow pupils to wear headphones to ‘concentrate’ and revise in class will certainly not be mimicking the same conditions as the examination room. E.g. a table and chair; rows upon rows of other pupils with examination invigilators walking up and down between desks in a hot and sticky hall in the summer.
What does this suggest?
- The pupil will be working in an unfamiliar environment and the brain will be unable to recall the information from long-term memory.
- If pupils choose to learn information using headphones, they are positioning themselves to ‘recall’ in a more difficult position in the exam when conditions stipulate that candidates must complete the test without headphones.
It’s quite simple. Your working memory is limited, and any background noise is ‘cognitive overload’ and will make learning much harder. Follow the research and this advice, turn the music off and achieve better examination outcomes!