study tip - study in both directions

Pro study tip for learning new information: Study in both directions

Katie Azevedo good habits, memory, study skills, vocabulary

study tip - study in both directions

By Katie Azevedo, M.Ed.

The study tip I’m going to explain here might seem obvious at first, but it’s one that I always see my own students forgetting to do. Read through to the end, and if you think it’s something you already do, I challenge you to ask yourself, But do I reeaally do this?

Here is the study tip for learning new information, plain and simple:

When we are trying to learn new material, it is best to study it in both directions.

The most obvious application of this technique is when we are studying vocabulary words. If you’re learning 20 new words, for example, make sure you test yourself by recalling the definitions when given the words, and then also by recalling the words when given the definitions.

In case that explanation makes no sense, I’ll draw you a beautiful picture of this study tip:

study tip for learning new information
Make sure you test yourself in BOTH directions, forcing your brain to recall both sides of the information. Doing so will help you learn and remember what you’re learning. And remember: this study tip works for more than just vocabulary.

This study tip for learning new information could also work for when you’re studying something other than vocabulary words, like chemistry, for example. Let’s say you are studying cell respiration, and you need to be able to draw out and label the different processes involved: you would want to be sure that you can recite the information forwards and backwards. In other words, could you name the process if you saw an image of it? And also, if given the name of the process, could you draw and label an image of it?

If you don’t know the material forwards and backwards, then you only half know it. This might be a reality check.

When we study material from both directions, we are strengthening the connections in our brain that enable us to first store the information, and then to recall the information later – like on the actual test!

Looking for more study tips for learning new information, like learning vocab? Here is a link to my best study resources.

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