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Remembering Facts: Help for College and University Students. Part 2

How Can TeachLearnRepeat Help College Students?

We've discussed how there are a number of techniques that undergraduate and post-graduate students have used successfully while studying. Some of them work better for certain students, while others have their own method preferences. However, there is still a need for two additional things to support the learning process. One is a place where a student can store all of the facts, concepts, terminology and constructs they've memorized in the past, and the second is a tool that allows them to assess, or measure, the level at which they remember.

TeachLearnRepeat means "Teach yourself, Learn effectively, Repeat often". Being able to reassess retention, or the ability to remember and recall knowledge, can be of great help while discovering which of the many learning techniques is working the best for your own particular situation. To do that, you need a place to store all of the questions and answers about the facts and concepts you've learned, and you need software effective at both review and assessment.

Why Store Information as Questions and Answers?

Essentially, we store information as questions and answers because knowledge in a question and answer format can be used for ongoing assessment. For example, if I store this question, "Who was the sixteenth President of the United States?" and I store the answer, "Abraham Lincoln," then I have enough for even a simple software program to ask that same question back to me at any point in the future - seven days from now, six months from now, or six years from now. The software can collect my answer and confirm I have indeed recalled the information correctly. If not, the software can be programmed to ask me repeatedly - until I finally get it right.

Conversely, if I store the same question and answer pair as a statement of fact, such as, "Abraham Lincoln was the sixteenth President of the United States," as I might do if I was taking notes in class, I have lost the ability to assess. I can certainly review, but I cannot possibly assess.

At a more basic level, questions direct the mind. They divide experience and lead our attention. Questions and answers are more powerful than stated facts. In fact, we define "engaged learning" as asking questions of ourselves while we are reading, and trying to connect what we are doing to past learning.

Here's something you can try. Use your favorite internet search engine, and scan for articles entitled "How To Study For Exams", or "How To Pass The Certification Exam." No matter what your field of study is, or what type of certification you are after, the articles contain many of the same tips. Here are just a few examples:

"Get Answers To Your Questions." This tip neatly supports the idea that you're already full of questions needing to be answered. Once your questions are answered, wouldn't it be great to store them so that you have permanent access to them?

"Relax." You'll see this a lot. Articles written about studying or learning always seem to include "relax" as a tip. You know what would really help you to relax? The quiet self-confidence that you get when you don't just think you know the study material, but when you are sure you know the study material. The way to be sure is to assess yourself. Repeatedly. When you are repeatedly getting 90-95% on your self-assessments, then you will know you are ready. Measuring your level of knowledge will give you all the confidence you need to relax come test time.

Back to Remembering Facts: Help for College and University Students, Part 1

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