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Use of learning strategies in preparation for the exam

Use of learning strategies in preparation for the exam

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In the last years the teachers of the course “Introduction to psychology” recognized that first-year students are often overwhelmed and overstrained by the high amount of study material which has to be learned for the final exams. At the beginning of their study, students often think that they know how to handle the material and how to learn for the exams but after half a year, and probably some failed exams, they often recognize that they cannot deal with the situation at all. Then they start to ask the teachers what they can do to improve their learning. To prepare the students and prevent excessive demand already from the beginning, the teachers of the course “Introduction to psychology” decided to give practical lessons to the students in which learning strategies are taught.
This research was planned to make an inventory of the use of strategies after eight weeks of lecture period and after the following two weeks of intensive preparation for the exam. It was tried to find out which effect the learning strategies and the participation during the practical lessons have on the results of the final exams. 
 
The literature shows that there are several learning strategies which have a positive influence on learning. For example testing seems to be a very effective strategy to support and increase the success of learning, like spaced learning. Orientated reading and speed reading seems to be oppositional but they are both useful for a certain reason. There is also evidence for mind mapping to improve the creativity and the memory performance. But the learning strategies which are regularly mentioned by students as favorite strategies, namely highlighting and summarizing, cannot proven to be effective.
 
The strategies were taught to the students during the practical lessons of the course “Introduction to psychology”. They got practical assignments to practice the strategies and every week an in-between test to test their knowledge about a chapter. During the last lesson, in week eight, they got a questionnaire to investigate the most effective strategy, how they had planned to participate and how they really participated in class and how they plan to prepare for the exam.
Directly after the exam they got a second questionnaire to find out how they really prepared for the exam and why they decided to use a certain strategy.
 
The results indicate that there is a correlation between the participation during the lessons and the final marks and between the results of the interim assessments. The learning strategies which were used most frequently were orientated reading, highlighting/taking notes and the interim assessments. The main reasons to choose a certain strategy for preparation were that these strategies seemed to be effective and efficient to the students. However, no evidence was found for an influence of a certain strategy on the final marks.
For more detailed and maybe for more meaningful results further research is recommended. Furthermore it is advised to teach learning strategies in the context of the course “Study career accompaniment” and not in the context of the course “Introduction to psychology” because students stated that they would prefer practicing the material of the course instead of learning strategies.

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OrganisatieSaxion
OpleidingToegepaste Psychologie
Datum2015-12-01
TypeBachelor
TaalEngels

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