The Art and Science of Learning Craft  


Retrieval reading

To ascertain the usefulness of re-reading  I experimented by taking a chapter of from a text book and made up 5 model multiple choice question sets of 100 questions each.

In the first week I read the material for three times, in second week 5 times, and in the third 8 times and took a test with a set every week.

Surprisingly the scores were more or less the same.

Intrigued, in the fourth week I read the chapter 12 times and took the same test that I took at the end of the third week. Score dint improve much and to my surprise, I failed to answer the same questions that I was unable to answer at the end of the third week.

Re-reading a subject, it appears does not help at all.

On analyzing the aspect I found that, whenever we read some thing, we don’t memorize every thing we read, because of certain inherent biases for example when we read chemistry, many a times we read to understand the concept and post pone memorizing difficult symbols and formulae. Like wise while reading law we skip memorizing section numbers. In general any thing that is difficult to memorize we just skip it. As every time we read, we are subjected to same biases reading a material does not help.

In many schools and colleges weekly practice exams are conducted. Many a times, just the marks are announced after two are three days.  Some times answer papers are given back. We just note the marks and proceed to prepare for the next exam.

I never did, nor found a student, who analyzed the answer sheet, noted down the questions that ware not answered/ answered wrong, and relearned them.

Unless this is done re-reading is of no use.

As a rule we always face tests and exams and never use them.

Tests & Exams are not just the devises to assess student’s performance; they provide an invaluable feed back to students, as to what they failed to learn and need to learn.