Revision charts, highlighter pens and sticky notes around the room are some of the methods people use to ensure information stays in their mind.
But now psychologists in the US warn many favourite revision techniques will not lead to exam success.
Universities, schools and colleges offer students a variety of ways to help them remember the content of their courses and get good grades.
These include re-reading notes, summarising them and highlighting the important points.
But Prof Dunlosky’s research – published in Psychological Science in the Public Interest, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science – found that picking out individual phrases in florescent yellow, green or pink can hinder revision.
“When students are using a highlighter they often focus on one concept at a time and are less likely to integrate the information they’re reading into a larger whole,” he says.
“That could undermine their comprehension of that material.”
But he’s not suggesting that highlighters should be abandoned as he recognises they are “safety blankets” for many students.
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