Memory and Test Preparation Strategies
Repititous review of psychology information aids in registration to and recall from long-term memory. Reread the lecture notes within 24 to 48 hours of class, and weekly after that. Resurvey the reading assignments periodically (J. Ihlenfeld, CAL).
Elaboration is a memory strategy that involves creating a relationship between two or more items of information. Visual elaborations are effective and involve linking the information to visual images. Visual elaboration works well for remembering psychology lists or terms and definitions. The list items or the key words in the definitions are linked with visual images (J. Ihlenfeld, CAL). An example of elaboration is provided below.
Several test preparation strategies are relevant for most psychology courses: study groups, study guides, and practice questions.
Work with other students in the class to prepare for tests. Divide the readings among members of the study group and have each member provide summaries or outlines of the readings. Compare lecture notes to insure accuracy and completeness. Share memory strategies or ideas for organizing information. Have each member of the study group contribute completed organizational aids like flash cards, matrices, or hierarchies for different chapters or major topics. Take turns teaching the material to other members of the study group. Work together to compile a study guide for the test. Have each member make up practice questions, which the group can answer together or use to quiz each other (D. Applegate, CAL).
Study guides provide an organized summary of the information to be learned for an exam. They are used to guide or structure one's test preparation sessions. The information on a study guide may arranged in a number of formats: outline form, by subject or major topic, or by type of information (terms, people, concepts, etc.). The latter is useful when preparing for a variety of question types; terms and people tend to be asked in objective questions, while concepts are often covered in subjective questions. Examples of each of these formats are provided here (K. McCormick-Powell, CAL).
Working individually or with a study group, make up and answer practice questions in order to prepare for an exam. First find out what types of questions (essay, fill-in, identification, true-false, etc.) will be asked on the test. Then use the notes, book, and study guides to write these types of questions. If the lecture notes were recorded using the Cornell method, use the recall column to write questions. In the book, try turning headings, illustrations, and bold words into questions, or look for review questions at the end of each chapter. After answering the sample questions, focus on ways of remembering the information. For essays, organize the answer in some rememberable format like an outline, a matrix, or a web. Examples of practice questions are provided below (D. Applegate, K. McCormick-Powell, CAL).
Sample Multiple Choice Questions
The gap between neurons is the:
The theory of classical conditioning was developed by:
The structuralist school of psychology:
a. focused on observable events and behaviors
Sample True-False Questions
The humanistic school of psychology seeks to explain uniquely human experiences. [true]
Wundt and Titchener are associated with the functionalist school of psychology. [false]
Piaget's first stage of cognitive development is called the formative phase. [false]
Neurons are covered with myelin. [true]
The frontal lobe of the human brain controls speech. [false]
In an experiment, independent variables are manipulated by the researcher. [true]
Sample Fill-In Questions
According to the _____ school of psychology, behavior is controlled by unconscious urges. [psychoanalytical]
_____ developed the theory of operant conditioning. [Skinner]
Children are able to form simple sentences by Piaget's _____ phase of development. [preoperational]
Visual input is processed by the _____ lobe of the brain. [occipital]
_____ carry electrical impulses across neural synapses. [neurotransmitters]
Sample Essay Questions
What is the difference between an experiment and a correlation?
Develop an experiment to test the hypothesis that the amount of sleep affects exam scores.
Compare and contrast the behavioral theories of Pavlov and Skinner.
Discuss the contributions of Weber to psychology, including Weber's law.
Identify the lobes of the human brain. What is the function(s) of each lobe?
Compare and contrast the seven schools of thought in psychology.
Discuss Piaget's theory of cognitive development, including the phases of development.