Learning By Taking Practice Tests Protect Memory Against Stress

Posted: Nov 25 2016, 12:29pm CST | by , in News | Latest Science News

 

Learning by Taking Practice Tests Protect Memory Against Stress
Learning by taking practice tests, a strategy known as retrieval practice, can protect memory against the negative effects of stress, report scientists from Tufts University in a new study published in Science on Nov. 25. Credit: Tufts University/Kevin Jiang
  • Practice Testing saves Memory Bank from against the negative effects of stress
 

It has been found by researchers that practice tests, a strategy known as retrieval practice, is a tool that saves the memory bank from extra load or stress of any kind.

Learning via practice testing, which is a method for retrieval operations, can save your memory from the negative effects of stress. Scientists at Tufts University just came up with this in a study that was published in the journal Science.

At least 120 students were involved in the study. They all learnt a series of words and pictures via retrieval practice. These students showed no impairment of memory after the test despite their stress levels being high. 

Those who employed conventional study practice did not fare so well. They reread the materials and thus tried to memorize them this way. Yet due to acute stress, their memories failed them.

This shows that the general rule is that people under stress have poor memories. It is all a matter of the proper learning tool that is employed in the end.

Practice tests are thus the name of the game in memory retrieval. It is thus not a matter of how long or how much a person studies. Quality beats quantity every time. 

What counts in the end is how someone studies. That is the gist of the matter. 30 words and 30 pics were presented to the participants. A computer program showed these textual and pictorial matter to the students for a brief span of a few seconds each.

The students were given a time span of 10 seconds to note down the words and pics by writing them down. One group than used retrieval practice. The other group used study practice.

After a span of a day, both groups were further divided. Half of the participants of each group were subjected to severely stressful conditions.

They had to perform on the basis of what they had learnt in front of judges. The remaining participants took the performance exams without any stressful stimuli to interfere with their learning practice. 

The stressed people remembered 11 items out of 30 words and pics thanks to retrieval practice. As for the non-stressed ones, they remembered 10 items through conventional study methods.

The study practice participants remembered fewer words overall. This proves that retrieval practice is the best strategy for evoking one’s memory. There is the issue of stress showing variable effects in various individuals though. That factor had not been tallied in the mix. 

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/20" rel="author">Sumayah Aamir</a>
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