A New York Times story "Test-Taking Cements Knowledge Better Than Studying, Researchers Say" (January 21, 2011) reports…
Graph: NY Times
"Taking a test is not just a passive mechanism for assessing how much people know, according to new research. It actually helps people learn, and it works better than a number of other studying techniques.
The research, published online Thursday in the journal Science, found that students who read a passage, then took a test asking them to recall what they had read, retained about 50 percent more of the information a week later than students who used two other methods.
One of those methods – repeatedly studying the material – is familiar to legions of students who cram before exams. The other – having students draw detailed diagrams documenting what they are learning – is prized by many teachers because it forces students to make connections among facts.
These other methods not only are popular, the researchers reported; they also seem to give students the illusion that they know material better than they do." More