Studying too much is less effective for long-term learning.

Learning Method

I can't remember what I heard once in the classroom.

We learn and remember new things every day.
This is called “learning”.
School tests and entrance exams are designed to find out how much you have learned.
In order to get a good score on a test, you need to remember what you have learned.
What is learning and memory anyway?
Why can't I remember something after hearing it once in a classroom?
It's important to review in order to remember.
When you are reviewing, what is going on in your mind?
Even if you learn something, you will forget it after a while.
How can I remember to do this?
In terms of the theory of learning, review is the most important thing in order not to forget.
So, should I review the information as soon as I learn it?
In fact, if you review it right away, you will have studied too much, and as a result, it will no longer be effective.
What does this mean?
“There is such a thing as “too little study,” but is there such a thing as “too much study?
In fact, many of the study materials that you have are designed to make you “study too much”.
Be aware that if you solve all the exercises in order, from the beginning to the end, you may have “studied too much”.

What does it mean to “study too much?”

“The technical term for “studying too much” is “intensive learning.
The practice of continuing to study the same or a similar task immediately after a learning task has been fully understood is called “intensive learning.
Drills that involve repeating similar exercises over and over again are deliberately designed to make students concentrate on learning.
This is because it has been said for a long time that “concentrated learning” is the most effective way to remember what you have learned.
However, a psychological experiment conducted in 2005 showed that there is a limit to this “focused learning”.

Is focused learning effective to remember for as long as possible?

Here's an experiment.
Rohrer, D., Taylor, K., Pashler, H., Wixted, J.T., & Cepeda, N.J. (2005) The effect of overlearning on long-term retention.

Experimental Methods

After the participants in the intensive learning group had performed and understood a task, they continued to learn the same content.
The “more learning” part is the intensive learning.
The group that studied intensively completed four times as many practice problems as the group that did not study intensively.
The learning task is to memorize the names of foreign cities and countries, and to memorize the combinations of words and their meanings.
For example, I learned the combination of Pune (city name) – India (country name) and Tarara (city name) – Peru (country name).
This is not an easy task as you have to remember many combinations.
After the study, a test was given to both groups after an interval of one or three weeks to see how much they remembered.
The participants of the experiment were 130 university students.

experimental results

When the interval between study and test was one week, the effect of intensive study was clearly visible.
However, when tested three weeks later, there was no difference in scores between the group that had studied intensively and the group that had not studied intensively.
In other words, intensive learning is not effective for remembering for a long time.

After 3 weeks, the effect disappeared!

In this experiment, the group with intensive learning solved four times as many practice problems as the group without intensive learning.
The results of this effort were clearly visible in the test a week later.
My grades are clearly improving.
However, when tested three weeks later, to my surprise, the effects of the intensive study had disappeared completely.
From this result, it can be said that the group that studied intensively forgot more quickly.
When it is important to remember for a long time, as in studying for an exam, intensive learning does not seem to be effective.
Incidentally, this experiment involved memorization tasks such as memorizing the names of foreign cities.
So would you draw the same conclusion if you were solving a completely different kind of problem, say a math problem?
Experiments conducted by the same research group in 2006 showed that there is also a limit to focused learning when solving math problems.
Now, even if focused learning is not effective, can we spend the time not focused on learning doing nothing?
It's not.
One thing to note about the results of the experiment is that the test scores after three weeks were never good for either group.
This means that it is better to review in a different way than intensive study.

What you need to know to study efficiently

Reviewing immediately after learning is not an efficient way to learn if you want to remember for as long as possible for exams and other purposes.

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