BALTIMORE, USA – It’s a short test. Just one question.
There are two students — Same age. Same IQ. Even the same shoes!
Their task — Learn 100 new English words and remember them one week later.
Now, look at their methods and decide — Who will win?
Vocab Racer X
This means, Vocab Racer X looks at a list of the words and their definitions.
Vocab Racer V
Vocab Racer V also has a list of the words and their definitions. But when he learns a word he immediately covers one side of the page with his hand and tests himself.
AND THE WINNER IS…
Vocab Racer V !
In fact, it wasn’t even close.
HERE’S THE PROOF
This is called “The Testing Effect.” And in research experiments students remember 35%* to 100%** more words after one week.
And it takes less time — five minutes of testing is the same as 25 minutes of studying.
NOW HERE’S THE INTERESTING PART
Most people say that Racer X will win.
One reason, studying is the technique we all learned in school. Testing was only a measurement to see if you did enough studying.
It wasn’t actually a technique for learning. (But it should be.)
Another reason is, it feels more effective. When you read something twice, three times…it starts to become familiar. You get the feeling, “Yeah, I think I know this.”
But it’s like going to the gym and looking at pictures of Schwarzenegger in Muscle and Fitness magazine.
But testing is active. And your long-term memory needs that extra work.
HERE’S AN EASY WAY TO USE THE TESTING EFFECT TO REMEMBER NEW WORDS
When you read, choose the words you want to learn. Then, with a pen, block out the word except for the first letter; for example, if the phrasal verb “block out” is new for you, it will look like:
Then read it again. This will test your memory and you’ll remember the word longer.