Chapter 6 of Outsmart Your Brain

Reading the sixth chapter of Daniel Willingham’s Outsmart Your Brain was incredibly intriguing. His points made about memory offered me a new perspective on the familiar concept. Although the phrase “probing memory improves memory” appears simple at first glance, upon rereading, it provided new insight regarding the memorization techniques I currently use. Fallen victim to revising for exams by rereading notes, Willingham’s compelling arguments convinced me to turn towards a new technique. Retrieval practice is the ideal study method proposed by Willingham. As this is my first exposure to retrieval practice, the promise of a new method of studying, being more effective and practical in the long run, interested me. Willingham recommends making a comprehensive study guide, increasing the efficacy of studying. The importance of ensuring that the whole syllabus is contained within the pages of the study guide is also emphasized. Along with this, Willingham raises a fascinating point about the properties of memory, that it is easier to remember meaningful content than meaningless content. While this is a familiar concept to me, the explained study strategy utilizing this property is especially useful. Interestingly, Willingham ignores the idea of an individual’s studying style, stating that no evidence has proven that theory. He suggests that people should neglect their specific learning style, utilizing the strategy earlier mentioned.

In short, I was able to gain a lot of knowledge about the most effective ways of studying. Additionally, I now know the methods to fully capitalize on the memory function of the brain. I’m confident that what I learnt from reading would prove useful in revising for both the mocks and the final exams.

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