Spotlight // Learning

For my first spotlight blog, I chose to review three sources focusing on study tips for college students, parents, and high school students.

The first source provided study tips for college students and consisted of a visual that provided study tips and statistics derived from various scientific studies that back up the advice given. For example, t included the percentages of students who played games, checked emails, surfed the net, and used instant messaging while using their laptops in class to suggest that laptops could be a source of distraction when in the classroom. The source emphasized setting aside a designated study time ranging from 30 to 50 minutes with a 10 minute break and studying within 24 hours of receiving the information due to higher retention rates at that time period. This related to the textbook’s tip on chunking, organizing information into chunks for better memory. The source also included techniques that we have discussed in class, such as rewriting notes, using flashcards, and making up examples. The source mentioned tips relating the negative of effects of listening to music while studying, cramming, and lack of sleep, all of which were discussed in the textbook. I would consider all of the tips in this source as good tips since they are reliable due to evidence from scientific research . Despite the biases the article seems to give off, it encourages its readers to discover what study techniques work best for them.

The next source from U.S. News targets parents, specifically those of middle and high school students. Some of the tips it provides are similar to the previous source, such as to develop a study plan and to designate a study area. Although I thought the advice was good, the source did not provide scientific studies to support the advices, making it less believable to readers. Some of the advice, such as “get organized”, were vague and superficial. Many of us know organization is important when it come to effective studying. A way to improve this advice is to provide multiple strategies for organization, such as maintaining a sleep schedule, setting daily goals, and motivating yourself with rewards.

The source targeting high school students was titles “10 Study Methods for College-Bound Teens”. It included tips that were mentioned in the previous two sources, but also different ones, such as working on soft skills, tracking habits, and maintaining good health. While the most of the advice was good, this source was similar to the source for parents and did not include studies or further details to support the advice. For example, the advice that suggests for using peers to study, should provide ways to set up and organize a study group.

Overall, the sources provided useful study tips, but the last two could have used more evidence to support the methods.


Boynton, Briana. “10 Study Methods for College-Bound Teens.” U.S. News. U.S. News, 13 Dec. 2016. Web.

Comer, Ronald J., Michael Clifford Boyes, Elizabeth Gould, and Nancy A. Ogden. Psychology around Us. Toronto: John Wiley & Sons Canada, 2015. Print.

Media, Column Five. “Rasmussen College.” Rasmussen College – Regionally Accredited College Online and on Campus. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Apr. 2017.

“10 Good Study Habits to Help Your Child Succeed in the New School Year.” Sylvan Learning Blog. N.p., 26 July 2016. Web. 06 Apr. 2017.

Memory in the “Spotlight”

The ability to quickly learn, memorize and recall new material for classes has many improvement methods. Some are reasonable while others don’t pan out due to their flawed components. Unfortunately, not too many of us have photographic memories so how do we maximize our individual ability to learn and remember what we learned? Below are a few tips I found and tweaked a little bit:

Study tips for high school students-

“High School Study Tips: Three Steps to a better grade” outlined and described three tips to improving memorization of information learned in high school classes. The first step, motivation, focuses on using what motivates a high school student to learn, as a tool to increase your memory. Next, according to this article, being organized leads to better memory. Lastly, study habits that focus on being proactive will increase a high school student’s ability to recall learned information as well. The first step includes rewarding oneself as a part of motivated memory. This would work because reward is an example of positive reinforcement. Hyopthetically, if a high school student rewards oneself for doing well on a test, it could motivate them to continue to improve their learining behavior because of the chance at more rewards. Having an organized workplace could lead to improved learning and memory. In context, encoding information pertaining to one subject at a time could increase the retention of that information through the chunking process, or the grouping of similar information together, of transferring working memory to long-term memory. The third step involves dispersed learning as a method to better grades for high school students. Reviewing learned material at different points over a period of time would increase the understanding of that material and result in more of the material being stored in long-term memory. This information stored in long-term memory can be recalled on an exam thus leading to better grades.


Psychology Around Us, 2nd Edition (Richard Comer, Elizabeth Gould)

Study tips for college students-

An article published by Rasmussen College advised college students to improve learning and memory by studying information over-time (i.e. no cramming or all-nighters before a test), using mnemonic devices and taking notes on paper rather than on a computer. Reviewing learned information over-time could increase rentention of and subsequently recall of materila later on. This would work because dispersed learning exposes information to the brain more frequently than pulling an all-night right before a test. Using menomic devices as a way of memorizing information increases the recall of that information later on through associative learning. The brain will relate the acronym, song or any other mnemonic device to the information that its representing which helps with recalling the information later on. Another tip given in the article was writing down notes during lecture instead of typing them on a laptop or personal tablet. This was advised because a science direct study showed that, on average, students used their laptops for stuff other than lecture notes for 17 minutes of a 75 minute class. When writing down notes and eliminating the distractions offered by using a computer, one’s attention is focused mainly on the information that try and be stored in long-term memory and not on information not pertaining to the class. This could increase the retention and recall of the information needed for a particular class.


Psychology Around Us, 2nd Edition (Richard Comer, Elizabeth Gould)

Tips for parents to improve their students’ studying-

The third article I looked at advised parents to use positive and negative reinforcement as a means of improving study habits for their students. The postive reinforcemnt aspect focused on parents rewarding their teens when they performed well on tests and grade reports. This could encourage the students to study more and thus increase their memory of information. This tip, however, does not gurantee improved results because it does not focus on the actual aspect of studying new material. The article suggested making study time a routine which would increase learning and memory by reinforcing the learned material at set intervals of time. Lastly, the article suggested for parents to have consequences for their teens if they perform poorly on tests or grade reports. Again, this is flawed because the students could experience a decrease in memory and recall by worrying about what is going to happen to them if they don’t do well in school.


Psychology Around Us, 2nd Edition (Richard Comer, Elizabeth Gould)

Overall, the study tips of the articles would work in improving memory and recall because they focused on contiually reviewing information which would increase retention.

Studying about Studying- Spotlight Post 1

There are three websites listed below that give advice on studying skills. The first, which I will refer to as Method A, is geared toward college students. The second, which I will call Method B, is directed toward middle school students. The last website, which I will mention as Method C, is meant for parents.

Method A: College Students

  1. Ask for help
  2. Block Off Time to Study Outside of Class
  3. Use your Peers
  4. Get organized
  5. Go to sleep
  6. Eliminate Distractions
  7. Maintain Health
  8. Track Your Habits
  9. Stop Procrastination
  10. Work on Your Soft Skill

For the college student advice, points 5 and 7 are health related as it is proven that mental health will come with the right amount of physical health. In the US National Library of Medicine’s article About Sleep’s Role in Memory, we learn that slow wave sleep (SWS) is critical in consolidating memories. In addition, sleeping is the best state for encoding memories as compared to being awake. Overall health is impacted by sleep as the amount of sleep you can affect your immune system which in turn affects your health. As told in the article Sleep and Immune Function, factors that affect your immunity peak during sleep in the night. Examples of this are numbers of T cells and proinflammatory cytokines. Points 2, 9, and 8 have to do awareness and the concept of time management. As discussed in the mini lecture on studying, studying and spreading that over a longer period of time can help create long term memories as well as help us recall better. Similarly, you should not leave things to be done at the last minute as this will put loads of pressure on the student as well as not having the benefit of creating long term memory of what you’ve learned.  Tracking habits sounds like it could help as knowing where you are putting your time is important, however, it doesn’t seem to be as important and helpful in studying better. Points 4 and 6 relate to having a less jumbled mind and being more focused. You need to be organized and have no distractions in order to focus. Being organized can lead to having one less distraction, as if you were focused on cleaning your desk, you would take away energy and time that could be used to study. Also, unless you are focused, information you have in your short term memory will not be stored in your long term memory. Points 1,3, and 10 relate more to utilizing others to benefit you. Asking for help whether that be from professors or in a study group fashion with friends can benefit the student, only if the student first understands the material for the most part and as seen in the mini lecture, practice testing another to get the student to practice test taking. These tips seem very broad and basic, but I believe that they are credible and useful for helping the student study more effectively.

Method B: Middle School

  1. Make academics the focus of your life
  2. If you are struggling ask for help
  3. Talk about assignments with friends
  4. Make your own study guide
  5. Make study cards
  6. Stay organized throughout the year
  7.  Dedicate a space for every class in your book bag
  8. Buy an agenda and use it
  9. Don’t wait until the last minute
  10. Select a consistent place to study

It is true that making academics the focus of your life can make studying a lot easier. Tip #2 of asking for help is mentioned in Method A as well. Tip #3 of studying in groups is also talked about in Method A. It makes sense, as discussing can lead to the possibility of giving meaning to the things studying. Discussion on topics can really increase understanding as well as show what parts of the exam one is lacking in. Tips #4 and 5 are shown in the studying mini  lecture. Writing notes in your own words and creating what seems to be almost a study guide of your own could help engrain the knowledge learned into long term  memory and increase the number of connections made. When trying to memorize definitions or key concepts, writing the word on the front and definition/ key characteristics on the back and then testing yourself to see if you remember, can really be effective for studying. Shuffling the cards and changing the sides that you start with are also good to do as well. Tip #9  of not procrastination is just like Method A. In tip 10, I think changing up the place to study can be more beneficial than going to the same place again and again as you could get bored. This can only help if you are studying in the place similar to where you will take the test. This concept is called state-dependent learning as learned in lecture. Tip #8 is a little more simple and obvious. Most people know by now to write down what assignments are due because we only have a certain capacity of holding information, and not writing what is due every day is prone to forgetting some of the assignments and dates mentioned in class. Tip #7 of assigning space for every subject in the backpack seems unnecessary as well. If that was the case for me, currently, I would always have a overfull backpack, one that I could not carry.

Method C: For Parents

  1. Planner
  2.  Know the expectations
  3. Designate a Study Area
  4. Develop a Study Plan
  5. Think Positively
  6. Create a study group
  7.  Practice active listening
  8. Review test taking strategies
  9. Read actively
  10. Look to the future



    Tip 1 of having a planner is mentioned in Method B. Tip 4 is like this, when you have a planner, you make study plans for the rest of the week. If you want to go way ahead in planning, tip 10 does the trick- looking to the future. Tip 3 of designating a study area is similar to Method B, and one that I disagree with. Tip 8 is interesting as it is in a way talked about in lecture, not the mini lecture. People are prone to get nervous, but as mentioned in the intelligence lecture, how nervous they get before a task, in this case a test, will predict their outcome and performance. So finding methods to destress and calm down before taking the test could really be helpful. I already agreed with tip 6 as shown in Method A. Tip 7 seems to be common sense. Active listening has to do with being focused, and as mentioned before, is essential in moving things to long term memory. Tip 9 I believe is the most helpful tip of this list. Using different and unique ways to think about concepts in class such as forming concept maps and diagrams, can really instill what you’ve learned into your long term memory as you give it meaning semantically. Tip 5 of thinking positively can relate to tip 8 of being calm. This is very elementary to me, but in my personal experience, telling yourself that you can do it can really do wonders. At the very least, I know when I tell myself that I cannot do something or that I am inadequate and not understanding of anything, my test performances seem to not be as good as compared to when I am confident and optimistic in my abilities and time spent on studying. Tip 2 of knowing expectations is obvious in my opinion. If you know what is expected of you and know how much time you need to spend for each class, you can better plan.




    If I had to choose, I would say that Method A was the best, followed by Method C, and then Method B.

    Method A:

    1.  Sleep and Memory:
    2.  Sleep and Immune System:


    Method B:

    Method C:


Spotlight Blog “Memory”

Study tips are basically review tips for how to study efficiently and effectively. These vary from person to person but overall the tips involve many different strategies that involve the same tactics with a little adjustment for each age category.

When discussing middle school students, discusses many ideas of physical discipline to help the student physically stay involved in studying with the help of parents. Some of the ideas discussed involve,

  • Helping your child get organized
  • Provide a place to study for your child
  • Communicate with your child’s teachers
  • Use of a planner

Most of this tips from the website involve personal help from the teacher and outside sources not involving the kids. Although this is a great situation for middle school students, this in fact does not so much involve the student but more the ones helping the students in this situation. The advice on using a planner and delegating a specific study space allow for the student to prioritize school work and make for a solid foundation of study tactics. Although these tips are good for middle school students, I feel as though not involving the student and not making the student the main subject of responsibility is a problem and might help the student in the situation, but will not help the situation in the long run after it is removed from the present.

In terms of high school study tips we see an advancement in terms and ways of studying on These tips focus on the mind of a young adult and specifically state that it is how “you” study, making this more personalized for the student. I agree on many of the topics at hand concerning things such as, determining your concentration span, maximizing recall, and improving your memory, which are all topics of discussing in the article. Determining your concentration span, picks on making sure your brain is actually focused and you are involved in what you’re learning otherwise this information will never making it into long term storage regardless of how hard we try. maximizing recall, deals with how we should space out our learning and not crunch everything into one big study session.This being seen as the space learning process, makes it easier for our minds to process information and encode the information into long term storage. Lastly the article reviews improving our memory, which involves working our mind like a jigsaw puzzles and putting together the information how only we can understand. This can be seen as another way of connecting our research or readings of study material to more relative things in our everyday life, such as anagrams or relating a word or phrase you already know to the new material. I see this source in particular very well rounded and credible due to my previous knowledge of what I have learned through personal experience and exposure in our current psych class.

As for study tips for adults and parents we get into the more helping your student or child succeed role. These study tips aren’t directly pushed towards the parents tidying habits but are coded for them helping their kids succeed. does a great job of offering some basic tips for the parents of these children to make sure they are getting the studying habits they need to be successful these in turn are contributed to,

  • Turn off the TV set.
  • Designate specific areas for homework and studying.
  • Regularity is a key factor in academic success.
  • Organize study and homework projects.

and many more. These basic ideas are very credible in relationship to our knowledge of studying and memorization based on the ideas that these are all prioritizing study and making routines. The goals in these tips are to turn your child’s focus towards the task at hand and make sure the homework and studying is the number one thing on their mind. Again these tips are directed toward what the parent can do to help with the homework situation whether that is organizing the environment or helping the student learn and practice study tips for the future. This guide is a great base for parents who have high school or middle school aged kids and I feel like is a great source based on the key factor that all of these have been proven in our recent readings. This site was credidited by other sources and has many resources that go beyond these basics as well.

For what I consider the most challenging situation to study for, college students, we turn to This website offers some great insight on some advanced tactics that work well in the college situations for studying.

  • Create Mnemonics
  • Make Flash Cards
  • Remember to Take Breaks
  • Get lots of sleep
  • Avoid Studying on Coffee, Ritalin and Adderall

All of these specific situations are more prescribed towards the college students frame of mind. Obviously a middle school student would not be thinking of addrerall or pulling all nighters frequently worrying about how much sleep they are getting. These tips I have found to be very useful and easily backed up by the information we have previously received as far as mnemonics being able to help your brain in the encoding process, making flash cards for the same reason, and getting sleep to allow your brain to process this information. As far as the drug use goes prescription or not prescription it is always best to stay away from these if you are able to like the article says. No one knows how they will react and it could affect your habits and overall performance. The most important of these tips for college students especially is the use of sleep. With many college students opting to substitute an hour of sleep for more studying time we see these results constantly fail so its good that this site reminds the students of this exposure. ne thing I do not agree with on this site is the advice to study during the week. Although many students do have lives on the weekend I believe that studying throughout the week as you wish is the best way of retaining information and not putting any effort in on the weekends could greatly affect you. Overall I found this article to credit many of the things we have discussed in class and has given me great insight on my own study tactics.



Spotlight Blog #1

This website article is an info graphic on study tips for college students. The post talks about taking effective notes, studying those notes, getting enough sleep and which study techniques are best for college students to use.  They first talk about notes and how 64.3% of college students use laptops to take notes.  And taking notes is an essential process for effective studying, however students who used laptops to take notes reported that they are distracted when taking notes which takes down the quality of  the notes they take because they are distracted by things like games, the internet, testing and email The website gives tips against being distracted in class, which is helpful for memory because good notes equal easy ways to study.  Next the website lays out ways to study: review your notes every day, set aside 30-50 minutes to study with a 10 minute break, read notes, rewrite notes, highlight notes, make flashcards and make up examples. All of these study tips are fantastic for helping students memorize. Reviewing your notes each day is a great way to study because you have a longer amount of time to study and commit the material to memory, and scheduling study time in chunks with breaks in between is very good.  However, it is mostly recommended that you study material for 20 or so minutes and take a small break. 30-50 minutes may be a rather steep amount of time to study at once, so shortening it may be more effective. Reading through and rewriting notes is another very effective way to study because writing things down multiple time helps commit it to memory and this will be especially helpful if a student has taken notes on a laptop. The next tip of making up examples is very help because it is based on the way of studying that is called elaboration which helps people associate concepts in their mind with real life stories and helps them remember.  The infographic also warns against cramming the night before an assessment and talks about the benefits of getting enough sleep.

This website has an article that talks about 10 studying tips for middle school students as given by teachers. The first tip is to select a consistent and calm place to study. The environment that one studies in can vary from person to person and each student needs to develop that perfect place to study: with music or without, a desk or a bed, the bedroom or the library. And once the perfect study place is found, it needs to be used pretty regularly. The next tip is to not cram when studying and to studying a little every night, which is a good tip because you have more time to commit things to memory. Avoid cramming and get a good nights sleep will help you perform better on you exams. The next tip is my personal favorite for studying well and staying organized is to buy a planner and write all your assignments in it so that you remember what is coming up and what you need to get done. Most students have too much on their minds to remember everything without writing it down. Another tip on the this site is to make flash cards or a study guide and practice with them each night leading up to the test so that you know what you will be tested on. This is helpful simply because it is an effective way to study but you can also divide it into what you know really well and what you need to practice more so that you are focusing on what you actually need to practice. This article also recommends forming study groups if that is something helps you and to ask for help from other students or teachers if you’re struggling.

The first article I looked at was study tips for parents and more specifically for parents of elementary school students. It laid out 10 tips that included: knowing the child’s teacher, setting up a homework area, regular study time, homework plan, minimizing distractions, letting kids do their own work, monitoring and motivating kids, setting an good example, praising them for good work and working with their teacher if there is an ongoing issue for the kid. For the most part, these tips are good. Some of these tips don’t fall under the sphere of helping a child’s memory though, some are simply there to promote parental involvement with a young child’s education. However, a child who is positively encouraged by his/her parents and by his/her teacher will tend to do better in school. (ADD A LINK) In terms of studying and memory, the tips about a study plan, minimizing distraction, and regular study times is very good and can help with memory. Having a set way and plan to study, even from a young age can benefit memory and how well kids study. Also, minimizing distraction is essential to the effectiveness of studying. When you sit down to study, it is not at all effective if you are constantly distracted by other people, the TV, or other electronics like the phone or iPod.

Spotlight 1- Memory

As college students, our lives revolve around learning and memory. I am always on the lookout for new study tips and the most effective ways to study for certain courses. Study tips are never in short supply either. They can be found all over the internet, blog pages, YouTube, Pinterest, etc. Just like most other things, not everything we read about study tips on the internet is true.

A few years ago, The Huffington Post published an article called “9 Awesome Study Tips For College Students”. Many good tips were included in the article such as the use of flashcards. Flashcards are a great tool since they allow you to practice retrieving information. They also make it very easy to interleave content. By shuffling the flashcards, the material can be studied out of order. This allows the student to practice recalling the material with fewer retrieval cues such as the word right before it or its location within the chapter. Another good tip was to take multiple tests. This is great since it allows the student to learn and practice in a method similar to the real exam. This is part of the context effect which explains that we can better remember things in an environment similar to where we learned the material. This then leads to another tip that was given. The article stated that it is best to “alternate study spaces”. This may not be the best idea because of the context effect. If possible, it is best to study in the place where the exam will be taken or in a space similar to the classroom.

A second article I read was targeted towards high school students. This article also contained useful advice. One of the tips was concentration. It talked about staying focused in class and paying close attention to what is being taught. I though tis was very interesting because this is a very true and helpful tip that is not usually discussed. Our sensory memory allows us to take in information about our surroundings. This information, however, only lasts about a second if it is not used. Therefore, attention will determine what comes out of our sensory memory and into our working memory. If the student is paying attention to his or her phone and only faintly listening to the teacher, then he or she will most likely not retain the material. Another slightly unusual tip was given which was making flashcards using colored index cards. I’m not sure exactly how much this would help. The colors may stimulate the brain but the studies regarding this would have to be looked at since no evidence was provided in the article.

The third article I read was targeted towards parents. Since it is best that the students do their own work without their parents doing it for them, most of the tips revolved around creating a good study environment for the student and helping them get organized. One of the tips was to help the child create a plan to split up large projects or multiple homework assignments. This is a good tip since distributed practice is a great method for effortful encoding. By studying material in smaller chunks the material can be properly organized. Studying a small amount daily will also strengthen the connections in the brain. Another tip was to set up a “homework-friendly area” where the child can complete their work without any distractions around them. This goes back to attention discussed in the previous article and how attention determines what makes it into our working memory.

Overall, all of the articles I read had a lot very good tips, many of which I saw in all three articles. I think it is important to check the credibility of a source when investigating study tips. Also, each person has different preferences and organizes things differently so study methods should be tested since a method that works for one person may not work for all. It is best to test what works best for you personally and as long as study habits are established and proper time management skills are exercised, the student will be very likely to succeed.


9 Awesome Study Tips For College Students. (2011, May 25). Retrieved April 2, 2017, from The Huffington Post:

Gabor, E. J. (2015, January). Top 10 Homework Tips. Retrieved April 2, 2017, from KidsHealth:

WISE Study Tips Top 10 Skills for High-School Students. (n.d.). Retrieved April 2, 2017, from Auburn University:


Spotlight Blog- Memory

          In Campus Explorer’s tips for studying by college students, they recommend:

1.    Taking good notes

2.    Staying organized

3.    Unplugging from devices

4.    Not cramming at the last moment

5.    Do not over-study

6.    Finding the best environment to study

7.    Take breaks every once and a while

Taking good notes helps to focus attention on something important, which can help move the information from working memory to long term memory though encoding. Staying organized may also help to pay attention and encode as well as keep track of due dates. This tip mostly helps to ensure someone is studying over a longer period of time, rather than cramming at the very end. Someone is more likely to remember something if they use distributed or spaced practice by rehearsing the information multiple times over a long period of time. Tip number four, not cramming, goes along with this point. Unplugging from devices helps to focus attention on material rather than something else, and since the amount of attention someone pays something determines if they can later recall it, this would help transfer information to long term memory. Tip number five, which advises against over-studying, is not consistent with the principles of memory since understanding and remembering more than you need to can actually help recall information. According to elaboration, the more someone can elaborate or expand on the meaning of information or make it personally relevant, the easier it is for the person to remember it. Finding the best environment to study is by personal preference since people need different amounts of stimulation to focus and give attention to the information. Taking breaks does help studying because it allows someone to fully devote themselves and focus on the information while studying rather than only half focusing since you are also watching TV or looking at social media.

          In WISE study tips, they recommend the following to high school students:

1.    Have time management

2.    Have good study habits

3.    Set reasonable goals

4.    Concentrate

5.    Take good notes

6.    Compete assignments

7.    Review notes daily

8.    Stay organized

9.    Motivate

10.  Concentrate

Having good time management, good study habits, and reviewing notes daily is similar to what was previously discussed about spreading studying out to use distributed practice to your advantage. Setting reasonable goals and concentration both cause increased attention on information which helps to transfer information to long term memory. Taking good notes and completing assignments helps to reinforce information to make successful recall more likely. Staying organized increases the amount of distributed practice. Motivation and concentration both help increase the amount of attention given to information while studying and can increase the amount of study attempts.

          The Child Development Institute recommends to parents the following:

1.    Turn off the TV, but allow music if it works for the child

2.    Set rules during study time

3.    Designate areas of the home for studying or homework

4.    Keep a regular schedule

5.    Set time for homework and for breaks

6.    Stay organized

7.    Teach that you have to study and do homework, not just do homework

8.    Develop note-taking skills

9.    Have a dictionary available

10.  Help the child to have confidence for tests

11.  Watch for signs of frustration during homework

12.  Help with homework if it is productive

13.  Handle report cards by having reasonable expectations

Turing off the TV helps focus the child on studying, and music is okay if it is needed for the child to be stimulated. Setting rules, designating areas of the home for studying, keeping a regular schedule, and staying organized all help to make studying a part of a daily schedule to increase distributed practice. Setting time for homework and breaks helps to focus attention while studying and provide a reward for successful studying. Teaching that studying is critical to success and not just completing assignments helps to increase the amount of rehearsal of information, which helps encode the information into long term memory. Development of note-taking skills helps to give attention to the important points which helps to ease memory. Having a dictionary available is a helpful study tip that helps children stay engaged even if they don’t completely understand a word and have to help themselves learn to continue the task. Watching for frustration, helping with homework, and handling report cards properly are all great things for parents to do to help their kids succeed in school. These things all contribute to the Pygmalion effect, which stated that the more individual and positive attention a child receives, the more successful they will be on tests.


Spotlight post 2: Study tips

For this spotlight post we are asked to evaluate websites that provide study tips to middle school/high school students, college students, and parents of students. We are then asked to compare this information to what we know about memory and how it works. For this post, the article directed towards high schoolers and middle schoolers will be referred to as “website 1”, the article directed toward parents will be referred to as “website 2”, and the article directed at college students will be “website 3”. These numbers correspond to the numbers of the links in the “sources” section.

Website 1 provides ten tips to high school students on how to study more successfully. These tips are:

  1. Study alone
  2. Create your perfect study area
  3. Get it all out (referring to study materials as in “make sure you have all your books”)
  4. Turn your notes into flashcards
  5. Snack healthy while you study
  6. Narrow it down (focus on main ideas and important topics)
  7. Take a break
  8. Put yourself to the test (quiz yourself over the material)
  9. Get some sleep
  10. Study all semester long (don’t cram)

These tips all have their merits, but it is important to note for what reasons they have merits. Tips 1, 2, 3, and 5 have are important for keeping the studier focused, which is the first step towards long term memory. If you lose focus you won’t be able to move the information into short term memory, forget about long term memory. It seems odd that 5 would be categorized this way, but it is included to keep the energy up for the studier so they can focus without growing tired. These four tips are very basic memory tips. Tips 4 and 6 are focused towards organization of information, which is very important in transferring information into long term memory as we learned in Dr. MacFarlane’s mini lecture. It is easier to remember things that have a specific meaning to you, and organizing notes into an order that makes sense to you will aid in their recall later. Tip 7 is both to aid in focus, and to improve transfer of information into long term memory (this will be explained when we discuss the tenth tip). Tip 8 is very useful because it puts you in a similar situation to the exam. It forces recall of material and gets you thinking about possible questions that can be asked, and it makes you do something with the material rather than just hearing or reading the information. Having personal experience with material will improve your ability to store and recall it. Tip 9 is also important because sleeping, especially sleeping just after looking over material, helps to consolidate information and improve recall as is discussed in this article: over learning, memory, and sleep. Finally, tip 10 suggests spacing out of studying over a longer period of time, rather than just cramming the night before. This is one of the most important steps in creating long term memories as was discussed in lecture and the mini lecture. Spacing out practice is necessary for correct organization of material for easier recall.

Similar to website 1, website 2 provides ten tips to improve studying for exams. These ten tips are:

  1. Get organized
  2. Know the expectations
  3. Designate a study area
  4. Develop a study plan
  5. Think positively
  6. Create a study group
  7. Practice active listening
  8. Review test taking strategies
  9. Read actively
  10. Look to the future

Some of these will look very similar to those discussed above for website 1, however all of the tips given here are geared more towards improving the basic focus of those reading these tips, not for improving memory or recall. For that reason, this is very clearly directed at the parents of a younger audience. These tips are okay for a younger student, however for a student in later high school or college these tips will not help the student study as these tips should be automatic at that point. I would also like to point out that tip 6 can only work if the students do not get distracted. Study groups work best when the students understand the material but create questions for the others in the group to practice which simulates a testing situation.

Finally we arrive at website 3 which does not give a certain number of tips, but instead discusses many methods of improving your encoding and recall of the information. This website provides the best advice for studying from a memory standpoint as all of its tips are directly related to what we have learned about memory and how it works. For example it suggests that taking notes properly with no distractions is an important step, which is supported by what we have learned of attention and converting memories from sensory to working memory. It also discusses color coding and spreading out study times which are tips for organization, and as was mentioned above, organization is an important step in providing meaning for the information you are trying to learn. This website also discusses sleep and the importance of getting enough of it for proper memory formation and retrieval. Finally this website also points out that creating a pneumonic device to remember mundane information is very effective. This is because it chunks all the information together in a way that has systematic retrieval cues, which makes recall much easier later.

To conclude, website 2 just had very basic study tips that should be completely automatic for any serious student. Website 1 was one step above that, touching on a couple of memory recall and formation strategies, while website 3 had the best study tips for actual long term memory and command over the material.


  5. Comer, Ronald, and Elizabeth, Gould. Psychology Around Us, 2nd Edition. N.p.: John Wiley & Sons, 2012. Print. Pg273-292

spotlight post

In this spotlight post I found three different websites that offer study tips to students of various age groups. One website is targeted toward college students, another is targeted at adults, and the last is targeted toward middle school and high school students. I will compare the study tips offered by the websites to those we were taught in class and what we read in our psychology book.

The first website I found was an article written by the Huffington post. The article recommends nine different study habits for college students. These study tips are, alternate study spaces, having homework groups, using flashcards, taking tests, sleeping, don’t categorize yourself, go to class, don’t immerse yourself in one topic, and manage your time. Most of these tips are actually supported by our professor’s video lecture and our class textbook. Our professor’s video lecture does say to work in study groups, to use flashcards effectively, to make practice tests for ourselves, and to use distributed practice (studying multiple topics over a length of time). also our textbook does say that ” students who pull all-nighters…wind up working less efficiently and effectively than they would if they were to sleep the 8 or 9 hours they need” (Comer and Gould 213). However there is no support in our textbook or online lecture for, alternating study spaces, not categorizing yourself, going to class, and managing time. I will say though, that going to class and having good time management are extremely important for succeeding academically. I am not certain that alternating one’s study space or not categorizing one’s study habits are credible ways to improve study habits based off of the information we learned in class. Overall I would say that this website offers some good study habits, but not all of them seem valid.

The next website I found was a blog on a universities website called which has five study tips for adult learners. These tips are, use varied study materials, focus on time management, be well prepared and take notes, don’t procrastinate, and connect with learning resources. The first study habit of using various study methods is supported by our video lecture because using flashcards, studying in groups, or even making practice tests, all fall under the broad category of various study methods. Again time management is not necessarily supported by any evidence from our textbook or our class video lecture, but I still believe it is essential to manage time wisely for studying. Taking notes is crucial to being able to review the material, but using more than just one’s notes to study is what is recommended by our professor in our video lecture. Procrastination is definitely something to be avoided, as stated in our video lecture studying the material over a long period of time is much better than procrastinating and having to cram last minute. The last study habit, connecting with learning resources, is another way of saying study in groups and use tutoring services, which is supported by our professor’s video lecture. This website contains good study habits and seems to be supported with the material covered in our class.

lastly, I found a website that has six study tips for middle school and high school students. The tips are, find the right spot, set the mood, use time management, limit distractions, have a check list, and a check- in. There is not much evidence in our book or in the video lecture that supports finding certain locations and setting the mood to be helpful during studying. The only thing that is relative to that is the idea of context and retrieval which our book states that ” it is often easier to retrieve particular information when we return to the setting… in which we first encoded it” (Comer and Gould 286). while this is true, if encoding takes place in an are that is not similar to an exam setting, such as playing music in the background or laying in bed, then there is no benefit. I do believe, as I have said earlier, that time management is key to studying successfully, even though there is not much support of this in our textbook. Limiting distractions is also important for studying because, as stated in our text book, we cannot encode properly without attention and we cannot pay attention to anything if we are distracted. Having a check list can allow us to not forget things, which can help us remember what to study, but it does not play an active role in the process of studying. lastly, the author of this article mentions that checking in with a parent for help can be a good study habit. I would say that it would be better to study with groups of other students, and then if the students were to get stuck they should get a parent to help with the problem.



Spotlight Blog 1 Prompt

Regardless of which option you choose, make sure to use the tag “Spotlight” on your post. Also include the tag listed for the option you choose below.

Option 1 – Use the tag “Development”

As divorce has become more and more common in the US, the number of children affected by divorce has increased greatly. The effects of divorce on children are controversial and there are a number of opinions out there on just what is “best” for kids. If you select this option, I want you to find two credible sources that argue divorce is inherently harmful to children and two credible sources that argue children can come through a divorce without serious consequences. Make sure to assess the arguments and supporting data presented in each source, explain what makes the source credible, and state which side of the issue you think is correct based on your reading. Make sure to list all sources at the end of your post.

Option 2 – Use the tag “Memory”

Now that we’ve discussed how learning and memory work and you’ve had a chance to think about your own study skills, I want you to critically evaluate websites that give students advice about how to study. If you select this option, I want you to find three different websites that provide advice for studying: one targeted toward college students, one targeted toward middle or high school students, and one targeted toward parents. Evaluate the advice provided on each and compare it to what you know about how memory works (include sources), making sure to correct anything you think is bad advice. Be sure to include links to the websites you are evaluating.

Option 3 – Use the tag “Drugs”

We covered the biology of addiction as well as basic information about the types of drugs of abuse out there, but we didn’t spend much time talking about treatment. The two most prominent treatment philosophies (arguably) are the abstinence model and the harm reduction model. Find two credible sources that advocate the abstinence model and two credible sources that advocate the harm reduction model. Make sure to assess the arguments and supporting data presented in each source, explain what makes the source credible, and state which model you think is better based on your reading. Make sure to list all sources at the end of your post.

I look forward to seeing what you write!

Header image: CC by Flickr user Thomas Hawk
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