When it comes to studying for a test, some methods give you a better chance for success. On this episode of the Mind Matters Show, Dr. Craig Pohlman explains the difference between active and passive studying (and how a strategy called the “format shift” can help):
- Passive Studiers –simply go over the material and let it skim across their minds
- Active Studiers – engage with the information, such as by transforming it so it embeds into long term memory
This is where the format shift comes in. An active studier would take information they are studying and re-organize it. For example, they would take the content from a textbook paragraph and create a schematic diagram, pictorial diagram, or a compare/contrast table.
The key to the format shift is the process. The act of transforming the information from one format to another embeds the information much more deeply. The multiple formats are more compelling than a plain paragraph in a textbook, so this also makes studying more interesting!
The next time you have to study for a test, consider the format shift in order to get the most out of your study session.