This is the second part of an article by Tom Stafford, lecturer in psychology and cognitive science, University of Sheffield.

Even the most dedicated study plan can be undone by a failure to understand how human memory works…As a psychologist who studies learning and memory, I know quite a few scientifically informed revision tips…

But even the best advice can be useless if you don’t realise why it works.

Understanding one fundamental principle of human memory can help you avoid wasting time studying the wrong way. This is it: we’re drawn to ways of studying that feel good but are actually quite poor at helping us learn…

Here is another crucial piece of advice for anyone studying for an exam or trying to learn something new.

Space, don’t cram

A rock solid piece of revision advice is to space your practice out, rather than cramming it all together. If you organise five hours of study into one hour a day, you’ll remember more than if you study for five hours on one day. Yet time and time again we don’t do this – and the cause isn’t just being disorganised.

Cramming all your study together feels good. You finish the study session, thinking “I know this”. The problem is that although you’re currently holding it all in mind, the memories are more fragile. Spacing your practice out doesn’t feel as satisfying, but it results in memories that are more likely to be useful when exam day comes around.

This exerpt is from the article, The way you’re revising may let you down in exams – and here’s why’ that appeared in the UK newspaper, The Guardian, May 7 2016..

Or, here’s the link to this article and others in this series: