Back in the day, you were probably used to highlighting important sentences in your textbooks and handouts as well as re-reading certain parts when you prepare for an exam. If you have a child who's doing the same things today, then you might want to suggest new study strategies, as a new feature on says that your old methods don't work as well as you think.

John Dunlosky of Kent State University and a team of psychologists took 10 common study techniques--including highlighting and re-reading--and put them to the test.

Based on the psychological evidence they found, they reported that studying over an extended period of time and practice testing are the most effective techniques. Practice testing includes using flash cards, and answering exercises at the end of certain text book chapters.

Surprisingly, common techniques such as highlighting, summarization, and re-reading are the least effective study strategies.

So instead of letting your child cram for an exam, encourage her to review school notes every night. This will help her understand lessons better without time pressure. Before an exam, ask your child to answer text book exercises to test his abilities, or if there aren't any, try creating mock-up questionnaires which she can answer. The key is to avoid cramming--giving your child's brain enough time to absorb information and to mentally practice it may help improve her grades.

(Photo by MC Quinn via Flickr Creative Commons)

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