What is it about?

We examined spontaneous (as opposed to instructed) use of study strategies and found that spontaneous retrieval (i.e., repeatedly recalling to-be-learned material) facilitates exam performance while spontaneous rereading (i.e., repeatedly reading to-be-learned material) neither facilitates nor undermines exam performance. We also examined the goals that students have as predictors of spontaneously used study strategies. We found that individuals using their own past achievement as a standard for their goals (as opposed to a social comparison standard for their goals) were more likely to spontaneously use both of the study strategies and that their use of retrieval (but not rereading) was predictive of better exam performance.

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Why is it important?

This research is important because it takes common and effective study strategies outside of the laboratory to examine how they are used in real-life educational settings. It is also important because it shows that students’ goals affect the strategies they choose; this understanding may be an important first step to changing the strategies that students habitually use so they can learn more effectively.

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This page is a summary of: Spontaneous use of retrieval and rereading: Relation to achievement goals and exam performance., Journal of Educational Psychology, June 2022, American Psychological Association (APA), DOI: 10.1037/edu0000757.
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