Metacognitive and control strategies in study-time allocation

J Exp Psychol Learn Mem Cogn. 2000 Jan;26(1):204-21. doi: 10.1037//0278-7393.26.1.204.


This article investigates how people's metacognitive judgments influence subsequent study-time-allocation strategies. The authors present a comprehensive literature review indicating that people allocate more study time to judged-difficult than to judged-easy items--consistent with extant models of study-time allocation. However, typically, the materials were short, and participants had ample time for study. In contrast, in Experiment 1, when participants had insufficient time to study, they allocated more time to the judged-easy items than to the judged-difficult items, especially when expecting a test. In Experiment 2, when the materials were shorter, people allocated more study time to the judged-difficult materials. In Experiment 3, under high time pressure, people preferred studying judged-easy sonnets; under moderate time pressure, they showed no preference. These results provide new evidence against extant theories of study-time allocation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internal-External Control*
  • Judgment
  • Learning*
  • Male
  • Mental Recall*
  • Students / psychology
  • Time Perception*