Study strategies of college students: are self-testing and scheduling related to achievement?

Psychon Bull Rev. 2012 Feb;19(1):126-34. doi: 10.3758/s13423-011-0181-y.


Previous studies, such as those by Kornell and Bjork (Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 14:219-224, 2007) and Karpicke, Butler, and Roediger (Memory, 17:471-479, 2009), have surveyed college students' use of various study strategies, including self-testing and rereading. These studies have documented that some students do use self-testing (but largely for monitoring memory) and rereading, but the researchers did not assess whether individual differences in strategy use were related to student achievement. Thus, we surveyed 324 undergraduates about their study habits as well as their college grade point average (GPA). Importantly, the survey included questions about self-testing, scheduling one's study, and a checklist of strategies commonly used by students or recommended by cognitive research. Use of self-testing and rereading were both positively associated with GPA. Scheduling of study time was also an important factor: Low performers were more likely to engage in late-night studying than were high performers; massing (vs. spacing) of study was associated with the use of fewer study strategies overall; and all students-but especially low performers-were driven by impending deadlines. Thus, self-testing, rereading, and scheduling of study play important roles in real-world student achievement.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Achievement*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Students / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Test Taking Skills / psychology*
  • Universities*