While having the same workspace (e.g. your desk) is beneficial when you want to get into your study mode (for doing homework, writing your to-do list for the next day and so on), you might want to consider changing the context of your study situation when preparing for a test.
Test preparation vs. work mode
As you now know, the context of encoding new information should be similar to the context of retrieving the information. That means you should try to imitate your test conditions at home when studying (similar noise level, temperature, light in the room, etc. but also are you sitting, standing…? )
In order to boost your memory, so if you want to keep the learned information for a long time and make it easily retrievable, it is also beneficial to CHANGE UP your study environment.
How do I change up my study environment?
Rather than sitting at your desk or the kitchen table studying for hours, find some new scenery! This will create new associations in your brain and make it easier to recall information later. Also, by changing your environment, your brain is forced to retrieve the same information in different places and will therefore see that information as more useful and worth holding onto. The brain wants variation!
What is my tip for you?
For 50% of your study time:
Take into consideration the context of testing while studying in order to maximize your performance on both recall (free answers) and recognition tasks (multiple choice). If you try to recall information in an exam, you will be able to recall it best if you learned it in an environment which is similar to the test environment.
The OTHER 50% of your study time:
Try to vary the way, the time and the place you study. (Standing up, walking, sitting, morning, evening, kitchen, office,…) You might not know the conditions of the test situations, or you might just make sure you are prepared for all eventualities.
Give your brain the chance to create many different contexts in which it studies. It will be significantly easier to recall information later.
I hope these quick tips helped you!
Let me know how you prepare for tests!
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