I just read an article called “Why study time does not predict grade point average across college students” by Plant, Ericsson, Hill, and Asberg. The article is an interesting look at past data on what predicts GPA, and a small-scale (88 student) study at one university. The authors are big fans of the “deliberate practice” model of learning, and focus on seeing if that translates into academic performance. Some of the interesting information (mostly from past studies):
- studying without distraction predicts higher grades (no TV, no iPod, no study partners)
- students who study without distraction study for *fewer* hours, but get *higher* grades
- focused study is important. Just as many recreational tennis and golf players don’t get better over 20 years of playing, just “reading” isn’t enough. Deep thinking, analysis, and putting ideas together correlate with better grades.
- scheduling is important. Planning ahead for getting school activities done, and studying at regularly scheduled times correlate with higher GPA.
- going to class predicts higher GPA
- working too many hours, and partying too many hours both predict lower GPA
Overall there weren’t a lot of big surprises, but I did find it interesting how important focused, uninterrupted study is. In fact, the total amount of study time did NOT predict good grades. A shorter amount of more focused study was more valuable. (Students tended to have to go to the library to get the more focused study time.)
What works for you?