Archive for January, 2011


To Really Learn, Quit Studying and Take a Test

January 24, 2011

We have many ways we approach testing, learning and acquisition of knowledge. What may be surprising to many is the most effective means of learning material in a subject. According to the journal “Science”

students who read a passage, then took a test asking them to recall what they had read, retained about 50 percent more of the information a week later than students who used two other methods.

One of those methods — repeatedly studying the material — is familiar to legions of students who cram before exams. The other — having students draw detailed diagrams documenting what they are learning — is prized by many teachers because it forces students to make connections among facts.

These other methods not only are popular, the researchers reported; they also seem to give students the illusion that they know material better than they do.

Let me throw a spiritual spin on this. The devil is often called “The Tempter”…but the Greek word for tempt (peirasmos) actually means to “conduct or proctor a test”. The job of the Enemy of our souls is to give us tests to see what we are made of. If we fail the test, it is supposed to push us to the brink of needing God’s help. If we  pass the test, we learn the spiritual lesson designed there.

Is it possible that the Enemy, regardless of his adversarial relationship to us, is still God’s servant in our lives? Of course. It is the best way (though perhaps the most painful way) to learn.

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